Snow White and The Madness of Truth

From Academic Kids

Snow White and The Madness of Truth (Swedish: Snövit och sanningens vansinne) is a work of art by Israeli-born Swedish composer/musician Dror Feiler (music) and his Swedish wife artist Gunilla Sköld-Feiler (visuals), in the Museum of National Antiquities (Historiska muséet) in Stockholm, Sweden. In early 2004 the artwork made a brief splash of international news after the Israeli ambassador Zvi Mazel vandalized it January 16, 2004, by disconnecting the electricity and tipping one of the lights into the water causing a short circuit. The entire event was filmed by a news team. Zvi Mazel was asked to leave, but refused and had to be escorted out by museum security. Zvi Mazel has later given contradicting statements about the attack. To the Swedish media, he said it was done in the heat of the moment, but to Israeli media he said the attack was planned before he even had seen the artwork.

The installation consisted of a long pool of blood red water, a little white boat labelled "Snövit" ("Snow White") with the portrait of a Palestinian suicide bomber Hanadi Jaradat, and a text[1] ( posted on the walls. Bach's Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut (Cantata 199) that begins with "My heart swims in blood / because the brood of my sins / in God's holy eyes / makes me into a monster" plays as a musical accompaniment. According to the artists, the installation was made to "call attention to how weak people left alone can be capable of horrible things.". Several days later, on January 20, Dror Feiler appeared in Nyhetsmorgon on Swedish TV4 (Zvi Mazel was invited but declined to participate) and explained that the white boat symbolized truth and he said that if you believe you have the 100% truth, you will float in a pool of blood.

According to Gunilla Sköld-Feiler the name Snow White was chosen simply because in the picture Hanadi Jaradat looked like Snow White with her black hair, pale skin and red lips.

The installation was a part of the Making Differences exhibition at the Museum of National Antiquities. On January 18, 2004, an as yet unidentified man attacked Thomas Nordanstad who is responsible for the exhibition and tried to push him down the stairs. Recently, he has received over 400 e-mails with various threats. In addition, both Kristian Berg, head of the museum, and the artist have received many threats. On Sunday, a museum guard had to remove a group of people throwing various objects in to the water.

After the attack the number of visitors to the museum increased to approximately 1,400 a day, up from roughly the same number of visitors per week.

There have been some speculations as to why an experienced diplomat like Zvi Mazel would perform such an act. According to an analysis in Dagens Nyheter it may have been done in an effort to discredit Sweden and the European Union by painting them as anti-semites to get the European Union to back down from their peace efforts in the Middle East.[2] ( Others speculate that he may have done it to give Israel an excuse for not attending the international anti-genocide conference Stockholm International Forum to be held in Stockholm January 26-28. In a column [3] ( writer Gilad Atzmon saw the ambassador's reaction as a result of Zionists associating blood with glory.

The diplomatic relations have also suffered extra pressure because the Israeli Army radio incorrectly reported that a "pro Israeli" artwork was removed from the exhibition at the request of Syria. Both Thomas Nordanstad and Kristian Berg have stated that the allegation are false. The artwork in question, "Map" by award-winning Israeli artist Amit Goren, is still part of the exhibition. The rumour probably started because the display of "Map (" was moved from Tensta konsthall when it due to some internal problems no longer was available. Also "Three (" by the same artist is now displayed. The display of Goren's works is sponsored by the Israeli embassy and the cultural attache, Lizzie Oved Scheja stated that they are backing the exhibit 100%.

Kristdemokratiska Ungdomsförbundet (KDU), the youth organisation of the christian democratic party, reported the artwork to the police so it could be tried according to Sweden's strict laws against hate speech. [4] (

Stockholms Lokaltrafik (SL) have decided to remove the posters advertising the Making Differences exhibit that used a picture of Hanadi Jaradat.

That so many have misunderstood the artist's intention with the work has been compared to the reactions to Steve Earle's song "John Walker's blues" on the record "Jerusalem". [5] ( lyrics (

An e-mail protest organized by the Simon Wiesenthal Center has been directed at Prime Minister Göran Persson's office. By the morning of January 27 13,603 emails were received.[6] (

Kristian Berg stated that "I did not hear anyone who saw the work say that it was an anti-Semitic installation, against the Jewish people or against the Israeli people, I therefore think that this work was politically hijacked - the interpretation that Ambassador Mazel gave it was very narrow and very political." [7] (

The artwork was taken off display as planned on February 8, 2004.

See also

External links

sv:Snövit och sanningens vansinne


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