The controversial works of Swedish street artist Dan Park are likely to be displayed in Copenhagen after all.
After radio station Radio24syv dropped its plans to display 31 works by Park, the Danish Free Press Society (Trykkefrihedsselskabet) has announced that it is working on finding a Copenhagen gallery willing to display the pictures.
“It was a very important case that Radio24syv brought up and it is all too important to drop now. Dan Park is still in jail and there are still only a few people who are able to see the art that put him behind bars. We want to change that,” the Free Press Society’s chairwoman Katrine Winkel Holm said.
The controversial Park was convicted by a Malmö court in August on charges of inciting racial agitation and defamation. Park’s works include an image that depicts three Swedish residents with African backgrounds portrayed with nooses around their necks, a Catholic bishop receiving fellatio from a young boy and Jesus having sex with Muhammad.
Nine of the 31 art pieces obtained by Radio24syv through Park’s gallerist were ordered to be destroyed by the Swedish court.
It is particularly those pieces that the Free Press Society wants to display.
“The works that are of particular interest to us and the most important to display are the 8-9 works that put Dan Park in jail and were ordered destroyed by the Swedish state. Those are the ones that we definitely want to display. Which works beyond that should be displayed will be based on an individual assessment that we will make in collaboration with Dan Park’s gallerist Henrik Rönnquist, but we will show that Dan Park’s socially critical art is not targeted at specific groups, but in all directions,” the Free Speech Society’s deputy chairperson Aia Fog said.
Society lashes out against Swedish court decision
The Free Press Society has also set up a website to sell the nine disputed artworks through its library, under the banner ‘Sweden’s most dangerous pictures – buy them here’.
“The proud Swedish street artist Dan Park is not for the fainthearted. His sarcastic comments on the ruling political correctness and the so-called ‘anti-racists’ have struck fear in the hearts of those in power. They persecute him with unfounded accusations of ‘racism’ and that peculiar Swedish crime labelled ‘slander of people groups’. That is why he is in prison and why his pictures are being seized and destroyed,” the website reads.
(Read our interview with the Free Press Society's CEO, Lars Hedegaard, on his decision to sell Park's art)
"When it comes to Sweden’s rulers, little surprises us. They are the ones who – with open eyes – are shoving the old peaceful, democratic and affluent Sweden into the abyss… We will not put up with the authorities’ Gestapo-like behaviour. So The Free Speech Library has reprinted the pictures confiscated by the authorities and now you have the opportunity to buy them,” it continues.
The site is selling reprints of eight of the nine works that were ordered to be destroyed, saying that one “no longer exists because the police have grabbed it”. Each one is selling for $800 and the Free Speech Library says that the “profits from the sale will be used to strengthen the defence of free speech”.
Speaking to Berlingske, Fog said that the Free Press Society is in advanced talks with a Copenhagen gallery about displaying the works and that an exhibit could be ready within a week.