• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Op-Ed
Banksy, you are not welcome in Stockholm!
A Banksy piece in London. File: Kenneth Lyngaas/Flickr

Banksy, you are not welcome in Stockholm!

The Local · 21 Mar 2014, 12:14

Published: 21 Mar 2014 11:57 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Mar 2014 12:14 GMT+01:00

Helsinki, Oslo, Copenhagen, Berlin and London. These are a few of the cities in Europe where legal graffiti walls are part of the streetscape. Banksy, one of the most famous graffiti artists in the world, just announced he would be arriving in Stockholm this weekend.

But he isn’t welcome here.

The ruling conservative majority in city hall doesn’t believe that graffiti is an art form and has banned it from the streets, galleries, and even from event posters - which means you cannot show Banksy art to promote the Banksy show... 

Banksy’s art has been sold for millions and is appreciated by people from all over the world. His work has proved that graffiti is an established and respected art form. But now when he allegedly is coming to Stockholm, his work highlights the ruling politicians’ fear and misunderstanding of street art in general and graffiti in particular.

In 2007, the City Council of Stockholm adopted a zero-tolerance policy that took aim at one single art form. The policy clearly states that the city shall not engage in or support activities that promote graffiti and other vandalism.

In practice, it put a stop to several art projects. The Stockholm City Museum had to cancel its street art tour, and schools with a culture profile in the Stockholm neighbourhoods of Bromma and Farsta had to close down their graffiti workshops.

The policy has also given the police legitimate reason to strip search young people, with simply a suspicion of them having painted on a public surface enough to see them arrested. 

Stockholm’s graffiti policy has been criticized for censoring graffiti and street art as an art form. It has been the subject of complaints to the judicial-affairs ombudsman (Justitieombudsmannen - JO) on multiple occasions. Earlier this year, the ombudsman office stated Stockholm City had violated the Swedish constitution in 2011, when local authorities went as far as to ban an advertising campaign that was promoting an exhibition on street art.

The Green Party's view is that the zero-tolerance approach to graffiti and other types of street art is highly misplaced in a modern democratic society and that it challenges freedom of speech and expression. Art is not meant to be easy but challenging to the senses. The majority view on graffiti is based on a fear of what’s challenging and difficult to control.

The conservative majority in Stockholm spreads a view on culture that forbids rather than encourages freedom of expression.

Story continues below…

Street art and legal graffiti are urban art forms that are free for all to see, and they add to public spaces in the cities. The Green Party wants to have a city where young artists are encouraged and empowered to exercise their art. We want an end to the zero-tolerance policy and to create legal graffiti walls at several different locations in the city.

In the future I hope Stockholm can say; welcome Banksy.

Mats Berglund, member of the Stockholm City Council and the Cultural Committee of the Green Party

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Eagles of Death Metal rock Stockholm
Eagles of Death Metal at Stockholm's Debaser. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Eagles of Death Metal rock Stockholm
32 minutes ago

"I take it as a very sacred duty," frontman Jesse Hughes says as band relaunches terror-hit European tour.

'I am the whistleblower': sacked Swedbank CEO
Michael Wolf claimed that he had himself reported the non-compliant transactions. Photo: Anders Ahlgren/SvD/TT

'I am the whistleblower': sacked Swedbank CEO
19 hours ago

“I know which companies this concerns, and I made losses on them."

Karolinska head quits over scandal-hit surgeon
Professor Anders Hamsten. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Karolinska head quits over scandal-hit surgeon
23 hours ago

Karolinska Institute "failed to see the warning signs" of fraud surrounding Paolo Macchiarini.

Sweden jails Bulgarians for begging ring
Beggars from Romania and Bulgaria have become a common sight on Sweden's streets. Photo:

Sweden jails Bulgarians for begging ring
1 day ago

Landmark case sees brothers jailed for human trafficking.

Azita Raji confirmed US envoy to Sweden
Azita Raji speaks at Barnard College in 2013. Photo: Barnard College

Azita Raji confirmed US envoy to Sweden
1 day ago

After eight months, Sweden will finally get a US ambassador.

Video
WATCH: Rare peek at Swedish wild lynx caught on camera
File photo of lynx. Photo: AP Photo/Sergiy Gaschak

WATCH: Rare peek at Swedish wild lynx caught on camera
1 day ago

You may never get this close to these shy Swedish wild cats again.

Sacked Swedish banker suspected of shady deals
Sacked Swedbank boss Michael Wolf. Photo: Pi Frisk/SvD/TT

Sacked Swedish banker suspected of shady deals
1 day ago

UPDATED: But Sweden's biggest bank's former CEO Michael Wolf says he is the victim of a "smear campaign".

Where to find your favourite features on The Local
Read about Swedish food every Friday. Photo: Camilla Degerman/Image Bank Sweden

Where to find your favourite features on The Local
1 day ago

Find out when you can get a guaranteed food, business, property or fix or get involved in the debates The Local's readers are talking about.

Guess why this Swedish beer label got banned?

Guess why this Swedish beer label got banned?
1 day ago

Don't drink and drive pirate ships, kids.

Protesters cheer on 'refugee attack' suspects
The Nicksta camp site, where the attack was allegedly set to take place. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

Protesters cheer on 'refugee attack' suspects
1 day ago

Around 100 people spent Friday morning gathered outside a Swedish court where a group of men planning a violent attack at refugee housing were appearing.

Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
National
Can you spot the dildo in this photo?
Sponsored Article
Just landed? Here's the secret to finding work in Stockholm
Culture
Seven facts about the shy Swede behind the world's pop music
Travel
Why are people so happy in Malmö?
Blog updates

12 February

Editor’s blog, February 12th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Sweden’s most southern city, Malmo, hasn’t had the easiest start to the year, grabbing global…" READ »

 

9 February

Förr, förut, förrän, före and … innan! (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! A long time ago, I got this question: It would be a huge help if you could…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
How to set up shop in the 'Silicon Valley of Sweden'
National
Less than one percent of Swedish crimes linked to refugees
Sponsored Article
Luleå: 8 winter must-dos in Sweden's far north
Features
Single? Here are the ten Swedish words you have to learn
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Lindesberg, Örebro
Lifestyle
VIDEO: What's the fuss about Sweden's semla bun?
Sponsored Article
Swiss hospitality: The ladder to your international career
Culture
Ten fab Swedish hits for February
Sponsored Article
Ice magic at north Sweden island lodges
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: February 6th-7th
Travel
Stockholm's eight REAL no-go zones
Sponsored Article
Stockholm's secret ski resort: Kungsberget
Gallery
People-watching: February 3rd
Sponsored Article
Lofsdalen: The real Swedish wilderness
National
'How confronting the man who robbed me gave me closure'
Analysis & Opinion
DEBATE: Why are Swedes so obsessed with Nordic skiing?
Culture
See which Swedish museums are now opening up for free
Gallery
Property of the week: Insjön, Nacka
National
VIDEO: Tensions caught on camera inside Swedish asylum home
Gallery
People-Watching: January 29th - 31st
International
How will Sweden deport up to 80,000 failed asylum seekers?
Sport
When you gotta go... Swedish racing dog does poo and then takes gold
Sport
Guess who just got a HUGE pay rise?
Travel
WATCH: Five top tips for safe ice skating on Sweden's gorgeous lakes
Gallery
People-watching: January 27th
National
'Sweden could be at war within years'
3,495
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se