The Big Draw - To Draw is to See at Akershus Art Centre
The exhibition "The Big Draw – To draw is to See" at Akershus Art Centre finally opened last Saturday, with great success! Magnificent art work from the students of the Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHIO) reflecting the problem of political prisoners in Azerbaijan in the Drawing for Freedom project, alongside works of the well known and highly respected artist Filip Markiewicz are now on display at Akershus Art Centre. The exhibition lasts until 16.10.
Drawing for Freedom is a cooperation between the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Academy of Fine Art of the Oslo National Academy of the Arts. The Big Draw is an international annual drawing festival held every October all over the world. The aim of the festival is to explore and discuss the potential which lies within the art as platform for political expressions and activism.
Former political prisoner and human rights defender from Azerbaijan Rasul Jafarov was present at the opening, and it was a touching moment when Jafarov met with the art students who had portrayed him while he was in prison. - When you are in prison, every initiative, big or small, which supports you or your cause, is important. In a situation where the government is trying to break your spirit, moral support from the outside plays a crucial role. It gives you the energy you need to keep up the struggle. This is why this art, and the work that that has been put into it is so important, said Jafarov when visiting the exhibition.
In her thank you speech, Berit Lindeman, Senior Adviser in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, thanked the students of KHIO for their dedication and good work. - I don't think the students really understands how much their work is appreciated by the political prisoners, either still in jail or released. It is extremely important for them, and I want to thank you all for your dedication, said Berit Lindeman.
About the project
The art project ”Drawing for Freedom” is a cooperation between the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Academy of Fine Art of the Oslo National Academy of the Arts. The driving force at KHIO is Professor Jeanette Christensen. The project was initialized by and is coordinated by former NHC employee Anne Marit Austbø.
The thematic focus of the project is political prisoners in Azerbaijan. During the past two years there has been a massive crack-down on human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers and other activists in Azerbaijan, and the country currently holds more than 80 political prisoners.