Press release of May 15

Author of Pillar of Shame
Banned in Chiapas, Mexico
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The controversial Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot who has been detained in Chiapas for setting up an 8 metres high sculpture titled the Pillar of Shame was summoned on Friday for a three hours interrogatory to explain his activities in Mexico. "The authorities requested for details on my contacts with Mexican individuals and organisations, how the sculpture had entered the country and who had helped me", Jens Galschiot said. The artist had become assistance of the first secretary of the Danish Embassy who has had to interrupt his participation in an EU delegation that happened to be in San Cristóbal at the moment.

The record of the prolonged interrogation was sent directly to the central authorities in Mexico City. A few hours later the office in San Cristóbal received the order to draw back Jens Galschiot’s three months visa and to tell the artist to leave Mexico no later than 19 May.

"What I have received is not a formal expulsion that would have unabled my return to Mexico for the next two years. I think the Mexican authorities have taken a rather moderate stance, due to the comprehensive media coverage caused by the mounting of the Pillar, and probably also because the Danish embassy has been involved. However, I can hardly understand the order to leave the country otherwise, than that I have been declared ‘persona non grata’ by the Mexican authorities - for the mere act of assisting indigenous peoples’ organisations in setting up the Pillar of Shame with the aim of highlighting the encroachment on defenceless civilians"- the artist declares and continues: "I had considered a prolongation of my stay to take part in a solemn ceremony on 22 May in Acteal. The event has been planned by the inhabitants and their vicar to take place around the Pillar of Shame to commemorate the 45 martyrs who were killed by paramilitary groups in one of the most outrageous massacres in the recent history of Mexico."

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