Austrian artist lambasted over Star of David photo

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The installation "Guardians of Time" by Austrian artist Manfred Kielnhofer is seen in front of the enlightened Berlin Cathedral in Germany, on October 9, 2013.
BRITTA PEDERSEN / DPA / AFPThe installation "Guardians of Time" by Austrian artist Manfred Kielnhofer is seen in front of the enlightened Berlin Cathedral in Germany, on October 9, 2013.

The photo portrayed a Star of David made out of syringes to protest Covid rules

A prominent artist is having his statues removed in two Austrian cities after sharing a picture of the Israeli flag with the Star of David made out of syringes in protest of Covid restrictions.

Manfred Kielnhofer, an Austrian painter and sculptor, is known for his “Guardians of Time” series which features priest-like figures draped in linen, one of which was included in the posted image surrounded by words including “Jewish.”

His protest comes as Austria is on the verge of becoming the first nation to mandate Covid vaccines for all adults, a move that is drawing much criticism.

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The sculptor told local newspaper BezirksRundSchau that he “overshot the mark” with the photo, but nonetheless defended it as his freedom to be critical.

He added that the text was added by someone else who hacked his computer, however, the criticism of Jews was intentional.

Vaccine manufacturers “are often Jewish,” Keilnhofer said.

“I read that somewhere. Look who the bosses of the pharmaceutical industry are.”

In response to the image, the city of Steyr in Upper Austria is placing a sculpture of the “Guardians of Time” series into storage, and the city of Linz will end an agreement to display a similar statue on its central street, Der Standard reported.

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Alfred Weidinger, director of the cultural department of Upper Austria, told APA News Agency that he was “shocked by the insidious tastelessness of this conspiracy theory.”

“The mindset of the creator of this illustration represents a threat to all democratic, humane, and solidarity values in our country,” he added.

“Even artistic freedom has its limits.”

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