Human Rights

ArtsEverywhere acknowledges that when artists work towards social justice and defend human rights they often face censorship, violence, imprisonment and/or displacement. The Artist Rights line of inquiry offers international perspectives on freedom of artistic expression and resources for artists at risk.

Potatoes or Rice?


The first piece in our Polity of Literature series: “Dehumanized, often by the state, no one simply stops being human—they find profane sites for their humanity, a realm for their politics that their enemies cannot destroy. Often it’s in their religion, their family, gangs, a neighborhood, or a declaration of...

Curse of Geography: Boriquén

Karla Claudio-Betancourt, Santurce, Puerto Rico 
Esteban Figueroa, Puerta de Tierra, Puerto Rico 
Sidd Joag, New York City, United States 

Text: Sidd Joag Video editing and camera: Karla Claudio-Betancourt Producer and director of video: Esteban Figueroa Additional footage: Saul Betancourt, Julio Fernandez A massive colonial figure made of steel and concrete lies twisted on its side, on a traffic island in the middle of a roundabout in Caguas. “It looks...

Safeguarding the Daring Voice

Sidd Joag, New York City, United States 

In this time of blurred lines, several organisations around the world do wonderful work to combat censorship, enhance artistic freedom, and support artists in danger. Discover some of the extraordinary stories on the topic in this publication on art and freedom of expression. The text combines the voices of courageous...

Art, Freedom, and the Politics of Social Justice

Sam Durant, Los Angeles, United States 
Noelle Garcia, Chicago, United States 
Hou Hanru, Rome, Italy, Paris, France and San Francisco, United States 
Oleg Mavromatti, Bulgaria / New York 
Alan Michelson, New York, United States 
National Coalition Against Censorship, New York, United States 
Karyn Olivier, Philadelphia, United States 
Vanessa Place, Los Angeles and New York, United States 
Boryana Rossa, Syracuse, United States 
Dexter Wimberly, New York City, United States 

Artist Safety / Safe Haven Hosting

Diana Ramarohetra, Cape Town, South Africa 
Fatemeh Ekhtesari, Lillehammer, Norway 
Laurence Cuny, Dieulefit, France / Valencia, Spain 
Nforchu Mabelle Ngum, Yaounde, Cameroon 
Sebastien Sanz Santamaria, New York City, United States 
Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury, Norway 
David Maggs, Woody Point, Canada 
Małgorzata Różańska, Krakow, Poland 
Julie Trébault, New York City, United States 
Khaled Barakeh, Berlin, Germany 
Abazar Hamid, Harstad, Norway 
Basma El Husseiny, Beirut, Lebanon 
Manojna Yeluri, Hyderabad, India 
Ashley Tucker, New York City, United States 
Ivor Stodolsky & Marita Muukkonen, Helsinki, Finland / Berlin, Germany 

This roundtable is the second in a series of roundtables convened by Residency Unlimited. The concept and leading question were defined by Todd Lanier Lester and Lalita Salander. Lalita Salander convened the roundtable. To read the responses to the first question in the series, click here.

The Beatles of Sudan: 200 songs banished from Khartoum to Norway

Ray Mwareya, Harare, Zimbabwe 

Abazar Hamid’s soft-molded voice offers little about a man whose 200 songs has earned him brutal expulsion from the oil-rich African state of Sudan when his lyrics angered Mr. Omar Al Bashir, the world’s first sitting president to be indicted for genocide. “I’m Abazar Hamid, 44, from central Sudan, 200...

Artistic Freedom of Expression in Turkey: State of Emergency

ArtsEverywhere Report,  

This report has been translated as part of the Sivil Düşün EU Programme, with the support of the European Union. The contents of this report can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union. This report has been written with the aim of investigating and documenting...

Open Casket

Sarah Schulman, New York City, United States 

Controversy engulfed the Whitney Biennial recently over the inclusion of Dana Schutz’s “Open Casket”, an abstract painting that depicts the violently mutilated body of Emmett Till who was murdered by two white men in Mississippi in 1955 after he was falsely accused of whistling at a white woman, Carolyn Bryant. On April 10,...

Qalandiya International — A Palestinian Biennial

Gian Spina, Cairo, Egypt 

the dove’s collar a star abandoned on the roof and a winding alley leading to the port This sea is mine This sea air is mine —Mahmoud Darwish1In Palestine, the impossibility of artistic freedom and the denial of freedom to move within one’s own country conspire as an everyday reality....

The Communicative Ecology of Artist Rights

Sidd Joag, New York City, United States 

Even as the relationship between the fields of arts, culture and human rights becomes more defined, the global community of organizations, networks and civil society initiatives working at that intersection, advocating for artists and defending free expression remains a relatively small, tight-knit group. However, despite existing connectivity, there is a...

Relocating: Emad Tayefeh

Sidd Joag, New York City, United States 

It cost Emad Tayefeh $10,000 to bribe Iranian border guards for safe passage to Turkey, $2,500 of which was financed by the advocacy organization Freedom House. While living as a refugee in Istanbul he paid $4,700 for rent, $3,000 for food, and $600 for local transportation over the course of...

