A father and son duo who wanted to spark debate about youth crime were told their sculpture was too offensive for the annual Junk Arts Festival.
"We told them it would be controversial, but we didn't expect it to be banned," Ken Wright said.
Fed up with Katherine's struggle over youth crime, Ken Wright and his father Bob, fashioned a sculpture depicting a pillory, or stocks, made out of decades-old wood scraps collected from their back yard.
On it they pinned a sign which read: "Is this a solution?"
And another which stated: "No physical harm is advocated, just humiliation and shame in the face of public witness."
But the 800 or so people who flowed through the festival gates on Saturday afternoon did not get a chance to see the sculpture.
"It is an art piece and any supposed artist that is willing to censor another person's art should not be on an arts committee," a disappointed Bob Wright said.
But the Katherine Regional Arts festival committee and board is standing firm on their decision.
" ... it did not conform with the award's submission condition, 'All entries must be suitable for public display'," a spokeswoman for the committee said.
"The sculpture in question included written descriptions which suggested locking young offenders in the pillory device could be considered a viable administration of legal justice," the spokeswoman said.
"Both the Committee and the Board felt this suggestion fosters humiliation, shame and dehumanisation of children and young people.
"While KRA consistently champions artistic freedom of expression through our programming, partnerships and outreach, it is beyond our ethical bounds to showcase a sculpture promoting such disturbing themes.
"We take our responsibility to the community seriously, particularly when Indigenous members of the KRA board deemed sighting the sculpture as a 're-traumatising' experience.
"Exposing the local Indigenous and wider community to traumatic content is not in line with KRA's stipulated goals of celebrating diversity, nor is it in line with our strategic vision to be a key vehicle for creating community cohesion in the Katherine region.
"It is also not in line with the convivial spirit of good will that the Junk Arts Festival Committee has worked extremely hard in a volunteer capacity to deliver Katherine for the last seven years running."
The community arts organisation, which has itself been affected by break-ins agreed there needs to be a public conversation regarding crime involving children and young people.
"Due to the seriousness of this issue, we want these conversations to be inclusive, solutions-based and positive affairs," the spokeswoman said.
"For this reason, we do not consider a sculpture award in a community festival funded by the Northern Territory Government as an effective platform for an issue of such vital importance.
"As supporters of restorative and reinvestment models of justice, KRA will continue to actively work towards such solutions in partnership with service providers and the local community, including the business community, for the benefit of all."
The Wrights said they received a call from the Katherine Regional Arts committee, shortly after dropping their sculpture at the festival, asking them to remove it from the grounds.
"We wanted to start a conversation because right now it seems to be a catch and release program," Mr Wright said.
"We don't have a solution, but the place I lived previously was broken into three times last year."
He said the crime in Katherine has increased to the point "you don't go a week without hearing about someone you know who has been broken into."
The long-term Katherine residents were hoping the sculpture would capture the eye of our leaders to let them know, "the people are sick of it and we want change before someone gets potentially hurt".
Taking a stand against the festival after their sculpture was banned the Wrights said they felt "uncomfortable" with the committee's decision.
"It is an art piece and any supposed artist that is willing to censor another person's art should not be on an arts committee," Mr Wright said.
Despite offers to cordon the sculpture off and put "potentially offensive" warning signs on the piece, the pair have been left with an unseen sculpture and their hopes of people in power seeing their message, slashed.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday at 6am from the Katherine Times. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, sign up here.