A curious case of plagiarism

The first time it dawned on me that my mosaics might have potential beyond my own narcissistic admiration and the sweet though biased encouragement of friends and family, was when I came upon a local newspaper article about unusual letterboxes, in which the woman who had commissioned me, confidently claimed the design and installation had been all hers. She stated she had made this mosaic and it had taken her a lot of planning and 3 months to complete!

It had been my very first commission, after the woman in question had seen  my artwork in “The Bridgeman Gallery”, in New Plymouth back in 2003. The newspaper article appeared as late as 2008, but I had carefully kept a photocopy of the bank cheque that paid me for the project as a momento of completing my first commission, a rather quaint creation intended to portray a tulip, but interpreted by pretty much everybody (including the postie) as some kind of whale or a huge fish.

I never confronted this patron directly, nor found out why she would have claimed such a quirky work as her own. But I did write a letter to the editor of the local paper asserting my creative rights over this tulip fish. A rectification was duly published the following week. 13 years on, the letterbox is still standing proud, uplifting Durham Ave in New Plymouth, New Zealand, with a bright spark.

Sitara Morgenster January 2017

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