The Russian graffiti group named “Voina” (War) received a prize for “innovation” in the visual art category sponsored by the Russian Culture Ministry for painting a penis on a drawbridge in St. Petersburg.
Two members of the group–Leonid Nikolayev and Oleg Vorotnikov– were arrested for a stunt last September (they overturned several police cars in a protest called Palace Revolution) and have spent four months in prison awaiting trial. The activists were recently released, thanks to 300,000 rubles ($10,000) each, paid by world’s best known graffiti artist, Banksy, from Britain.
After a press conference where they spoke of what they went through in prison, Oleg’s vehicle–which was also occupied by hiswife and 2-year old son–was followed by “thug-looking” men. When his wife tried to snap some pics of them, they tried to snatch the camera away. Her and Oleg were roughed up and their son, Casper, had his face smack into a wall as his pram was violently pushed.
Charges against the two men still stand and there is a chance they may be locked up again and forced to go through psychiatric testing.