Political censorship of art is not acceptable in democratic society - culture minister

  • 2022-11-29
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Political censorship of art is not acceptable in a democratic society, it is a road to nowhere, said Culture Minister Nauris Puntulis (National Alliance) after his meeting with Maris Cacka, head of the Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre.

The Culture Ministry's spokeswoman Lita Kokale informed LETA that the minister said that "there is a black-and-while color palette dominating in the society in the context of the war in Ukraine and other crisis, which does not promote presence of a constructive dialogue, including in art".

Puntulis said that expressions of contemporary art can be challenging, provocative, not accepted by all social groups, therefore the Rothko Center has conducted explanatory work and placed warnings, informing visitors about the sensitive character of the exhibition.

"Considering Articles 100 and 113 of the Constitution on freedom of expression and freedom of scientific research, artistic and other creative activity, as a parliament lawmaker I have asked to discuss the matter at the Saeima education and culture committee meeting. The Culture Ministry will soon invite representatives of Daugavpils municipality to negotiations," the minister said.

As reported, three works from Estonian ceramic artist Sander Raudsepp's exhibition “Afterlife: Dying to Get There” - "The Nation is a Flock of Sheep", "Juzy" and "Dicksus" - had to be removed under pressure from the Daugavpils local government.

In the series of ceramic sculptures titled "Your Own Alternative Jesus", the Estonian artist has created various interpretations of the crucifix, including some featuring human phalluses.

After the unveiling of the exhibition, the art center and Daugavpils City Council received numerous complaints from various religious groups, cultural associations as well as outraged residents of the city who demanded that the controversial exhibits be removed from the art center.

In the interview with TV3, the director of the National Museum of Art, Mara Lace, said that this case in Daugavpils can be regarded as art censorship, or authorities' interference in the work of cultural institutions they finance.