Benjamin Hermansen
SWD 1: Benjamin Hermansen of Oslo, Norway, born 1985, murdered 2001
Art: 2003
Media: Ink, gouache, colored pencil, pencil
Framed, 22.5 in H x 30 W; (56.6 x 75.6 cm)
The framing includes a feather used as source material for the feather depicted in the drawing.

Benjamin Hermansen was a 15 year old Norwegian youth murdered by racist skinheads in Olso inn January 2001 because of his skin color: black. His mother was white Norwegian; his late father from Ghana. I read he had been harassed at a soccer match the year before, which unsettled him. He then joined a group of peers who worked with tolerance education. He was knifed to death by a group of young people of ages late teens to early twenties.

According to press reports, he was very active in sports. He was never outside of Norway.

On completing the drawing, I wrote the Norwegian General Consulate Office in New York for information about his birth date and death. They kindly replied with this information:

“Benjamin Hermansen was born on May 29, 1985. He was killed in a brutal, meaningless act on Friday, January 26, 2001 in a suburb of Oslo called Holmlia. Behind this murder was a group of new Nazi extremists called BootBoys. This cruel act was condemned by the Norwegian parliament, the royal family, as well as Norwegian society in general.”

His murder brings to mind a race hate murder in Britain that caused similar shockwaves, that of Steven Lawrence in London, on 22 April 1993.

A 6 min., 31 sec. video of the drawing I posted on Youtube

nec vulputate, ut nunc at et, libero. venenatis
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