Friday, November 19, 2010

Hong Kong Artist Censored in Netherlands

Hong Kong artist Tsang Kin-Wah, known for his works combining expletives with floral pattern (text with image) has decided to pull out of an exhibition at the SCHUNCK* Heerlen in Netherlands after the museum feels that his work is too sensitive for such a prominent place as the entrance/lobby. Tsang was given the choice to either change his work or move the work to a less ‘public’ area.




"The head doesn't want to show my work/texts in the proposed area, the entrance/lobby... the texts are some direct & indirect views and ideas related to the right wing party/politician, the third & emerging force in the parliament there”, Tsang explained.


Who exactly is the Director fearful of and what exactly are the texts about?

Well, the politician in question is Geert Wilder, the leader of the third-leading political party in the Netherlands. This is the guy who has campaigned to stop the “Islamisation of the Netherlands”. The same guy who suggested that women who wear headscarf should be taxed and construction of mosques should be banned.

As for the texts, the following are the texts the Director of the museum want Tsang to change:

YOU MUST RUTHLESSLY SUPPRESS THEM

YOU JUST HATE THEIR BOOK AND THEIR IDEOLOGY

THEY WILL HAVE NO RIGHTS AND WILL BE DEPRIVED OF FIRE & WATER

YOU ARE TOO TOLERANT OF THE INTOLERANT

ELIMINATE ALL OF THEM
DESTROY ALL OF THEM

SERIOUSLY HARM THEM BEFORE THEY HARM YOU

DISMANTLE THEM DISMANTLE YOU

KILL ON BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE

SUPPRESS ALL THE MINORITY ALL THE INTOLERANT AND ALL THE OPPOSITE

THEY SHALL BE RUTHLESSLY SUPPRESSED

YOU ARE THE FUCKING INTOLERANT
THEY ARE THE FUCKING INTOLERANT AND ALL PEOPLE ARE THE FUCKING INTOLERANT

BLOCK THEIR BUILDINGS

THIS IS NOT YOUR PALACE
THIS IS FUCKING NOT YOUR STREET


Needless to say, the art community here in Hong Kong is in shock. One can imagine this happening in Hong Kong (wink), but in Netherlands? Is this the same country that is known to be so progressive that it became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage?

Well, it is Netherlands’ loss and Tsang’s gain. Netherlands has just missed the opportunity to see this great artist’s work, while Tsang gains his colleagues’ and audiences’ respect for his integrity.

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2 Comments:

At November 20, 2010 at 7:49 AM , Blogger WATER-TROTTER said...

Well, there is a lot to say about this and I had not heard about it before (it's not covered in the Dutch media - maybe censored too). Obviously freedom of speech is one of the most important values in modern democratic societies. From what I understand, the artist was not censored, but the (Head of the) Museum decided to show his art at a less prominent place.
The artists' texts come at an extremely sensitive time in The Netherlands - a few weeks after the new right wing Government was installed. Geert Wilders, the right extremist anti-immigrant politician, is in court defending is own right to freely speak his mind about hatred, racism and intolerance.
Messages like KILL ON BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE or SERIOUSLY HARM THEM BEFORE THEY HARM YOU no longer go down very well in Dutch society, where film maker Theo Van Gogh was brutally murdered by Muslim extremists, and other politicians live under permanent police security.
The HK arts society may be in shock (oh poor things), but Dutch society is still in shock about people spreading messages of hatred and extremism. One cannot be careful enough in dealing with the issue.

 
At November 22, 2010 at 10:10 PM , Blogger Callan said...

The world has become too politically correct in many ways, and afraid that applies to places that used to be open to the modern thinking.

I recall reviewing a piece of art in the UK that included pornography and the depiction of Jesus Christ on the cross. That was almost 20 years ago and was so shocking yet inspirational that it has stuck in my head to this day.

Today, that would probably be banned under some spurious reason.

Art has been something that stretches the boundaries for as long as we have been on the planet. Victorians shunned nudity and hid archeological statues and modern Amazonian tribes. Are we now at a point where the use of words is so offensive that we can not use them in art?

So much for progress. It should be up to the beholder to decide what is offensive... I would rather see the above art than dead bodies plastisised!

 

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