From 1 to 7 March 2021, the action week FRI KUNST ("Free Art") – a one-week celebration of artistic freedom – is taking place all over Norway.

Artistic freedom is under increasing pressure, and artists of all disciplines and genres are under threat, being persecuted and censored, prosecuted and imprisoned, harassed and even killed. In Europe this is also a growing problem, with Spain being the country globally imprisoning most musicians – both in 2018 and 2019 (Freemuse: The State of Artistic Freedom).

This year, as last year, we want to focus on the importance of artistic freedom of expression by participating in this needed initiative.

FRI KUNST er et initiativ som inviterer hele kultur-Norge til en markering av kunstnerisk ytringsfrihet. Organisasjoner, kulturaktører, kunstnere og privatpersoner oppfordres til å markere viktigheten av kunstnerisk ytringsfrihet på sitt vis, gjennom arrangementer og spredning av markeringen gjennom sine respektive kanaler og sosiale medier.

FRI KUNST is an initiative that invites the whole of cultural Norway to a celebration of artistic freedom of expression. Organizations, cultural actors, artists and individuals are encouraged to highlight the importance of artistic freedom of expression in their own way, through events and the dissemination of the celebration through their respective channels and social media.

FRI KUNST is initiated and coordinated by Safemuse in collaboration with 70 supporters from Norwegian art and cultural life.

About not leaving reality in peace. A text by Eivind Haugland

During the last couple of years, it has become obvious how the poetry and uniqueness of art disappear when the media reads it too literally. A tendency is to ridicule or attack art by taking the elements out of their context and reducing them to their simpler expression, to a mere description. Furthermore, these simplified narratives can be power tools in the public debate about art.

We invited Eivind Haugland, who works as a dramaturg at Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, to reflect upon these issues from his position of being Norwegian and living and working in Germany. In a time when artistic freedom is under pressure, we would like to investigate the value of art as a space of fiction. How do we differentiate fiction and reality, poetic spaces and space for interpretation? Haugland starts the text in the covid-19 lockdown in Germany and Norway, and writes about how stories about the arts are dealt with in the media and in the cultural institutions themselves. About not leaving reality in peace is a text commissioned for Black Box teater publication 6.

The text was written Fall 2020.

Click here to read the text.

What thoughts did the artists at Oslo Internasjonale Teaterfestival 2020 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 also released in Black Box teater Publication 5, emphasizing the importance of artistic freedom and the fact that we cannot take this freedom for granted.

Click here to read the interviews about artistic freedom!