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“Killer sketches” stir row in Brazil 09/25/10

"Killer sketches" stir row in Brazil

Brazilian artist Gil Vicente poses in front of three charcoal sketched self-portraits involving former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon (L), Pope Benedict XVI (C) and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (R) during an interview with AFP ahead of the official opening of the Sao Paulo Art Biennial, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Nine charcoal sketch self-portraits of the Brazilian artist, Gil Vicente, in imaginary scenes murdering world leaders have become the focus of fierce debate, with the national lawyers’ association demanding they be taken down from the walls of the Sao Paulo Art Biennial, which starts Saturday.

“They claim it justifies crime. Stealing public money is not a crime? The reports on TV aren’t trying to justify crimes? Only my work is justification of crime?” an indignant Vicente said in an interview with AFP.

He and organizers insisted the works would be shown as planned in as one of the main exhibits in the Biennial despite the outrcry.

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