Isis Threaten Sylvania: Banned from Passion for Freedom Exhibition.
Isis Threaten Sylvania by the artist Mimsy is removed from Passion for Freedom exhibition at London’s Mall Galleries, after police raise security concerns. Below, Guardian critic Jonathan Jones reviews the artwork.
Isis Threaten Sylvania is a series of seven satirical light box tableaux featuring the children’s toys Sylvanian Families. It was removed from the Passion for Freedomexhibition at the Mall galleries after police raised concerns about the “potentially inflammatory content” of the work, informing the organisers that, if they went ahead with their plans to display it, they would have to pay £36,000 for security for the six-day show.
In Isis Threaten Sylvania, rabbits, mice and hedgehogs go about their daily life, sunning themselves on a beach, drinking at a beer festival or simply watching television, while the menacing figures of armed jihadis lurk in the background. “Far away, in the land of Sylvania, rabbits, foxes, hedgehogs, mice and all woodland animals have overcome their differences to live in harmonious peace and tranquility. Until Now,” reads the catalogue note. “MICE-IS, a fundamentalist Islamic terror group, are threatening to dominate Sylvania, and annihilate every species that does not submit to their hardline version of sharia law.
The Metro says,
The controversial piece shows loveable hedgehogs, rabbits, and mice living their everyday life in the fictional land of Sylvania – all while ISIS militants are seen lurking in the background.
A description for the piece in the exhibition catalogue reads: ‘Far away, in the land of Sylvania, rabbits, foxes, hedgehogs, mice and all woodland animals have overcome their differences to live in harmonious peace and tranquillity.
‘MICE-IS, a fundamentalist Islamic terror group, are threatening to dominate Sylvania, and annihilate every species that does not submit to their hard-line version of sharia law.’
The artwork was created by London based artist Mimsy, who reacted angrily to suggestions that her piece was not ‘real art’.
I love my freedom’, she said.
‘I’m aware of the very real threat to that freedom from Islamic fascism and I’m not going to pander to them or justify it like many people on the left are doing.
Explaining the police decision, a gallery spokeswoman said: ‘Mall galleries was approached by Westminster Police who expressed concern about the potential risks of including Mimsy’s work.
They made it clear there would be an additional policing cost if the work was included in the exhibition and indicated this cost would be passed on either to the artist or to the exhibition organiser.’
Background to the pictures (Metro March 2015).
All is not well in Sylvania…
An artist going by the name Mimsy has created a scathing satire of ISIS, and the west’s reaction to the terrorist group, using Sylvanian Family dolls.
The project, which is called MICIS, comprises of two images depicting the happy, care-free world of Sylvania, with threatening figures clad in black clothes and carrying guns and ISIS flags, lurking in the background.
Talking exclusively to, Mimsy explained what motivated her to create this project: ‘I was inspired by the theocratic barbarism of ISIS, the obvious fear of terrorism in the west, and the neo-liberal denial of any actual threat.’
Mimsy then went on the tell us why she chose to express these views with Sylvanian Family dolls.
She told us: ‘I played with Sylvanian Families frequently as a child of the early 90s, and for some reason thought they were the perfect depiction of innocence.’
She went on: ‘there is also a one-dimensional childish element to the image that perfectly summarises the mentality of religious fundamentalists. They are blowing themselves up and murdering for a cause that is as so flat, thin and childish, it may as well be depicted as if it were a toy set in an ARGOS catalogue.’
As the staff of Charlie Hebdo learnt in the most horrific of way, religious fundamentalists don’t like satire. So it’s hardly surprising Mimsy has decided to remain anonymous.
When asked to give us more information about herself, the artist simply said: ‘I’m a person who loves the free world, loves democracy (with all it’s flaws) and most of all loves satire.’
We love the Sylvanians.
We love you Mimsy.
Shame on the Censors!