The original ‘Spike’ artwork, pictured here in a Valuart video. Valuart / YouTube
On Thursday, Spike, an artwork attributed to the elusive street artist Banksy, is scheduled to be sold on the auction platform ValuArt in the form of an NFT, but it’s unclear whether the artist has any knowledge that the non-fungible token was created in the first place. If indeed the Spike NFT is unauthorized, the artist could have grounds to file a lawsuit; it also remains unclear how operatic tenor Vittorio Grigolo, the owner of Banksy’s original work, obtained it in the first place. Grigolo is one of the cofounders of ValuArt, and the platform is selling the Banksy NFT as part of its first auction.
Spike consists of a chunk of the barrier wall that divides Israel and Palestine; the ValuArt auction states that half the proceeds from the NFTs sales will be donated to charity. Nevertheless, creating an unauthorized NFT version of Banksy’s original work could be a violation of his copyright. Since NFTs first began to dominate conversations in the art world late last year, much criticism has revolved around the fact that the accessibility of the technology makes it extremely easy for artwork to be stolen.
Attempting to profit off of artwork without first obtaining proper copyright clearance isn’t a practice that began with NFTs, but the fact that high-profile artists are vulnerable to these episodes also means that far less powerful creatives are even more exposed. Recently, a huge controversy was sparked when an unauthorized NFT version of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1986 piece Free Comb with Pagoda was made available for sale on the platform OpenSea.
The unauthorized NFT was made with the stipulation that if the buyer wished, they could have the original Basquiat mixed media work destroyed so that the non-fungible token would be the only existing version of the work. This notion was promptly shut down after swift intervention from the artist’s estate. The episode illustrated how potentially destructive NFTs can be if wielded with ill intent.
Woman’s ‘traumatising experience’ due to ‘cruel’ Covid rule
A Sydney woman who miscarried twins is among a growing cohort of women who say their treatment in a NSW hospital was cruel and that their experience was traumatic.
Hospitals have implemented a variety of new rules during Sydney’s coronavirus outbreak that mean women who are giving birth, experiencing complications with pregnancy or having a miscarriage need to do it alone — their partners and support people are not allowed in.
The measures are in place to protect healthcare workers from the risk of being infected with Covid-19 but even Health Minister Brad Hazzard questions whether they are a step too far.
“I must say from a human point of view, I would like to see mums who are about to give birth and post birth have their support person with them as long as possible,” he told reporters last week.
So bad is the situation that some women are “afraid to fall pregnant … due to the restrictions hospitals are placing on labouring women”.
Katherine*, a 31-year-old woman from Sydney’s south, told news.com.au she would never forget her horrific experience last week.
It started when she went in to see her obstetrician for an eight-week scan and was told she could only attend alone.
“I had my hubby on FaceTime during the entire appointment where my scan revealed an unviable twin pregnancy,” said Katherine, whose name has been changed to protect her identity.
“I was in absolute and utter shock. In that moment all I needed was my husband’s hand to hold. But there I was, clutching my mobile phone as I fought back the tears. My OB recommended a (procedure to remove tissue from inside the uterus) and I had to process it all on my own.”
Things got worse for Katherine from there when, a day later, she received a notification from NSW Health that she was considered a “close contact” of an infected case because she visited an Ikea store. She was told to isolate for 14 days.
“I immediately contacted the hospital and was honest and transparent about my situation,” she said.
“They explained that I could not come for the procedure and that essentially I should only go to emergency if I were to start miscarrying on my own. This was an absolutely terrifying prospect for me.
“I reached out to NSW Health to seek an exemption on compassionate grounds, and, to their credit, they worked tirelessly to get me off that close contact list. I only attended Ikea for four minutes using their Click and Collect service. How could I be a ‘close contact’?
“Within a few days I finally received word that after reviewing my case, which included three negative Covid tests and receipts from Ikea showing time stamps of a person working in Click and Collect, NSW Health no longer considered me to be a close contact. Relief.”
Katherine booked in for the procedure the following day but was again not allowed to have her husband by her side.
“I had to go in alone. It was absolutely the most traumatising experience of my life. I was first put in a room in the maternity ward where I had to take a pill to start the miscarrying process and wait for theatre to be ready.
