Nationalist youth organisation Rossiya Molodaya (Young Russia) picketed Russia's ministry of culture on 15 April in protest over the awarding of a contemporary art prize to the controversial art collective Voina, demanding that the ministry stop allocating funds for the prize and “return by any lawful means funds spent on a prize for extremists and provocateurs”.
Voina was awarded the Rb400,000 ($14,000) prize for Dick Captured by FSB!, a 65 x 27m spray painting of the outline of a penis on a bridge opposite St Petersburg's Federal Security Service (FSB) office. The collective will distribute the winnings to orphans and inmates.
Voina did not attend the awards ceremony. Spokesperson Leonid Nikolayev told Russian News Service radio: The prize is secondary and insignificant. Our country has its own prize for artists who deal with social and political issues. We were nominated for a state prize in the form of a criminal case that could land us up to seven years in jail.”
Nikolayev and collective artist Oleg Vorotnikov were jailed after overturning police cars in another performance in St Petersburg last September. They were bailed out by Banksy in February, but are not allowed to leave St Petersburg while they await trial.
Image: Voina Collective's graffiti penis on a drawbridge in Moscow.