Friday, September 30, 2011

Dutch artist Wouter Mijland sculpts monument to fallen Taliban fighters

Wouter Mijland´s sculpture in Dresden honoring fallen Taliban fighters

“After having finished the NATO jerry can at 4 (of course I got machine troubles at night) on Sunday morning, we left for Berlin at 6 a.m.

“There we placed it next to the Fernsehturm without any trouble. It was a beautiful day and reactions were positive.

“In the evening we placed it in the Neustadt in Dresden where we drank a beer with lemonade on my birthday.

“I must admit that I was a little bit worried, since my computer and some of others got hacked the day before and I found some pretty disturbing comments on right-wing and anti-Islam blogs.

“I am very happy that all went very peaceful and friendly, just like the sculpture itself.

“To you right-wingers, Islama-phobics and other jammed or angry people out there: hope you will find السلام and السلام.”—Wouter Mijland

Dutch contemporary artist Wouter Mijland´s “Monument to the Fallen Taliban Fighters” puts him on the wrong side of God in the eyes of right-wingers and Islamaphobics.

About September 8, he installed the monument first in Berlin, then in Dresden.

His website and blog emphasize: It´s not to commemorate deaths of Islamic martyrs who committed horrendous and vicious crimes against innocent people.

Yet, his title suggests otherwise, inciting a fair amount of controversy—wanted or unwanted.

The artist claims his mega-sized NATO jerry can with a heart carved in the middle stands not as a symbol praising terrorism, but as a monument against killing and war in general.

The Dresden-based artist, a scientist, specializes in reforestation and forest preservation.

Mijland has seen devastation in Africa caused multi-nationals exploiting raw resources of third-world countries.

According to his website and active blog isn´t taking sides.

He claims he´s taking only the side of humanity and peace.

“I do not think in terms of perpetrators and victims, which affects all sides.

"The September 11 attack on the twin towers in New York was a terrible attack where many people have died.

“Then the United States bombed Afghanistan, a third-world country with a long history of war, where everything was already broken.

“But the Taliban have not destroyed the Twin Towers in New York. I thought it was a shocking response.”

“My really sincere condolences go out to those who have lost a loved one in the war.”

Mijland appears fixated by jerry cans as raw material for some of his works.

He is as much a thinker as an artist.

Mijland believes Western propaganda has fanned flames of Islamaphobia, masking truth.

He says: “I believe that 99.9 percent of Muslims want to establish only work, life, and a family, stay healthy, and breathe. I do not believe in this large, dangerous, Islamist movement and find frightening the polarizing of views.”

The artist´s website quotes a song by John Frusciante called, "Will to Death." I originally incorrectly attributed these lyrics to Mijland. I regret the error.
And they're thought to be lies
But we saw them, saw them
We looked right in their eyes
Right at them, at them
Pinning space to the world
We slaughtered, slaughtered
Not a sound to be heard
We're awful, awful
And have you seen
How they run
Out of gas
They beat the pain
They sing in the rain
Endless and formless
They fly to the end
And back to the
Beginning again
Have you put them aside
Your crazy thoughts and dreams
No they're a part of me
And they all mean one thing
The will to death is what keeps me alive
It's one step away, step away
Limitations are set
Only then can we go all the way, all the way
And have you seen how the cars when they pass
They come your way
Then they´re speeding away
Coming to you and then going away
But for them nothing´s changed, for them nothing´s changed

"My poetry goes more like this"


Wouter Mijland

Once (the day after I edited that particular text), I woke up
after having dreamed about the butterfly effect thinking
that if we cannot love each other, there is no chance for
world peace.
A slight panic came over me. I got up, washed myself
with cold water, brewed a strong black coffee and fried 
bacon with two eggs. I did not read the newspaper and 
turned off the radio while having breakfast before I got 
on my bicycle to go to school. 

Ai Wei Wei isn´t winning a popularity contest with Chinese communist authorities.

Any political art activist simply pursues principle through art.

Art activism means artistic freedom to create and advance all points of view.

It can also lead to much heat and noise, which may be designed to simply create commercial notoriety.

Look at Mijland´s blog and website.

You be the judge.

I welcome your comments and discussion.

Wouter Mijland as seen through the heart of his "Monument to the Fallen Taliban Fighters"
Artist Wouter Mijland and his outsizied NATO jerry can work
Dutch contemporary artist Wouter Mijland at work on his "Monument to the Fallen Taliban Fighters"

Rock on and practice peace and love.
Stefan, the ArtTraveler ™

Visit Andalusia for a walking holiday or week-long sculpture or mosaics workshop. See: and

"Spanish life stilled," photograph by Stefan van Drake (2009)

 ArtTraveler´s video: an interview with Scottish illustrator and painter, Gordon Wilson, about his new "I Love Fish" exhibition, inspired by a commissioned mural he did 12 years ago for a West Glasgow gangster, who loved supporting writers and artists as well as organized crime.

You may reach me at or by calling (34) 915 067 703 or from the UK at BT landline rates, 0844 774 8349

1 comment:

  1. hey! the poetry you wrote in your post is not my poetry but a song by John Frusciante, called "Will to Death" !!!

    My poetry goes more like this;

    Once (the day after I edited that particular text) I woke up after having dreamed about the butterfly effect, thinking that if we can not love each other there is no chance for world peace. A slight panic came over me. I got up, washed myself with cold water, brewed a strong black coffee and fried bacon with 2 eggs. I did not read the newspaper and turned off the radio while having breakfast before I got on my bicycle to go to school.

    Cheers, Wouter