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Mural depicting mayor as Roman soldier unveiled

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Mural depicting mayor as Roman soldier unveiled
13:51 CEST+02:00
A painting that features a conservative mayor from south Sweden as a Roman legionary was unveiled Saturday amid protests about the high cost of the art work, commissioned by the mayor from his friend.

The six-by-five metre painting which now adorns the local council's building in Hörby, south Sweden cost 600,000 kronor ($92,000).

The artist, Johan Falkman, has depicted a number of people in the painting who have ties to Hörby. They are portrayed as different historical figures, including mayor Lars Ahlkvist as a Roman soldier.

Relatives of British pilots who died when they crashed outside of Hörby during the Second World War are also represented in the monumental painting.

Falkman's art project stirred up anger when it transpired that he was a friend of Ahlkvist's and that the deal for the mural was struck without an official tendering process.

“I have met the artist on many different occasions and we had discussed a painting," Ahlkvist told local newspaper Skånska Dagbladet at the time.

"I thought it sounded very interesting. He then sent in a proposal that was presented to the Hörby industrial property board,” Ahlkvist explained.

The project was never put out to tender but was commissioned during a number of meetings between Hörby municipality's top brass and the artist in question, Skånska Dagbladet reported.

Tax payers ended up standing for half of the cost of the mural.

The decision to purchase the art work was unsuccessfully appealed. The project's harshest critics called for Ahlkvist to resign.

TT/The Local/nr

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