18:04 GMT +305 December 2019
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    A visitor stands in front of giant screens featuring images of the work of Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh during a traveling multimedia art exhibition entitled Van Gogh alive on February 4, 2013

    Swedish Van Gogh Lookalike to Cut off His Ear, Become Bronze Statue

    © AFP 2019 / JACK GUEZ
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    Canadian writer and artist Douglas Coupland, famous for penning "Generation X," has launched a project "Redheads" in search of the best van Gogh doppelganger. The winner is to be treated to a trip to Vancouver and be immortalized in a bronze statue. A Swedish participant has promised to cut off his ear to match the legendary 19th-century artist.

    On the website iamvincent.com, a vote is currently going on to choose the best among the aspiring van Gogh duplicates. At present, Swedish conservative journalist and commentator Ivar Arpi is leading with a wide margin.

    Should he be voted winner, the Conservative Swedish redhead promised to, like his Dutch role model, cut off his ear. The Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, which currently has Arpi as an editorial writer, wished the daredevil the best of luck, but still expressed hope that their colleague returns with both his ears intact.

    ​"My ear is my 'election promise.' Obviously, I will hold fast to the promise. And all the prize money will go to the Swedish healthcare," Arpi told his newspaper.

    By his own admission, Arpi has often been told about the striking resemblance with the world's most renowned post-impressionist painter. Incidentally, Vincent van Gogh was Arpi's favorite artist for many years.

    "If I win, I will travel around with a miniature bust of myself to harvest some cultural capital, a lack of which we editorialists otherwise usually suffer. <…> I will also be able to claim that I am an art project, in case anyone says I've been wrong at some point. Works of art can never be wrong," Arpi said.

    ​With an impressive record of being Svenska Dagbladet's and Göteborgs-Posten's columnist, Ivar Arpi is one of Sweden's most controversial political writers and outspoken civil debaters. His portfolio includes flaming opinion pieces which express scorching criticism of Sweden's migration policy and ridicule the country's notorious tolerance.

    In conclusion, it should be added that the poll is only advisory and non-binding, as best-selling writer Douglas Coupland himself will determine the winner.


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    Douglas Coupland, Vincent van Gogh, Scandinavia, Sweden
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