The project "Art for birds, bumblebees, beetles, worms and mushrooms" by Mats Caldeborg and his wife Katrin Zackrisson Caldeborg has received over SEK 1 million ($110,000) in taxpayers' money in support, the Expressen newspaper reported.
As the title suggests, this art project isn't meant to please man, but rather the animal kingdom. According to the project's annotation, the idea is to turn upside down the human perspective and their understanding of the world.
"Here, the smaller inhabitants of nature are not only the ones depicted but become the recipients of art themselves," the project says.
"Our hope is to reverse the perspective and look at nature in a completely different way, to see them as residents and ourselves as migrants," Caldeborg explained to the Expressen.
Mikael Theorin, operations manager at the Swedish Arts Council, called the project "investigative and exploratory". According to him, its goal is to explore new ways of making art and culture more accessible, by finding other recipients.
Neither Theorin nor the Caldeborgs are sure that the "little spectators" will prove avid connoisseurs. However, the message stands clear: humans are the problem. Caldeborg's main gripe is Christianity and capitalism.
"At all times, art has stood above nature, as a coloniser. Man took what he wanted. Christianity has given man sovereignty over the rest of the creation. Capitalism and social development have, of course, taken from nature what is needed," Caldeborg explained.
Alice Bah Kuhnke, a former culture minister responsible for the allocation of public funds, currently a MEP candidate, referred to her successor and fellow Green Party member Amanda Lind. Lind defended her predecessor, saying "It's important that the content of culture isn't controlled by politicians".
"This is just one in the line of politicised nonsensical projects by the state-sponsored cultural bureaucracy. Both cultural life and taxpayers stand at a loss," journalist Lars Anders Johansson of Timbro magazine reacted.
"So incredibly disrespectful to the taxpayers and to those who need public service," Chrsitian Democrat politician Johan Ingerö tweeted, urging the authorities to stop being liberal with public funds.
Skattepengar till konstutställning för fåglar, insekter och svampar. "Vi ser dem som bofasta och oss som migranter."— Johan Ingerö (@JohanIngero) 6 марта 2019 г.
Så otroligt respektlöst mot skattebetalarna och mot dem som behöver offentlig service. https://t.co/7q0YihqSjj
"It's just to congratulate the Caldeborgs. They have succeeded in something that should be impossible — to accrue over SEK 1 million of taxpayers' money to art for birds, worms, beetles and fungi," Åsa Tallroth of the Citizens' Coalition party tweeted.
Ordinary Swedes, too, were not too enthusiastic over the decision to support cultural entertainment for animals and mushrooms. Many took to social media to voice their indignation over public funds spent arbitrarily.
"The cultural workers have been good at milking the state for grants, so they can exercise their hobbies at Swedish labourers' expense. Is this solidarity, according to the left?" one user inquired.
"You can't even parody something like this," another one replied.
"Have already received over one hundred e-mails after the article about the art project for bugs and fungi. Undoubtedly an engaging project. Most of the reactions are critical, but not all of them," Expressen journalist Niklas Svensson tweeted. To this, one user replied wryly: "Must be some snobby beetle".
Columnist Johannes Klenell of the labour Arbetet newspaper contended that art for worms and birds was "less controversial than political populism", accusing critics of being angled.