Dears friends and bloggers, next November in London the exhibition “Passion for Freedom” will take place. I am featuring a piece there. It is all explained in the following press release. I will report back after the opening.
IV Passion for Freedom London Festival 2012 presents artists who dare to take action next door to Tate Modern.
For the fourth time the annual festival will take place in Unit24 Gallery in London’s South Bank. Artists from 30 countries around the world have entered their work into the competition this year. During the festival we can see the works of 37 artists from countries spanning the globe including Cuba, Pakistan, China, Poland, Afghanistan, UK, Italy and USA.
‘Artists using mediums such as video, installation, painting and sculpture openly debate issues that are usually swept under the carpet.’ It is important to remember that our society takes freedom for granted. Being interested in ‘the next big thing’ we forget that what we have was fought for and has to be protected.’ – says Agnieszka Kolek, KM Curator.
The exhibition’s message strongly comes across with Sarah Maple’s work “Inaction is a weapon of mass destruction”. Invited to be a Special Guest Artist; Sarah decided to confront the viewer with their own reflection. ‘It is like everyone can be an activist in their everyday lives through small acts.’ – says Sarah.
‘We should have no illusion that Twitter or Facebook will free us.’ –says Marianna Fox, Assistant Curator. ‘On Friday, 9 November there is a special screening of “Ai Weiwei Never Sorry” documentary by Alison Klayman. It shows how even in a global village connected through social media Chinese authorities could persecute the artist by beating him up in secret detention, bulldozing his newly built studio and limiting his access to the outside world. Artists, such as Ai Weiwei pay the highest price for making meaningful art. ’ – comments Marianna.
The Festival does not only promote art dissidents from aboard. ‘There is an eminent danger that our society is censoring itself without obvious totalitarian states imposing laws upon us.’ – says Agnieszka. ‘Many European galleries were afraid to exhibit my installation “PO.Box to Allah” in their spaces. I have never given up hope to make a statement on freedom of religion and freedom of speech wherever on earth people will be.’ – says Johan van der Dong (The Netherlands).
This year’s festival has also seen many artists who want to bear witness to the oppression of others. “Attempted Erasure” from Marina Abramovic’s collaborator John Bonafede (USA) presents documented performance dedicated to Tibetan folks while Liz Gascoigne (UK) video “No Spring without Women” explores Yemeni women’s response to the so called Arab Spring.
A different approach is shown by Al Teleki (Hungary/Austria) in his ready-made installation called “Cyclops”. “I have used a guitar as an allegory. In classic still-lives, they are reference of divine perfection expressed through music. Also, the curved shapes of string instruments are reminiscent of female forms and often inspire and represent sensual or erotic emotions. The depiction of a guitar covered by a niqab addresses the subject of both speech and eroticism of women in Islamic culture. How do the veils of religion affect the most basic human traits such as freedom of speech, sexuality and our relation to society? Do our beliefs enhance our nature, or do otherwise?”- asks Al.
Passion for Freedom is non partisan and voluntary organisation gathering professionals working in arts and media. As individual activists they responded to Maryam Namazie’s “One Law for All” campaign which exposes the discriminatory nature of Sharia tribunals in the UK. As a result the first edition of non-profit London Festival took place in 2009. The annual celebration of Freedom takes place in a spacious, contemporary gallery next to Tate Modern.
The festival aims to attract attention to the importance of freedom for the healthy societies to grow and thrive. ‘We feel disgusted by the treatment of women, whether political opponents like Pussy Riots in Russia or ordinary citizens, doomed to be second class due to their gender or sexuality.’ – says Marianna Fox, Assistant Curator.
Passion for Freedom uses the universal language of art to strengthen timeless values for the benefit of our societies.
See works censored by others shown for the first time in the City of Freedom – London.
Special Artist Guest: Sarah Maple
Shortlisted artists: Hangama Amiri, Osailys Milian Avila, Maureen Bachaus, Eskild Beck, Azadeh Behroozi, Eliza Bennett, Gary Betts, John Bonafede, Elisabeth Sarianne Breuker, Victoria Burgher, An Deceuninck, Fiona Dent, Johan van der Dong, Alice Eikelpoth, Ferri Farahmandi, Luciana Franzolin, Liz Gascoigne, Helen Gorrill, Georges Hala, Paul Harrison, Haleh Jamali & Monica de Ioanni, Joy Johnson, Matthew Lloyd, Peter Leigh, Michael Massaro, Wendy Nelson, Renato Niemis, PACORROSA, Abdullah Qureshi, Ricky Romain, Sausan Saulat, Schgor Francesca, Maria Strzelecka, Stephanie Taugner, Al Teleki, Matylda Tracewska
Exhibition runs: 3 – 10 November
Opening times: Mon – Fri 9 – 6pm Sat 10-2pm
Passion for Freedom