A number of Ventspils artists of the «Cow parade» received verbal threats from the organizers of the parade that a part of their royalties will not be paid, or its payment will be delayed, if they do not show up for the opening ceremony and not participate in the official photography event with the Mayor of Ventspils Aivars Lembergs, who is being accused of serious crimes.
Artist Aigars Bikse says that the curator of the event – Raimonds Kalejs – called him up on Monday, June 25. He said that he participated in the meeting, during which Lembergs specifically said that all artists must be present at the event’s opening ceremony and that Kalejs will need to make sure they do.
«Raimonds turned to threats: if you do not participate, then your royalties will not be paid, or they will be delayed,»- the artist said, adding, that was planning on going there anyway because he wants to see how his work looks in the city; however, he is not obligated to show up to any official ceremonies and take pictures. «I looked in my contract, where it is not said that I am obligated to be photographed with anyone. It is absolutely tactless from the standpoint of good organization,»- Bikse expresses his shock.
Kelejs absolutely denies that he pressured artists, by threatening not to pay them parts of their royalties, if they would not show up for the opening ceremony.
«Financial relations with artists are not within my responsibility – how could I pressure them?»- Kalejs is confused. He said that he has known the artist Biksi for several years and he does not understand his heightened response. According to Kalejs, the artist is «making a storm in a teacup», claiming that someone pressured him. Kalejs tried to explain to his old acquaintance that it would be better if he showed up for the opening ceremony, specifically because Bikse has never participated in the «Cow parade» in the past.
The whole conversation of the two about the artist not receiving part of his royalties should be seen as «shaking your finger» to a good friend, but not as some sort of pressure attempt or threat, Kalejs says. He does not eliminate the possibility that the artist took the conversation too seriously. Their dialog concluded with Bikse agreeing to attend the opening ceremony; therefore, Kalejs is surprised that this case is being lifted by the media. If some artist decided not to attend the ceremony, Kalejs could easily present the artist’s work alone.
Bikse mentioned two other of his colleagues, who were forced to cancel their trips to other countries to carry out the demands of the organizers.
An artist, who asked not to mention his name, said that Kalejs called him up and said that if the artist does not attend the ceremony, he will not receive the other half of his royalties. Despite the fact that the artist was planning to be in another country, he attended the «Cow parade» because loosing 100 LVL on airline tickets is cheaper than losing the other half of his royalties. He explained that the other half is expected to be paid after the signing of the taking-over certificate of the work, and the organizers could have, if need be, speculated on the non-signing of the contract.
Ventspils hosts the world famous «Ventspils 2012 Cow parade», which is set to take place in the end of this week, for the second time.