On Friday, Iraqis started hanging over 1000 posters created by the artists in the most populous and important quarters of the capital, including the diplomatic Green Zone in the very heart of the city.
Artist Claus Rohland, 50, explained to Aljazeera.net why he and fellow artist Jan Egesborg, 40, had got involved and what message they hoped to send to ordinary Iraqis.
“We as Danes are part of this so-called coalition and are taking part in this war. But Denmark is a very small country that has not been at war for many years. We need to question what we are doing and what is happening,” Rohland said.
“None of the warring parties – neither US-led forces nor Iraqi rebels – present a solution to this war. The ultimate solution needs to come from ordinary people. It may sound naive, but we would encourage people to keep faith in themselves that a final solution rests with them.”
Poster reads: Trust In Propaganda
At first glance, the three posters look extremely controversial. One says Kill Your Enemy, another reads Trust in Propaganda, while a third suggests Support the Wrong One.
However, all three posters end with the phrase “and keep life complicated.” Iraqi civilian Amin al-Amidi told Aljazeera.net what the posters meant to him and why he had agreed to stick all 1000 up around Baghdad.
“The message is as clear as crystal. It is communicating to Iraqi people that they will have to follow the path of moderation and neither believe every rumour nor kill in some kind of wild revenge or rely on others to solve our problems,” al-Amidi said.
“Iraqis have suffered an awful lot over the last 35 years, I am willing to do anything to help the situation. Tomorrow, I’ll put up these posters that encourage a calm and calculated answer to the chaos that is happening around us.”
Rohland is no stranger to controversy. With some of his work featured in UK newspaper the Guardian and in the German Frankfurter Allgemeine, the artist shot to fame with his neo-Nazi-like posters.
“Yes, the neo-Nazi campaign was notorious – but it’s ideology was quite clear. The Second World War was won but the Nazi ideology has not been killed off.”
Support the Wrong One [Faction]
“Initially people were angered at the posters, which at first they thought supported neo-Nazism before a closer inspection. I was glad when it made people angry with neo-Nazis.”
“This campaign might be softer – for example the Kill Your Enemy poster does not feature weapons or faces – but it is equally hard-hitting,” Rohland concluded.
Both Egesborg, whose background in advertising, and Rohland are planning a much larger poster art exhibition at the Danish Museum of Arts and Crafts on 6 October.