Censored works shown for the first time in the City of Freedom – London
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 at the Unit24 Gallery on London’s South Bank. Artists from 30 countries around the world have entered their work into the competition this year. During the festival the works of 36 artists will be shown 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 comes across strongly 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 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, artist from Holland.
This year’s festival has got a strong video presence. To highlight a few Liz Gascoigne’s ‘No Spring without Women’ is hypnotic while Paul Harrison’s work “The Sea of Parity”, who graduated only in 2011, leaves the viewer with the strongest image possible.
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 the 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.