Provocative Bergen street art gone after vandalism

A controversial street painting depicting a naked former justice minister Sylvi Listhaug on a cross has been removed from the wall of a building in Bergen, a few days after it appeared during the Easter holiday.

Provocative Bergen street art gone after vandalism
The corner of Hans Holmboe gate and Fosswinkelsgate in Bergen on April 4th. Photo: Emil Weatherhead Breistein / NTB scanpix

At least one person vandalised the work by ‘tagging’ – spray painting over – it during Tuesday night.

The painting was initially tagged and not completely covered, anonymous artist AFK, who was behind the street art, confirmed via Instagram.

“Someone was busy last night… A thanks goes out to the unknown artist who added the finishing touch I was looking for! It accompanied mine nicely!”, AFK wrote in the Instagram post.

By morning it had completely disappeared behind black paint.

The painting has given rise to considerable debate, particularly in relation to freedom of speech, in Norway in recent days.

READ ALSO: Norway street artist stokes debate with 'crucifixion' Listhaug painting

Vebjørn Selbekk, editor of Christian newspaper Dagen, told NRK on Tuesday he liked the artwork.

“I think it is an exciting, political work of art. Of course there will be reactions, and I understand that. But there is an interesting political message in the picture, which for me is the most important thing here,” Selbekk said.

Representatives from a homeowners’ committee on the Fosswinckels Gate street in Bergen, where the picture was painted, told press on Tuesday that opinion in the neighbourhood had been split on whether to allow the street art to remain in place, or whether to remove it.

But the anonymous tagger made that decision easier by spraying over the painting of Listhaug at around 2am on Wednesday, according to NRK’s report.