Charges of cultural misappropriation have been laid against Chinese fashion brand ICICLE after the brand used images of traditional and sacred Papua New Guinea dancers in its recent marketing campaign.
Photographs from the campaign posted on ICICLE’s website and Facebook page sparked outrage from Papua New Guineans at the use of sacred Tubuans to sell ICICLE’s clothes and handbags.
One comment on ICICLE’s Facebook page said: “This is superficial, disrespectful, greedy cultural appropriation”.
Local MP Jelta Wong says Tubuans have a sacred place in the Tolai culture of East New Britain and are part of a secret men’s society.
Referring to the photographs, Wong said: “It’s very insensitive to the culture.
“They should not have used it because we still follow the laws of the traditional culture that we have”.
He further said: “The females are supposed to be scared of the Tubuans and they’re not supposed to be anywhere near the females.
“So portraying the models next to the Tubuans, you’re already desecrating their traditions”.
It is unclear who gave the Chinese fashion brand permission to take the photographs and videos, with no one taking responsibility for the insensitive blunder so far.