Another Norwegian politician was being portrayed in a highly unflattering manner on a street corner in Bergen this week. Culture Minister Trine Skei Grande could be seen smiling but literally with her pants down, on the very same corner where her former government colleague Sylvi Listhaug was portrayed naked and nailed to cross during the Easter holidays.
Grande, the leader of the Liberal Party who became Norway’s culture minister in January, was in Bergen on Wednesday to open both a digital conference and the West Coast city’s annual arts festival. She ended up getting lots of attention for entirely different reasons.
Newspaper Bergens Tidende reported early Wednesday morning that new street art featuring Grande had appeared during the night. It’s by a different artist than the one who painted Listhaug’s crucifixion in April. It disappeared the next day, since it hadn’t been painted directly on the wall, only to later re-emerge and be sold by local students who snatched it.
The new street art didn’t last long either, before it was vandalized within hours of its placement, in an apparent effort to make Grande unrecognizable. It bore the signature Trøbbel (Trouble), who featured it on the artist’s own social media site.
Click here to Bergens Tidende’s coverage, which shows depictions of the street art both before and after the vandalism (external link, in Norwegian).
The unflattering portrayal of Grande was likely a reference to a scandal that emerged around her earlier this year, when it became known that she’d engaged in outdoor sex several years ago with a 17-year-old boy during the wedding of another politician, Ola Borten Moe of the Center Party. Grande was 38 at the time, and news of the escapade broke during the height of the international MeToo campaign against sexual harassment.
Grande has mostly refused to comment on the incident, other than to tell newspaper Aftenposten that “I’m no abuser.” The outdoor sex in 2008 has been characterized as consensual.
Bergens Tidende and other Norwegian media reported that Grande was refusing to comment on the street artist’s depiction of her as well, nor would staffers at the ministry.