“I was there for close to three hours. Alone. Cramping. Unable to cry in my husband’s chest. Listening to the beautiful sound of crying babies around me. It was an extremely difficult experience.
“Opening my eyes for the first time after my procedure, I looked around and remembered I was alone. I was alone, in pain and in tears. I couldn’t stop crying and all I needed in that moment was my husband. But he wasn’t allowed in.”
Katherine says the hospital “should have granted me special exemption” for a support person.
“I believe we need to put an end to not only birth restrictions, but restrictions on support people attending when women experience miscarriage,” she said.
“The restrictions that are currently in place are inconsistent across hospitals throughout Sydney and are damaging women,” she wrote.
“Women are stressed, anxious, worried and fearful about what may happen if they have to go in to birth their babies with no support people. It is no secret that our hospital system is failing women already, the system is hard to navigate under normal circumstances, now it is nearly impossible.”
The Health Minister said last week that he was in discussion with health officials but they were holding firm to their decision.
“It is a difficult issue because at the moment Covid is in the community more broadly,” he said.
“I must say from the human point of view, I would like to see mums who are about to give birth and post birth have their support person with them as long as possible.
“I have discussed that with the senior health officials and the instructions they’ve given out are reflective that on the ground health authorities just have to make some really challenging decisions.”
He said issues had arisen in recent weeks at both hospitals on Sydney’s north shore and in Fairfield where hundreds of staff had to be furloughed because they came in contact with known Covid cases.
“Everybody in the health system innately wants people to have support in a whole variety of circumstances but at the end of the day it has to be a health decision in not only keeping that mum and that dad and that baby safe,” he said.
“It is a highly difficult and challenging circumstance. My heart goes out to those people. Compassion and care and concern has to be the overriding factor, but that compassion and care and concern can also mean you have to look at what risks there are around Covid.
“This one in 100 year pandemic is not easy when it comes to those issues.”
A popular Sydney personal trainer has taken aim at a community of naysayers who continue to dob him in for working throughout lockdown.
Rory Stephen, who owns Roar PT, has been abused and heckled since the Greater Sydney lockdown begun and is fed up with members of the public trying to shame him.
“I’ve been in eight different spots now, because at every one there’s been someone who has complained or had something negative to say,” Mr Stephen, who works in the inner city area of Potts Point, told news.com.au.
“The people I’ve come across have been pretty rude.”
In one instance, a random man yelled out to complain about the noise from Mr Stephen’s speaker.
“He was really rude about it as well,” he said, detailing how the man threatened to call the police if he didn’t move.
Another woman blasted him for having loud music outside while she was working from home.
“She was just so rude about it, and telling me how she would appreciate it if I left. She just had no respect for me,” Mr Stephen said.
“I’m always a people pleaser and don’t want to upset anyone, but I’ve had enough.”
He said he had been told to move at least eight times by disgruntled members of the public.
People were constantly pointing and taking photos of his set up too, which he suspected may not have been solely due to his impressive collection of equipment.
“I’m just trying to service my clients as best as possible. Because everyone’s in a tough place, working from home and going crazy, so the highlight of their day is working out,” he said.
“It’s hard when I’m trying to keep my clients happy and the community happy as well. It’s frustrating.”
Police have stopped in three times, likely after receiving calls from the public, and “they have been fine with it”, Mr Stephen said.
“They have not said one negative thing to me and council has been really good too, it’s just the community.”
Government health advice stipulates that exercise can be undertaken outdoors with “a friend, family member, or trainer”, so long as there are no more than two people at all times.
You’ve also surely heard plenty of talk (and heated debate) about the differences between and benefits of mineral (also known as physical) sunscreens versus chemical sunscreens. The main distinction between the two is that mineral sunscreens contain just two active ingredients (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide), which essentially sit on top of your skin and deflect harmful UV rays to prevent sun damage. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, typically contain a number of other active ingredients, and actually absorb UV rays like a sponge, and dissipate the rays as heat.
Mineral sunscreens tend to be much gentler on the skin, and for those of us struggling with acne-prone skin that is also extremely sensitive, I’ve found that mineral SPFs are the way to go. I try to use clean and nontoxic skincare and beauty products whenever possible, and made the switch to primarily using mineral sunscreen about a year ago. I’ve occasionally used a chemical SPF in the time since (usually for a body sunscreen), but over the past few months, my skin has been more sensitive, reactive and generally fussier than ever, which hasn’t been helped by allergy issues. Using any kind of chemical sunscreen on my face or chest is a nonstarter for me right now, and I’ve realized (especially after hours upon hours spent at my dermatologist) that when it comes to protecting my face, mineral sunscreen is my only option.
