Lars Vilks, a Swedish cartoonist and sculptor, died on Sunday in a car accident in Markaryd, southern Sweden. Vilks was attacked many times for his work, and threats were made against him. In 2007, when he published a caricature of Muhammad, al-Qaeda was offering $ 100,000 for his head. From then on, he was accompanied by security every day.
According to the Swedish police, as a result of a collision between a truck and a car, apart from the artist, two policemen protecting him were also killed. The truck driver is injured. “It is not clear how the accident happened, but so far there are no indications that anyone else was involved,” the press release said.
Lars Vilks – who he was
Born in 1946, Vilks was the creator of, among others controversial sculptures created without a permit in the Kullaberg nature reserve, which brought him into conflict with local authorities. According to the Swedish art critic Dan Joensson, Vilks “was an artist who aroused emotions.”
He became known internationally as an artist who fought for freedom in the arts when the Nerikes Allehanda newspaper published his caricature of Muhammad in 2007, entitled “The Right to Mock Religion.” The publication sparked protests and riots in Arab countries, al-Qaeda offered $ 100,000 for Vilks’s head.
Vilks’ Islamic fundamentalists have repeatedly threatened with death, he was the target of many attacks, therefore for almost 14 years he was accompanied by protection in everyday life.
In 2010, in the United States, an American woman named Colleen LaRose, known as “Jihad Jane,” was convicted of preparing an attempt on Vilks’ life, and seven people planning an assassination attempt were arrested in Ireland in the same year. The artist was attacked by a 16-year-old during a lecture in Uppsala. In the following years, two perpetrators tried to set his house on fire. In 2015, Vilks survived a terrorist attack in Copenhagen. In the last interview in September this year for the daily “Svenska Dagbladet”, Vilks stated that “now he is rarely afraid”. – The thought that someone might attack me appears during public speeches – he emphasized. The works of Lars Vilks are currently exhibited at the “Political Art” exhibition at the Center for Contemporary Art – Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw.
Main photo source: EPA / DAVID LETH WILLIAMS