Drawing for Freedom exhibits at Defenders’s Days
Our magnificent collection of art works in the exhibition we have called “Drawing for Freedom” this week exhibits at Defenders’ Days in Stockholm. The artworks, conceived by art students from the Academy of Fine Art of the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, depict current and former political prisoners in Azerbaijan. We are very happy that newly released human rights defenders Anar Mammadli, Rasul Jafarov for the first time could see the works depicting themselves. Main illustration: Rasul Jafarov, Anar Mammadli, freed human rights defenders, and the son of imprisoned human rights lawyer Intigam Aliyev, Necmin Kamil, in front of the exhibition.
The art project ”Drawing for Freedom” is a cooperation between the Norwegian human rights organization the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and tThe art project ”Drawing for Freedom” is a cooperation between the Norwegian human rights organization the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Academy of Fine Art of the Oslo National Academy of the Arts. The projects driving force at KHIO is former Professor Jeanette Christensen. The project was initiated by and former NHC employee Anne Marit Austbø. Anne Marit and Jeanette were in Stockholm to mount and present the exhibition.
The thematic focus of the project is political prisoners in Azerbaijan. During the past two years there has been a mas
sive crack-down on human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers and other activists in Azerbaijan, and the country currently holds more than 80 political prisoners. See updated list of political prisoners here.
”Drawing for Freedom” aims at contributing to increased awareness and action to free these prisoners, as well as to convey a message of solidarity. The project is based on the notion that to draw is to see, and is inspired by ”Art for Democracy”, an initiative established in 2012 by Rasul Jafarov, a human rights activist who was jailed in 2014, and was released in a general amnesty in March 2016.
Some 20 art students and three Norwegian artists are involved in the project. The works presented here have been produced in September- November 2015 after the artists and students involved met with activists from Azerbaijan, including a former political prisoner and the relative of two of the political prisoners.
”Drawing for Freedom” will tour several European cities before a final exhibition at Akershus Art Centre, Oslo. Norway in September – October 2016.
The art students from KHIO who participated with works in Stockholm were: Linnea Vestre, Suzannah Rehell Øistad, Anna Sofie Mathiasen, Lykourgos Porfyris, Erle Saxegaard, Therese Frisk, Morten Jensen Vågen, Julia Alfe Bylund, Øyvor Hansen Engen, Elisabeth Samstad, Amanda Hårsmar, Hans Adell and Aksel Octavius Norreen Hauklien. Artists: Terje Nicolaisen and Anne Marit Austbø.
Defenders’ Days – Empowering Human Rights Defenders at Risk – is organized by Swedish Civil Rights Defenders annually. This year, 160 human rights defenders from 35 countries, alongside leading human rights experts from all over the world are gathered in Stockholm. The four day long conference includes both inspirational sessions and social events, giving all the participants the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and skills as well as to broaden their network of colleagues.
On the 7th of April one prominent human rights defender will be awarded with the Civil Rights Defender of the Year Award.