Monday, May 02, 2011

Kurt Westergaard on Danish Television

Kurt Westergaard: Free Speech (large)
(Click for a larger version)

I reported last week on The Kurt Westergaard Foundation, a joint project put together by several dedicated Danes. Its purpose is to support artists and writers in their struggle for free speech.

To establish its initial fund, the Foundation is selling signed prints of Kurt Westergaard’s drawing “Free Speech” — see the icon on our sidebar for the PayPal link to purchase a print.

Kurt Westergaard: Free Speech

As Hans Erling Jensen reports, Kurt Westergaard and his agent Erik Guldager appeared on Danish television today to talk about the Foundation. A video clip from the program is below the jump, followed by a complete transcript.

Many thanks to Henrik Ræder Clausen for the photo and the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:


0:01 Kurt Westergaard has personally experienced what it means to
0:03 be threatened and persecuted for his art.
0:07 Today he, along with his agent Erik Guldager, has created a fund to support artists in the same situation.
0:14 Welcome here to both of you.
0:16 Kurt Westergaard, why is it important to establish this fund?
0:19 I found it important to create it, because the need for it is really there.
0:23 There are artists, creative people, in many places in this global village
0:30 — by now we all sort of know each other — people who are in serious trouble.
0:34 Here in Denmark we have the good fortune not to suffer from a repressive regime,
0:41 applying direct censorship and the like.
0:46 On the other hand, we may be engaging in self-censorship,
0:52 and self-censorship just might be the most unpleasant form of censorship.
0:59 For self-censorship is invisible, one cannot see it, it takes place inside the heads and minds of people.
1:05 And here I believe that my own class, as I would call it,
1:10 the intellectual, creative class, currently has problems.
1:15 And that really is a shame.
1:17 Then, I hope the beautiful eggheads are unable to stand it for very long. They’ll break.
1:24 But there is self-censorship.
1:26 You are now collecting quite a bit of money for this fund,
1:29 and Kurt Westergaard, you created this watercolour painting,
1:32 for which one may purchase prints and support the fund, at, as you put it, the symbolic value of 100 euros.
1:39 Erik Guldager, what exactly is it this particular image depicts?
1:43 As I know it and see it, this is a Kurt Westergaard Classic.
1:49 First we see this man walking the tightrope,
1:52 and we see the rope attached to a “Free Speech” sign,
1:58 and he is clearly doing a balancing act.
2:01 As it is a balance when you deal with art.
2:05 And it is a very powerful drawing, it is global, so to speak, it can be understood in all countries.
2:11 It is a very good guarantee for the fund, it is the branding of the fund,
2:16 and as mentioned, we have chosen to sell the print at, well, 100 euros apiece,
2:21 and we have been so lucky as to get Kurt to sign each and every one of them.
2:27 Which artists is it you intend to help?
2:33 It is creative people in general, people making a living from expressing themselves,
2:41 who live from being critical, that sort of person.
2:49 This is where we will find our candidates for the prize.
2:53 Those receiving the prize will also receive this, well, quite heavy statuette,
2:58 as far as I have understood: This part symbolizes the inkwell,
3:02 and this is the pen — I assume you can see this -
3:05 and here on the top is a bomb.
3:09 Does one get more than this, if recognized by your fund?
3:16 Sure, one hopefully does.
3:18 Along with this follows a rationale for the prize and a good speech.
3:21 And depending on how many people choose to support this
3:25 by purchasing a print, we of course mean to include some economics,
3:28 that a reasonable gift can be included for these artists.
3:33 For this reason we have a comprehensive network
3:38 selling this Free Speech drawing.
3:40 So the goal is most certainly to get this fund established,
3:43 that we will be able to eventually provide artists with some material support.
3:48 There is quite a way to go, to get started you need to collect Dkr 250,000 (US $ 50,000),
3:53 in order to legally establish the fund, so I will wish you good luck in your undertakings,
3:59 and thank you for visiting us here. A pleasure being here.


Anonymous said...

"For self-censorship is invisible, one cannot see it, it takes place inside the heads and minds of people. And here I believe that my own class, as I would call it, the intellectual, creative class, currently has problems. And that really is a shame. Then, I hope the beautiful eggheads are unable to stand it for very long. They’ll break."

Kurt, I'm coming along as fast as I can. Chip, chip, chipping out of my egg into the open. :)