The Minister of Culture defended the annual Artist’s Salaries in parliament yesterday citing the importance art has on Icelandic society, reports RÚV.
Artist’s Salaries are state stipends given to artists in Iceland who apply for financial support to pursue their work, be it writers, artists, musicians etc.
Yesterday, Artist’s Salaries were under attack by MP Ásmundur Friðriksson, known for the controversial statements he made last year regarding the personal privacy of Muslims living in Iceland.
“It is normal that the nation discusses how the Artist’s Salaries are divvied up,” said Ásmundur. “In the discourse there has even been talk of a writer who has accepted Artist’s Salaries for nine years but only published one book in that time.”
The Minister of Culture, Illugi Gunnarsson, countered that the grants given to artists were crucial, economically impactful, and a way to protect the Icelandic language.
“The arts are dead serious,” said Illugi. “The arts are incredibly important and empower us as a nation. I look at it this way, when we support artists and the arts in general we are also investing in our society and I, as a right winger am prepared to stand by the government investing in this way because I believe that it makes it easier to open our society.”