News-in-Transition

Tuesday, 3 September 2014

An art installation from 2012 edition of the Sao Paulo Biennial. (Photo: AFP)

An art installation from 2012 edition of the Sao Paulo Biennial. (Photo: AFP)

Over 60 artists signed a letter on August 28 to have Israel "clearly disassociated" from the Sao Paulo Biennial, one of the biggest art events in Latin America.

In an open letter addressed this Wednesday to the to the Biennial Foundation of Sao Paulo, in charge of organizing the international event, the 61 artists that co-signed the document suggested that by accepting Israel's funds they were indirectly supporting the violent and disproportionate Israeli attacks on Gaza.

The foundation immediately accepted the artists request and returned the US$40,000 that Israel had channeled for the event and removed the Israeli consulate logo from press materials.

“At a time in which the people of Gaza return to the rubble of their homes, destroyed by the Israeli military, we do not feel it is acceptable to receive Israeli cultural sponsorship," the artists wrote. "In accepting this funding our artistic work displayed in the exhibition is undermined and implicitly used for whitewashing Israel’s ongoing aggressions and violation of international law and human rights."

They also wrote that, "We reject Israel’s attempt to normalise itself within the context of a major international cultural event in Brazil.”

Soon, the entire curatorial team joined the artists on their plea with a letter of their own,

“We believe that the statement and demand by the artists should also be a trigger to think about the funding sources of major cultural events. In the 31st Biennial, much of the work seeks to show that struggles for justice in Brazil, Latin America and elsewhere in the world are connected,” the curators wrote.

After a weekend of negotiations, the Sao Paulo Foundation agreed to remove the Israeli embassy logo from all press materials, although it will still appear with documents “related to those Israeli artists who received that specific financial support.”

The organization issued its own statement recognizing that “the struggle for self-determination of the Palestinian people is reflected in the work of many artists and participants in this Biennial that are involved with human rights and people’s struggles worldwide, including Brazil. The oppression of one concerns that of all.”

Source: Telesur

 

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