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Artists spraying communist leader's bust tried

THE BUST dedicated to former communist leader Vasil Biľak was unveiled in his native village of Krajná Bystrá on February 21, 2015, a year after his death.

(Source: TASR)

Legal proceedings have begun at Svidník District Court against two artists from Košice who are accused of defacing the bust, the TASR learnt from Prešov Regional Court spokesman Michal Drimák on February 3.      

From the outset, the sculpture has elicited mixed reactions from the public. Many perceived the commemoration as a provocation, as Biľak’s name was closely linked with the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the armies of the Warsaw Pact. On the second day following the bust’s unveiling, the defendants defaced it by using red spray-paint to write the word Sviňa / Pig in what they claim was a gesture of civic activism. The Košice-based artists, Peter Kalmus and Ľuboš Lorenz, admitted at that time to the Sme daily that it was them who sprayed the bust.

        

Read also:Biľak memorial draws criticism, is vandalised

Shortly after being spray-painted, Biľak’s bust – produced by the unreformed Communist Party of Slovakia (KSS) – was stolen. According to KSS spokesperson Helena Polanská, the communists originally planned to have the damaged bust cleaned up and were waiting for a forensic expert’s opinion. Before they could follow through with their intent, however, the sculpture vanished.

 

Read also:Monument of deceased communist leader sparks emotions

On February 3, both defendants and the damaged side were heard in court and the proceeding was then adjourned to March 14, in order to secure further evidence, Drimák told the SITA newswire.  

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