Thursday, March 15, 2012

week 7 Controversy

In early June, 2007, Swedish Artist Lars Vilks was invited to an exhibition called "The Dog in Art". Vilks submitted three pen and ink drawings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad is a "roundabout dog". According to Vilks, the intention of the drawings was to "examine the political correctness within the boundaries of the art community." The day before the exhibitions opening, Vilks's drawings were denied due to the fear of violence from Islamic extremists. After the first denial, Vilks's drawings were refused again by the Gerlesborg School of Fine Art. This stirred up an intense debate within the Swedish media. People began to question the values of self-censorship and freedom of expression. It wasn't until August that his drawings were finally published. Soon after, about 60 Muslims began to protest out side of the building responsible for the publishing. Within a few weeks this number skyrocketed to over 500. The Muslim community viewed these drawings as blasphemy towards Islam's most worshiped symbol. After the publication some of the employees who worked for the newspaper's headquarters required bodyguards to simply enter the building. And as for Lars Vilks, he received death threats on a daily basis. Half way through September, the Islamic State of Iraq announced that they would give $100,000 to anyone who brought them the head of Lars Vilks, and $50,000 for the head of Ulf Johansson, who was the editor and chief of one of the newspapers. Vilks's bounty was raised to $150,000 on the order that he would be "slaughtered like a lamb". To this day, Vilks's is still under constant attack from threatening mail to hackers infiltrating his blog. I personally always thought that it was a good thing to spark any emotion in someone with my art. Even if my artwork pisses someone off, I still view that as an accomplishment, Not in Vilks's case though. I think he knew what he was getting himself into, thus he deserves the repercussions.

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