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Wladimir Herman


My linguistic and cultural background makes me slightly different than most Danes. But basically the feeling of being a foreigner has something to do with persecution and discrimination, and I am not exposed to any of that.

Interesting art builds on political or psychological confrontation. In communist Poland, where I grew up, art was a protesting art, often in opposition to the system, all whilst in Denmark in the early ‘70s it was primarily entertaining. There were no major problems, and art had no obvious battlefields it could engage on. If you have nothing to fight for, you risk becoming lazy. The battle that has kept me from becoming lazy is a psychological battle revolving around identity issues, sparked off by my flight to Denmark. Am I a Pole, a Polish Jew, a Danish Jew, a Dane? Also today’s refugee situation is associated with dilemmas which art can explore.

A crucial question is for example if we in Denmark should help the really needy, or if we should prioritise maintaining the welfare society we have built over so many years? I believe that we should help, but still keep an eye on the proportions. Denmark is a small country as far as culture and language is concerned, so we should take care of it. I once organised a number of performances and debates focusing on these issues. My goodness, it certainly struck a chord. The positive and friendly confrontation is essential in art and in society. It contributes to mutual understanding and clears the air.

79 years / male / in a relationship / historian and director / Østerbro / from Poland / came to Denmark in 1970 / residence permit same year

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