Artist Bernard Myburgh, born in South Africa, now Dutch and living in Amsterdam, still hasn't been acquitted of child pornography charges and thus, I'm trying to solicit a balanced and constructive, but nevertheless resolute, immediate and urgent reaction, in defence of him, specially from artistic communities, to which the artist, morally, by talent and profession, rightfully belongs.
To this end, I sent a second letter via e-mail to whom it may concern to art schools in Europe - Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, England, Germany, Greece, Norway, Estonia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Wales, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Croatia, Cyprus, Turkey, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Scotland, Ukraine - and Canada - Québec.
Art indeed knows and has no borders, and belongs to the whole of humanity.
Key issues, in my opinion, on which to take a stand, are, the affirmation of the right to artistic expression in the context of the right to freedom of expression provided for in article 10 of the European convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the reality of the fact that the right to artistic expression is not explicitly protected by a provision in the Dutch constitution and the acceptability of the fact that government officials without specific skills in the field of art, history and culture may judge and establish only on their own views and convictions what is art and what is not and degrade works of art rich in expressive power and poetry to mere pornographic objects without artistic significance and "order the destruction by fire of the paintings".
Everyone know that without effective support this thing will definitely take place.
For the time being, the court ordered the withdrawal from circulation, and not the destruction, of the confiscated, not returned paintings. But where are the paintings now? Are they being stored in a safe place? Were they being preserved in good condition since when they were confiscated years ago? And how will they be preserved in the future? In the absence of air conditioned premises, the works of art are subjected to the risk of mould and rot due to lack of air flow and ventilation; in case of incorrect handling they are subjected to the risk of damages due to mechanical, thermal, chemical, photochemical stresses.
While awaiting the final verdict of the Supreme Court or else the subsequent ultimate verdict of the European Court of Human Rights, the works of arts ought be preserved in perfect conditions to be returned to the artist or to be archived and preserved forever for historic purposes for future generations by government approved official institutions.
The artistic communities' position, whatever it is, on this issue, is crucial, and with their permission, I will publish their answers in a post, or possibly instead they will post comments here; in the meantime I'll keep updating the list of the countries.
"Dear Sirs and Madams, Bernard Myburgh is a valuable Dutch artist who draws and paints young men and boys. He still hasn't been acquitted of the charges of creating child pornography (paintings and drawings), of being in possession of child pornography (his own work) and of distributing child pornography (placing his artworks on his website fore sale). The verdict of the Appeal Court in Prinsengracht in Amsterdam was announced on January 9, 2013 and the case was filed under the name Myburgh/Meredith. The Appeal Court has upheld the original verdict of the District Court. “Guilty of producing, possession of, and distribution of child pornography”. The artist will now appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. The question is, is artist Benard Myburgh a test case designed to create a new legal precedent and what impact would an unfavorable outcome of the Supreme Court case have on artistic freedom and independence of art and culture? Surely the artistic community of Holland is defending him publicly? In the event of an unfavorable outcome of the Supreme Court judgment, the artist's artwork would be physically destroyed. Any comments, suggestions and ideas from your side concerning artist's case will be highly appreciated and I'd also welcome your thoughts and points of view on how should the issue be addressed in the near future. There are in fact artist's demands and society's demands that are apparently only in conflict with each other: both for the artist and for society, are both the right to artistic expression and the duty to protect children fundamental principles. What is, then, the problem? I look forward to hearing from you. Very truly yours, Mario Rossi."