Swedish Artist Dan Park Sentenced Over Racist Art

Swedish artist Dan Park. Photo: Roger Sahlström

Swedish artist Dan Park has been sentenced to six months in prison and fined $10,000 for artworks that depict Roma and black people in a derogatory and offensive light, the Guardian reports.

On Thursday, he was convicted of both defamation and inciting hatred against an ethnic group for nine posters he created that were eventually seized from Gallery Rönnquist & Rönnquist in the Swedish city of Malmö in early July. The owner of the gallery, Henrik Rönnquist, also received penalties in the form of a conditional sentence and a hefty fine.

One of the offending posters depicted black men with nooses wrapped around their necks, while another implied that specific Roma community leaders condoned crime.

While it is atypical for Swedish courts to give out prison sentences for artworks, it was decided that these pieces were transgressive enough to warrant time behind bars. It is also worth noting that Park has several other similar convictions. According to the National Review, in 2011, he targeted Jallow Momodou, a national black leader, by portraying him in chains on a poster that read “Our negro slave has run away.”

The artist claims the works are satirical and that the prison sentence is a violation of his right to free speech.

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