Aside from a personal preference for clean skincare in general, I’ve found that mineral sunscreens don’t aggravate my highly temperamental skin in the same way that chemical sunscreens often do; oftentimes, chemical SPFs result in bumps and redness all over my face (and especially my cheeks), though I’m the first to admit that my skin is exceptionally volatile, particularly when it’s this hot out. Or cold out…or any weather that’s not 70 and breezy. Anyway, since mineral sunscreens don’t absorb into skin the same way as chemical sunscreens, they also don’t clog pores in the same way, and as an added bonus, mineral SPFs are also pretty much immediately effective in providing sun protection.
In the past, mineral sunscreens were known for leaving behind a heavy white cast and being far less blendable than their chemical counterparts, but it’s all about finding the right formula. Yes, some mineral SPFs do still leave a white cast, but there are plenty of options that easily blend into your skin, without that ghostly residue.
Not all mineral sunscreens are the same, of course, as some brands use fragrances or other additives that can cause major irritation for certain skin types, like my own incredibly sensitive and blemish-prone skin. Luckily, there are quite a few mineral SPFs that have absolutely saved my skin this time of year, especially since I’m *always* slathering on sunscreen to protect myself from harmful UV rays, and especially so during this endless heatwave also known as summer.
And just a quick disclaimer: The most important thing is that you actually wear some form of sunscreen every single day, and find a mineral or chemical sunscreen that’s right for you. Definitely do you research, as after the recent sunscreen recall situation, it’s more crucial than ever to make sure that you’re using a clean, trustworthy SPF in your routine.
Below, see the best mineral face sunscreens that won’t irritate sensitive, acne-prone skin, and don’t forget to slather on the SPF this summer.
EltaMD UV Elements Broad-Spectrum SPF 44
EltaMD is a longtime dermatologist favorite, and they have a huge selection of sunscreens, including versions that leave you with a true glow or matte finish. Lately, we’re partial to this 100 percent mineral UV Elements formula, which is safe for sensitive and even post-procedure skin, and also contains hyaluronic acid, for a little hydration. It’s lightly tinted, so you get a touch of coverage without having to apply additional products. $36.50, EltaMD.
SkinBetter SunBetter Sheer SHEER SPF 70 Sunscreen Lotion 50 ml
I only recently tried out this SPF 70, and already love it. SkinBetter’s oil-free, fragrance-free face sunscreen goes on super lightweight and sheer, and it’s a dependably high SPF, plus it’s water-resistant. $75, SkinBetter.
Sun Bum Daily Mineral Sunscreen Moisturizer SPF 30
I’m a longtime fan of Sun Bum’s sunscreen, and they recently branched into skincare. Their new mineral SPF moisturizer is super lightweight, and is a great choice when you want a moisturizer-sunscreen combo. It’s also filled with antioxidants like banana and skincare hero niacinamide, which is one of our favorite ingredients for fighting acne, rosacea and eczema. $21.99, Ulta.
Isdin Eryfotona Actinica Daily Mineral SPF 50+ Sunscreen
If you want your sunscreen to simultaneously protect your skin and reverse that sun damage from those years you may have been too lax with the SPF (we’ve all been there), then you must try this silky smooth Isdin sunscreen. Aside from 100 percent mineral sun protection, it also contains photolyase, an enzyme that helps repair sun damage. $55, Isdin.
This has become my go-to daily moisturizer-sunscreen over the past month, as not only does it provide SPF 40 protection, but it also keeps my skin hydrated with natural, organic ingredients like cocoa seed extract, satsuma mandarin peel extract, larch tree and lilikoi. Plus, it smells amazing. $68, Eminence Organics.
Farmacy Green Defense Daily Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
Farmacy recently relaunched its Green Defense 100 percent mineral sunscreen, with a new formula that includes zero reef-damaging ingredients. Winter cherry and beta carotene help protect your skin from blue light rays, while moringa water and seed extract, which have natural vitamin c, help purify and refresh. $36, Farmacy.
