Macedonia: Work of art destroyed for offending religious feelings

28 June 2012

The organisers of a festival in Skopje allegedly destroyed a work of art which was already on display on a street-billboard, claiming that it hurt religious feelings, reported Harald Schenker of BalkanInsight

The organisers of the festival which is held under the auspices of the City of Skopje decided to remove a billboard i.e. tear into bits a work of art that already was on display as part of an exhibition, without informing the artist group involved, an informal group of artists called Kooperacija.

The billboard depicted a mock advert for a cleaning product, which was supposed to clean “even the most inaccessible surfaces”. The background shows a fresco from a Skopje church that featured a “miraculous” self-cleaning icon not long ago.

In an e-mail to the organisers of the conference ‘All That is Banned is Desired, the founder of the artist group wrote:

“Kooperacija’s main goal is institutional critique, searching for alternative ways of exhibiting artwork by young artists outside the conservative cultural institutions and providing a unique means of communication between artists and the public. Some of our members have now also been censored recently. Four public artworks have been censored in the last four years. It is not uncommon that censorship in Macedonia affects the press too, whose reporters are persecuted and harassed. Public artworks have been destroyed by the government who follows criteria set by the Othodox Church, never having to answer to the general public for its actions. ”

The artists involved say that their voices against censorship, which they use blogs and social networks to publish, have been condemned by pro-government media as insulting, mocking and ‘controversial’. The founder of the artist group was recently reported as making mockery of censorship because of a piece of art work which was dedicated especially to the fight censorship.

BalkanInsight – 14 June 2012:
Art and Religious Intolerance

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