PRESS: A New Space For Artists At Risk
BY Katrina Kufer
April 5, 2017
The launch of a new kind of global institution for artists under threat
Artists at Risk (AR) is a new organisation for artists facing persecution. A unique format that has been progressively set up in locales across Europe, AR functions as a series of physical safe havens for creative intellectuals. It is an institution in the field of human rights with a visual art scope, as it defines itself, and Perpetuum Mobile (PM), under which AR falls, recently received the Civi Europaeo Praemium (European Citizen’s Prize) for the human rights-cum-arts effort.
Its mission statement reads that AR is “dedicated to mapping the field of persecuted visual art practitioners, facilitating their safe passage from their countries of origin, hosting them at AR-Safe Haven Residencies and curating related projects.” Following in the footsteps of organisations such as PEN, SafeMUSE or Freemus, AR aims to offer resources that go a step further than any previous or similar organisations by partnering with PEN-America (ARCoalition), ICORN (The International Cities of Refuge Network) and sourcing alternative funding.
Its first public call will formally go out on 7 April and, AR states on their website, “rather than asylum seekers or refugees, we welcome AR-Residents as honoured visiting art professionals.” AR aims to both protect those potentially under persecution and act as a launch platform to creative careers. Its residencies have been in place since 2014, with the Helsinki branch winning the Annual Art Act Award in 2016, but this year will see the launch of Safe Haven Residencies in Athens, Berlin and Cambridge with artists selected by the board. The advisory board includes Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot, Hrag Vartanian, editor-in-chief of Hyperallergic.com, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, curator of documenta14, Helge Lunde, executive director of ICORN, and Julie Trebault from Artists at Risk Coalition, PEN America.
The Athens-based event in early April will also include a live political talk show entitled TALK REAL by European Alternatives, and the first AR Pavilion exhibition featuring resident artists curated by Marita Muukkonen and Ivor Stodolsky, co-founding directors of PM.