Assange street art attempted removed in Bergen
The artist AFK believes that it is unfortunate that there have been several attempts to remove or vandalise his street art in Bergen. The street art depicts WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in chains.
“AFK regards this as a gift to the street that is not to be capitalized on,” the artist’s spokesman, Christer Holm, tells NTB.
Street artist AFK plastered an image of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Nygårdshøyden in Bergen on Saturday. The picture is placed on the same street corner where the artist last year placed an image of Sylvi Listhaug (Progress Party).
Bergensavisen reports that three friends were in the process of taking down the artwork later in the evening. They state that the reason was to preserve it, sell it and donate the money to WikiLeaks.
The artist gladly contributes if anyone wants help for a good cause, but this work of art belongs to the street, according to Holm.
“AFK donates many works to charity every year. He thinks that this is unfortunate and that they should address him personally. This is street art that will cause debate around that the Americans undermining the freedom of the press,” Holm explains.
During the afternoon, quarrels arose between the three men and passers-by, according to Bergens Tidende.
“At one point, it has been around 15 persons in front of the artwork of Assange, arguing if it is right to remove the piece of art,” a source tells the newspaper.
West Police District writes in a press release that no report has been filed regarding the removal of the street art.
Freedom of press
The newly painted image depicts Assange clad in an orange robe and the phrase «Free Press». The words are written in a cross-hair directed at his heart.
In addition, there are painted two figures, an envelope depicting the Statue of Liberty in New York together with the first amendment of the American constitution.
The street artist hopes that the image can contribute to reflections on the importance of protecting freedom of press, whistleblowers and journalists.
AFK is well known in Bergen as a street artist. He has made several street art images there already. The street artist has chosen to remain anonymous because he feels that anonymity gives him the freedom to be who he is”, he has explained in a previous interview with NRK.
Similar, but not the same
The artist’s spokesperson thinks that it’s a shame if people have the impression that they can simply remove art from the streets.
The controversial artwork depicting Sylvi Listhaug, which appeared on the same street corner on Easter Sunday last year, was painted over with black paint a few days later. Students took the artwork down and managed to restore it using nail polish remover. The students later sold it for NOK 300,000.
“Although the situations are similar, they are not alike. The Listhaug one was first vandalised. After that, the artist felt that it was no longer his matter. This artwork belongs to the street,” Holm concludes.
There have been several more attempts to remove or vandalise it during the day.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today