This no-nonsense physical sunscreen provides SPF 50 protection as well as a healthy dose of double hydration, thanks to the combination of hyaluronic acid and squalane to help maintain a healthy skin barrier. Grape seed extract, green tea extract, bisabolol and allantoin work together to soothe irritated skin. $46, Medik8.
Cocokind Daily SPF 32
Cocokind products are simple and straightforward, and their mineral, non-greasy sunscreen is no different. Aside from sun protection, this formula also keeps skin hydrated, courtesy of humectants like glycerin. $24, Cocokind.
Avène Solaire UV Mineral Multi-Defense Sunscreen Fluid SPF 50
This is one of my favorite French drugstore brands; the formulas are great for sensitive complexions, and this mineral sunscreen also helps calm and soothe irritated skin. It’s also super lightweight, with pretty much zero white cast. $32, Avène.
Supergoop Mineral Sheerscreen SPF 30
I’ve always loved Supergoop sunscreens, and as much as I adore the dewy look from my beloved Glowscreen, I’ve had to make the switch to exclusively mineral formulas. The brand’s mineral SPF 30 is one of my favorites, as it’s non-irritating and easily blends with no white reside, for a natural finish that isn’t too matte. $38, Supergoop.
Paula’s Choice Hydralight Shine-Free Mineral Complex SPF 30
If you want a mineral sunscreen that also hydrates *and* reduces redness, look no further than this Paula’s Choice SPF. It does leave a subtle matte finish, so it’s great if want to tone down those natural oils. $29, Paula’s Choice.
Native Unscented Face Sunscreen SPF 30
Native’s unscented face sunscreen is ideal if you’re looking for an SPF with zero fragrance additives. Don’t get nervous about the Benzyl Alcohol and Behenyl Alcohol listed in the ingredients, as those actually help with keeping the sunscreen non-greasy, and are an asset if your skin tends to be on the oily side. $16, Native.
MDSolarSciences Mineral Crème SPF 50
This is a super sheer physical sunscreen with a matte finish, for those that aren’t into the whole dewy donut look. This is one that contains lots of vitamin c, so make sure your skin is okay with these antioxidants before applying this one on your face. $30, MDSolarSciences.
“When in lockdown, we all need a little push, a little Inspo, and if this gets just one of you moving a little more or following along tomorrow then I’ll be even happier than I already was today,” she said.
Kyly, who like millions of other Sydneysiders and Melburnians are currently in lockdown, reminded her followers to not “fret” having no gym.
“There are so many exercises you can do at home, you just need to explore,” she said.
“I hope you can use this time to better your best and explore new movements and exercise techniques to add to your current training regimen.”
The general public reels with trauma on our collective psyche. It’s widespread and often hard to personally reckon with. This is one of those moments where a good TV show can help us understand the nuances of trauma without directly confronting our own, at least at first.
One of the most popular shows of the summer reckoned in part with that trauma, even if it narratively wasn’t about our current pandemic itself. Freeform’s Cruel Summer, which just wrapped up its first season. Cruel Summer takes place in a suburban Texas town in the early 1990s. Kate Wallis, portrayed by Olivia Holt, disappears at the hands of her high school vice principal Martin Harris, portrayed by Blake Lee. Nearly a year later, Holt manages to escape. She accuses a classmate, Jeanette Turner, portrayed by Chiara Aurelia of knowing about it and failing to report it. Turner then quickly becomes infamous due to the ensuing scandal.
The show follows the two young women simultaneously over the course of three years and grapples with the layers of trauma they both faced in the process. Observer spoke with Holt about how she approached the role, why she thought it could portray the nuance and complexity of trauma and what she wants viewers — especially adolescents in crisis — to take from her character’s journey.
Observer: Tell me about how you approached the nuances of trauma that your character experienced within the show.
Olivia Holt: Well, the trauma is definitely really heavy and incredibly brutal and terrifying. I’ve never been through a traumatic experience, let alone something like this. It was something that I really had to educate myself on. I had to give myself the proper research and proper emotion. I had to get in the right headspace and mental space in order to execute this in a transparent and honest way. It was tricky to find all those layers. I really give a lot of kudos to my scene partners and the creatives on this show because if it wasn’t for the communication we had, I don’t think it would have been showcased quite the way we showcased it on the show.
