Artistic Freedom at risk
Artistic freedom is increasingly at risk and threatened around the world. We cannot accept that politicians who disagree with the message, the means or form of the art, put artists and artistic institutions under pressure. Governments are not meant to override independent artistic decisions.
Attacking artists and art institutions has become a familiar pattern in several countries. Core democratic principles are in danger that may threaten artistic expression, and artistic freedom is under increasing pressure all over the world. We stand united to ensure that artists and institutions – in all countries – are able to create and practice their art freely without suffering threats and persecution. This is a basic right and a prerequisite for a free and democratic society.
The FRI KUNST network
FRI KUNST (Artistic Freedom) is a network of artists, institutions and organizations within arts and culture. SafeMUSE are partnering up with Freemuse, NOKU – Norwegian Culture Forum, NTO – Association of Norwegian Theatres and Orchestras and a long list of Norwegian artists associations, arts organizations and institutions.
The goals of FRI KUNST are
- To work towards increased awareness and consciousness in society to safeguard artistic freedom.
- To safeguard artistic autonomy – through defense of the arm’s length principle in public management of arts and culture.
- To act promptly and in solidarity when artists are victim to censorship, persecution and harassment.
FRI KUNST was marked through an action week between 2–8 March 2020, taking place all over Norway. A new edition of FRI KUNST will take place in March 2021.
What thoughts do the artists at Oslo Internasjonale Teaterfestival have of artistic freedom?
During Oslo Internasjonale Teaterfestival 2020, we marked the action week FRI KUNST by collecting and sharing the participating artists’ viewpoints on what artistic freedom means to them. The respective points of view were published online during and after the festival. The full collection of texts was be released in Black Box teater Publication 5, emphasizing the importance of artistic freedom and the fact that we cannot take this freedom for granted.
Reflections in the aftermath of Ways of Seeing
In Norway, artistic freedom has recently been up to debate, with several cases where artists have been met with threats and accusations. With the performance Ways of Seeing, created by Pia Maria Roll, Sara Baban and Hanan Benammar, and which premiered at Black Box teater during the fall 2018, we experienced that the distance between free democracy and censorship can become very short.