Larissa Sansour is an artist born in Jerusalem. Sansour was among eight finalists shortlisted for the 2011 Lacoste Elysee Prize that is awarded by the Swiss Musee de l’Elysee with sponsorship from Lacoste. Her contribution was Nation Estate, conceived during the Palestinian bid for UN membership, it depicts a science fiction-style Palestinian state in the form of a single skyscraper housing the entire Palestinian population. Inside this new Nation Estate, the residents have recreated their lost cities on separate floors: Jerusalem on 3, Ramallah on 4, Sansour’s own hometown of Bethlehem on 5, etc.”
This has proved to be “too pro-Palestinian” for Lacoste, and Larissa’s name has been withdrawn from the competition. She was asked to sign a form stating that she “voluntarily withdrew”.
Demonstrations in support of Larissa took place in Paris, Lyon, Lille and Bordeaux, activists picketed stores, handed out flyers and told Christmas shoppers about Lacoste’s censorship, calling on them to boycott the company. Protestors held signs and prints of Sansour’s censored work and called out slogans condemning Lacoste’s “racism” against Palestinians.
Swiss Musee de l’Elysee has decided to cancel the prestigious event in support of Larissa and the principles of creative freedom and expression.
Thanks to Electronic Intifada