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Danish artist in blackface burns Confederate flag

Danish artist and provocateur Uwe Max Jensen, perhaps best known for painting a portrait of Kim Kardishan with his penis, did a ‘happening’ in Aarhus that involved donning blackface and burning the Confederate flag.

Danish artist in blackface burns Confederate flag
Danish artist Uwe Max Jensen prepares to burn the Confederate flag. Photo: Uwe Max Jensen
Uwe Max Jensen, a Danish artist who enjoys both provocation and nude performances, combined both over the weekend during Aarhus Festival in Denmark’s second-largest city. 
 
Saying he was inspired by ’Between the World and Me’, a recent book on US race relations by American journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jensen first played the role of ‘white trash’, walking around the festival with a beer in one hand and the Confederate flag in the other. Jensen repeatedly says the word ‘nigger’ to the confusion of onlookers.
 
The Danish artist then stripped off all of his clothes, covered himself in black paint and burned the flag.
 
See the 'happening' here. Story continues below. Note that the video contains nudity and language that many may find offensive. 
 
 
Jensen told The Local that he wanted to confront many sensitive subjects simultaneously. 
 
“I wanted to make a happening about taboos. You’re not supposed to say nigger, there is a taboo about being naked and the Confederate flag is now also taboo. There is also a taboo about blackface and finally the last taboo is to burn someone else’s flag,” Jensen said. 
 
Jensen said he closely followed the recent debate about the Confederate flag in the United States, which flared up after a white gunman killed nine African-Americans in a Charleston, South Carolina church. Photos of the gunman posing with the Confederate flag and white supremacist insignia, prompted the state of South Carolina to remove the flag from the grounds of its capitol building and several large retailers said they would stop selling the flags and other Confederate items. 
 
Jensen said that he also wanted to confront “the political correctness” surrounding language use.
 
“There is now also pressure on the Danish word ‘neger’, which is not exactly the same as nigger but now cannot be used because the elites say it is offensive,” he said. 
 
“I see a problem with all of the political correctness because it wants to change the way people speak but it will not change society,” he added. 
 
When asked by The Local, if he would try his ‘happening’ in the United States rather than predominately white Aarhus, Jensen said it is “important to know the context” of the society in which he performs. 
 
“I don’t make these works to get myself killed or get anyone in to trouble. I don’t want to attack anyone physically and I don’t want anyone to attack me. I think it would be very difficult to do this in the United States because I don’t know the context the same way as i do in Denmark,” he said. 
 
Jensen is no stranger to controversy. He recently garnered attention by painting a portrait of Kim Kardashian using his penis. In another stunt, he walked naked through the streets of Viborg carrying a Bible in his hand. He then repeated the action carrying a Quran and was promptly arrested, which he contends proves that society is too politically correct. 
 
A common theme in his work is nudity, which he says his a reaction to American puritanism. 
 
“I’m inspired by this American attitude that you can’t be naked, and that carries over to things like Facebook and YouTube. Not so many years ago, it was natural to be naked at the beach or even at the Roskilde Festival. Now, the natural naked body is very taboo,” Jensen said. 

RACISM

Danish politician target of racist abuse outside parliament

Member of the Danish parliament Sikandar Siddique and his parents were the target of racist verbal abuse during the assembly’s annual reopening day on Tuesday.

Danish MP Sikandar Siddique in parliament earlier this year. Siddique and his parents endured a racist verbal attack near Christiansborg on October 5th.
Danish MP Sikandar Siddique in parliament earlier this year. Siddique and his parents endured a racist verbal attack near Christiansborg on October 5th. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen later condemned the incident in a social media post.

Siddique and his parents were accosted by a man wearing a t-shirt bearing the words “Fuck Islam” as left the parliament at Christiansborg.

The man told Siddique, along with his mother and 82-year-old father to “go home”. The incident was recorded on a video published by tabloid newspaper BT.

“Aren’t you planning to go home soon? You can take your parents with you, or whatever it is. Your Arabic culture has no place in Denmark, you’re not welcome here,” the man shouts in the video.

Siddique was born in Copenhagen and does not have Arabic heritage. His parents are originally from Pakistan.

Frederiksen subsequently strongly condemned the incident in a Facebook post.

“(Siddique) was yesterday subjected to an unheard-of racist attack right outside Christiansborg. That’s bad enough in itself. But what’s worse is that elderly parents were also subjected to an entirely unfair and boorish confrontation,” the PM wrote.

“I’m so upset about it that I will this evening ask parliament to reject the episode in unity. A racist attack on a family is an attack on all minorities. It has no place in Denmark,” she continued.

“And an attack on a democratically elected politician is an attack on democracy itself. Neither does this have any place in Denmark. My thoughts today go especially to Sikandar’s parents,” she added.

Siddique, a former member of the Alternative party who now sits as an independent, but is political spokesperson with the recently formed Independent Green Party, expressed his thanks after several political colleagues from both sides of the ideological divide pronounced their support.

“A thousand thanks for all the warm messages after what happened yesterday. It means very much, both for my parents and for me. We are fine under the circumstances and the police are now on the case,” he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Danish parliamentarians split off to form ‘green, anti-racist party’

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