Oct 20, 2010

#BDS: Norway artist angry as works withdrawn from Syria show

DAMASCUS — Two paintings by Norway's Haakon Gullvaag that show an Israeli flag have been withdrawn from an exhibition at the French Cultural Centre in the Syrian capital, the artist said on Monday.
His "Terra Sancta" exhibition contains works about the Israeli offensive against the Islamist-ruled Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009.
Two of the works in which the Israeli flag features were removed from the show on Saturday, an angry Gullvaag told AFP by phone from Oslo, adding the French embassy in Damascus "explained to us that it was their decision.
"This was done without contacting the artist, the curator or the Norwegian embassy. I have never experienced something similar in my entire life."
The artist said the French embassy said it had concerns about a hotel near the cultural centre which normally has many Iranian guests.
"They were afraid that the Iranians would misunderstand the motifs as being Israel-friendly. Then the cultural centre claimed that some students have complained about showing the Israeli flag at all," Gullvaag said.

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