Mohammed cartoonist banned from gallery

Feb. 10, 2008 at 11:22 AM

OSLO, Sweden, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A Swedish artist says an Oslo art gallery's refusal to show his comical paintings of the Muslim prophet Mohammed makes his work more "interesting."

Lars Vilks, whose cartoons depicting Mohammed as a dog sparked widespread controversy, says a ban on his work at the Lautom Contemporary gallery "shows that there is a great need to discuss these issues," The Local reported Sunday.

"The main purpose has been to illustrate how the art market conducts itself. Artists can do what they like, but certain subjects became incredibly sensitive," Vilks said.

"As long as there is a ban I think it is interesting," he added.

Gallery owner Randi Thommessen disagreed, saying in a letter to Vilks that the "exaggerated debate with regard to the Muhammad caricatures was over and done with on her part," The Local said.

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