Flying the flag for art

The Danish artist Claus Beck-Nielsen marched through Kabul with a white flag in late March to demonstrate that “the world is friendlier than you think.” Beck-Nielsen says he was unaware that the white flag is the symbol of the Taliban. “It is neutral, that’s why I chose it,” he explains. “The flag had a large hole in the middle where ideological symbols are usually depicted.” Beck-Nielsen walked from the outskirts of the Afghani capital towards the National Theatre in the centre. He says his initial plan was to walk on stage for the final scene of his play “The Parliament”. “But the Afghans did not want that as it would have looked like a Westerner was bringing his values into the country,” he said. In 2004 he walked across the border from Kuwait into Iraq carrying a box with the word “democracy” printed inside; he did the same in Tehran in 2006 with fellow artist Thomas Altheimer

Clemens Bomsdorf

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