Dying boy on the main street in Odense

From the 5th of May, in the middle of Odenseīs Main Street, a sculpture of a 12 year old, starved out black boy with a large pair of shining new Nike shoes is watching the well-fed Danes pass buy. The lyrics on the shinning, black granite pedestal, on which the sculpture is placed, says "JUST DO IT" it stands in glaring contrast to the shinning white Nike shoes.

The ebony black boy is created in polished bronze. This piece of art is an almost aesthetic presentation of starvation made buy the Danish sculpture Jens Galschiot. "JUST DO IT" as the sculpture is called, is made to attract attention to the condition of production under which our expensive branded goods are produced in the third world.

Some might find it surprising that the Chamber of Commerce in Odense, in connection to the city's art- and cultural days, are the organization behind the placing of this macabre sculpture in the middle of Odenseīs Main Street. The Nike sculpture is a constituent part of a global campaign about the unreasonable terms of production in the third world. Jens Galschiot who has been working on the Nike sculpture for the last 3 years declares, "Whether the Chamber of Commerce has joined the movement of political consumers is doubtful,"

The sculpture was revealed to the public for the first time on Saturday the 5th of May. City council member Jesper Kinck will hold the varnishing speech. Originally the sculpture should have been finished to the OL in Sidney, where Nike was one of the main sponsors. But since the artist could not make it, the Danes now will be witnessing the starting signal of the campaign.

"With this "JUST DO IT" sculpture, I am trying to make a classification of the branded goods lifestyle commercials, where they, at one side are linking their products with concepts such as freedom and liberty and on the other side, at the same time are performing a massive exploitation and oppression of the workers that make the products", Galschiot pronounces " E.g. one of Nike's many TV commercials run as follows: " There are clubs, you cannot be a member of. Quarters, you cannot live in. Schools, you cannot get in to. But the roads are always open. JUST DO IT!!! That was Nike's revolutionary message to the customers. It was even accompanied by the Beatles song īRevolutionī.

"Nike's JUST DO IT- image became a collection of stories about black sports stars who has done the impossible and broken with race discrimination and disparity. Nike has built their image up around afro-Americans who did some extraordinary and revolutionary. This is a complete unreasonable

Galschiotīs strategy is to use Nike's own advertising methods to create contrastive narrative and imagery, which tells the true story about Nike and other branded goods companies.

The reason to why the artist has chosen to accuse Nike is, among others things, the accusations against this sportswear giant for using violence against workers in Vietnam, arbitrary firings among workers from El Salvador, who are being to indiscreet and salaries on approximately 1 USD a day in several southeast Asian countries. As the leader of the Nike watch-campaign, Tim Connor e.g. expresses: There is no control with the working hours on Nikeīs clothing factories. The Indonesian factory workers, I have met, are working up to 70 hours a week and it is the same in Thailand.


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2001: Just do it - Nike sculpture 2001.05.14: Tore arm of dying boy in the Main Street of Odense. to the English version of this document  to the Danish version of this document  

Additional Information:
Categories: 2001: Just do it - Nike sculpture | Happenings and Art Installations
Themes: Childrenīs rights | Criticism of companies
Sculptures: Walking Woman No. 2 (big)
Type: Press releases
Dates: 2001 | 4th May 2001
Locations: Odense, Denmark
Co-operators and Helpers: Cityforeningen, Odense
Related Persons and Entities: NIKE International