Contemporary art

An unofficial follow-up portrait

Simone Aaberg Kaern's second portrait of the Nato secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Danish war artist Simone Aaberg Kaern has painted her second portrait of the Nato secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. But unlike her first, official portrait of the former Danish prime minister, which depicted him in front of a rocky landscape with a military plane flying past his head, Kaern's second work reveals a darker side to the controversial artist, who in 2002-03 flew a small aircraft from Denmark to Afghanistan, ignoring the flight ban imposed by the US military. In her latest portrait, Rasmussen is depicted bloody faced, apparently injured by war. The portrait is one of 14 Kaern has painted of acting and former Danish ministers, the most gruesome showing the defence minister, Gitte Lillelund Bech, with a slash to her mouth. But the artist is philosophical: works like these are necessary to show what war really means, she says.

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