What do you mean?
I mean that it’s important to have communication with your creatives because if you don’t have that and you don’t have the proper insight, you can’t have an informative show. You can’t have all of the elements that our show had.
Olivia Holt and Chiara Aurelia star in Freeform’s Cruel Summer.Freeform
Your character seemed to have some kind of evolving understanding of trauma. At one point it looked like PTSD, and at other points it looked like it was a result of more generalized societal pressures. What do you think people should take away from the show about the nuances of dealing with trauma?
What I learned was because of what she went through and the year after, I had to make sure that we were executing it in a way that was showing how she decided to not let that take over her life and not letting it control her life but rather decided to move forward from it. Everybody handles trauma differently. She gained perspective and decided to feel comfortable in her own skin again, make the choice to go to therapy and walk through all of those terrifying moments again, make the choice to form our own opinions and be separate from anything that she’s ever been in her life.
The trauma your character experienced seems to be very comparable to the isolationism that the pandemic evoked. People were homebound and saw friends, relatives and colleagues die over the last year. Obviously the situation is different in the show, but the character sought out therapy. That’s not something that is as prevalent in TV as some think it should be. Do you think that through your character you conveyed the importance of seeking help when you need help and recognizing the warning signs?
Of course, I do. I think that there’s a lot of stigma behind going to therapy and even the subject matters in our show from the grooming to the gaslighting to the manipulation, there’s so much stigma behind it because it’s not talked about enough. It’s not shown enough in our industry. Having the opportunity to be able to express the subject matters in a transparent and honest way was really important to the show.
Yes, it is entertaining, but also it needs to be informative and it needs to be talked about. There are layers obviously. We can’t necessarily show too much or say too much, but it was important not to glamorize it, not to romanticize it. That is exactly what we did. We stuck to our guns and decided to make a show that was going to move the culture forward and not push it back.
Olivia Holt Handout
Do you channel anything of your own personal experience to create this character?
There are more differences than similarities between Kate and I. I found myself really diving into her shoes versus pulling from my own life. There was a lot more that she experienced than I ever had. I think for me it was really about diving into the emotional, mental and even physical state that she was in.
I’m playing three different versions of one character. To make choices for each year was incredibly important to me. I wanted to make sure people knew the difference between each year but not making it feel like a completely different role, just that she’s gone through changes and that she is flawed. She is not just one note. She’s complicated. I think that she’s a beautiful mess. All of those pieces were really important to me. I have a really hard time compartmentalizing my life. I had to just live in that space and then come home and decompress and then work that way. It is not easy for me to just turn it on and turn it off like a lot of actors have the ability to do that. I need to live in that moment in order to give a good performance.
You also made some music for the show. Can you tell me about what you were going with, what was your approach?
The producer came to me and asked me if I would like to do a Smashing Pumpkins cover. I was like… “What do you mean? Of course, I would love to.” I am a fan of The Smashing Pumpkins and to incorporate music into the show was really important to me. I’m so grateful that they asked because it led into another song in the show and then one more, so now I have three covers in the show that I am extremely proud of. When I get to do both and they align together, that just makes my whole career surreal even more than it already is.
What do you mean?
Well, what I do for a living has been my dream. I act and I make music. To do both in the same space is a Pinch me, am I dreaming? moment.
You have a new single. Tell me about that.
I’m incredibly proud of this song. I made this song during the beginning of the pandemic last year. I’m so happy I waited to put it out because the song really is a liberating song. It’s something to move and dance to. We’ve gone through a really hard year and we want to all dance again. This song is that.
It’s also just the beginning of a new era of music for me. I really feel that to my core. I’ve been making music since I was a teenager, and now I’m entering my mid-20s, and I feel like I’ve really solidified my artistry in a real way. This song is the beginning of that.
Are you changing your approach? Are you changing in the genre you’re trying to fall into? What do you mean by that?
I’m still making pop records, but I’ve never had so much creative control in music before. I’ve started writing and going into sessions everyday. I am collaborating with producers and songwriters. I am really finding my sound, lyrically what I want to say and how I sing. That seems like such a silly thing to say because yes I know how to sing but finding my voice, and the thing that makes me different, especially being a female in pop music. I am finding a way to create a sound that is mine and only mine.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.