Swedish Cartoons

Today's homepage content visits a recently opened retrospective of Sweden's cartoon genre. The Gothenburg museum is exhibiting the works of Jan Loof, as shown here. Just two years ago, there was a much darker side to Sweden's cartoon history. You probably remember The Lars Vilks Muhammad drawings controversy. It began in July 2007 with a series of drawings by Swedish artist Lars Vilks that depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad as a roundabout dog (a form of street installation in Sweden). Several art galleries in Sweden declined to show the drawings, citing security concerns and fear of violence. The controversy gained international attention after the Örebro-based regional newspaper Nerikes Allehanda published one of the drawings on 18 August to illustrate an editorial on self-censorship and freedom of religion. Following this publication, there were a few demonstrations in Sweden, and shortly thereafter multiple threats originated from the Arab world. By 15 September 2007, it was reported that the group Islamic State of Iraq had placed a bounty of at least $100,000 on the head of Lars Vilks and 50,000 dollars on Ulf Johansson, editor-in-chief of Nerikes Allehanda. The reward would be raised to $150,000 if he were "slaughtered like a lamb." The statement also threatened attacks on Swedish companies unless unspecified "crusaders" issued an apology. Vilks responded to the threat with typical Scandanavian reserve by saying: "I suppose this makes my art project a bit more serious. It's also good to know how much one is worth". Fortunately, Vilks is safe; and Swedish cartooning is alive and well, as offered today on our homepage. Log on via the link above. Varma Hälsningar, TEAMKABINETT