In Depth

Fury over artwork inviting visitors to pose as Jihadi John victims

Installation by 22-year-old Anne Bothmer imitates a fairground picture board with face holes

A Dutch artist is facing criticism for an art installation that gives visitors the chance to pose as the victims of Mohammed Emwazi, the Islamic State terrorist known as Jihadi John, who was filmed beheading prisoners.

The piece, Phantom Pain, went on show at the Gogbot art and music festival in Enschede last week and “is an imitation of a fairground picture board with face holes”, says The Times.

Emwazi is shown wielding a knife and preparing to cut the throat of whoever puts their face in the hole.

One critic said that Anne Bothmer’s work “needlessly brought festival visitors, including children, face to face with terrorism”, adds the paper.

But Bothmer defended her right to stimulate discussion through a provocative approach, saying that “lorries driving into crowds, bombings and shootings” caused a “massive stream of irrational reactions”.

She said: “As a spectator of these attacks we do not want to experience it, but we want to be part of it. The overarching tone of the messages within the aftermath amplifies a feeling of collective victimisation by European citizens.

“However, in comparison there were only a few who were really present at the attacks and the rest of Europe only perceived them through cinematic and photographic imagery.”

As soon as the work was unveiled “local politicians from different parties called for the removal of the IS artwork”, reports the Daily Mail.

Arjan Brouwer, of Democratic Platform Enschede, said: “We call urgently upon the mayor to act and remove this element of Gogbot immediately from the event.

“This picture of genocide does not belong at this event and needlessly confronts our inhabitants and children with terrorism, human suffering and traumatic experiences which they went through in the country they fled from.”

The festival organisation and the mayor of Enschede are yet to respond.

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