Honduras: The Habit of Silence—A Graphic Novel

German Andino, Bilbao, Spain 

Script & Ink: German Andino Introduction Script: Alberto Arce Translation: Andrew Hart *Click on arrows or drag/swipe images to navigate. About German Andino German Andino was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, in 1984. He is a man of the streets. But his story, in the streets, is not one...

Rejecting the Tragedy of Violence

Arahmaiani, Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia 

That afternoon, surrounding the Tugu monument in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, a group of people could be seen carrying banners, chanting in a loud and menacing tone. They wore masculine-looking clothes: army camouflage jackets and Middle Eastern headwear. This group of young men had an unfriendly appearance, and looked as if they...

Embed in Egypt

Jakob Sergei Weitz, New York City, United States 

Emine Gozde Sevim is a Turkish photographer who lived in Egypt from 2011 to 2013, during the revolution to overthrow former President Hosni Mubarak and the tumultuous years that followed. Her photos capture the personal stories and memories that make up the complex lives of the people that lived through...

The Cost of Telling the Truth

Sidd Joag, New York City, United States 

After living in hiding for six years in the United States, journalist C.M. Rien Kuntari is ready to go home. “I don’t want to live the rest of my life as a prisoner or as a political asylee. I want to go home as a free person,” she says. Since...

Art, Ethnography, and Exorcism in El Barrio

Sidd Joag, New York City, United States 

This past July, I traveled with a journalist, German Andino, and the subject of his new graphic novel, Pastor Daniel Pacheco. We visited Rivera Hernandez, a colony of 59 barrios located on the outskirts of San Pedro Sula and, statistically, one of the most violent urban areas in the world....

‘Beirut Mutations’

Samer Mohdad, Beirut, Lebanon 

When popular uprisings were taking place in the countries bordering Lebanon, my book and subsequent exhibition project Beirut Mutations were only just starting to take shape. While many around the world were observing the unfolding developments with hope, I had the feeling that what other Arab countries were experiencing had...

Forced to Flee

Sidd Joag, New York City, United States 

The summer of 2007 was the first time I visited Ruili City, a dusty port town located in a tight corner on the China-Burma border in Yunnan province. At the time, Ruili was China’s dirty little secret. Colloquially referred to as the ‘Las Vegas of China,’ it was the primary...

The “Depths:” Visual Culture in the Murder Capital of the World

Sidd Joag, New York City, United States 

It is widely held that Honduras acquired its name from Christopher Columbus, who upon surviving a tropical storm off the Caribbean coast allegedly commented, “Gracia a Dios que hemos salido de estas Honduras,” or “Thank God we survived those treacherous depths.” Strategically located on the Caribbean between the Mosquito Coast...

Looking Back on Charlie Hebdo

Todd Lanier Lester, São Paulo, Brazil 

The day following the Charlie Hebdo attack, I was in line at a public notary office in São Paulo. The local news televised footage of the massacre, relayed on a flat screen meant to placate those of us waiting for an official stamp on this or that official document. My...

Analyzing the Art of Resistance

Mary Ann DeVlieg, New York City, United States 

A theatre director is beaten and stabbed to death in front of his apartment. Another is shot to death in front of his wife and child. A filmmaker is kidnapped, his fingers cut off, and he’s left to bleed along the roadside. A radio DJ wakes to see his car...

Street Art Illuminates Egypt’s Lingering Problems

Sarah Lipkis, New York City, United States 

Under former President Hosni Mubarak, street art in Egypt was heavily monitored. The threat of punishment, prison sentences, and fines, coupled with ubiquitous police presence, made it nearly impossible for artists to carry out their craft as forbidden by the regime. The January 2011 protests in Tahrir Square, however, gave...

Human Rights, Development, and Democracy in Africa: What Role for the Arts?

Mike Van Graan, Cape Town, South Africa 

This is a repost of an article that first appeared on African Futures  In the past 10 to 15 years, a number of African countries have seen sustained and high economic growth, yet this has not lifted the continent’s inhabitants out of poverty. While poverty has been massively reduced in...

The Gezi Park Experience

Pelin Tan, Istanbul, Turkey 

GEZI PARK—Before the Turkish government brutally invaded Taksim Square and Gezi Park with water cannons and tear gas last Saturday, protesters held forums to discuss sustainable action that would continue the resistance beyond the park’s occupation. The Gezi Park experience is about collaboration, solidarity despite differences, voluntary shared labor, an...

Dissident Artists Matter, Regardless of Their Fame

Sidd Joag, New York City, United States 

Often when I explain what we do at freeDimensional, I am met with some version of, “So like that Chinese artist, what was his name…yes, Ai Weiwei. So like him, you work with artists like him?” To which I often want to respond, “NO! Not Ai Weiwei, every other artist...