|ARTISTS OFFICIAL SELECTION||BOOKS||FILMS||JOURNALISTS|
|SELECTION PANEL||SPECIAL GUESTS ARTISTS||HEROES|
EVENT 21–26 SEPTEMBER 2015
London celebrates 7th Annual Passion For Freedom Art Festival
●Nine months on from the tragic shootings at Charlie Hebdo, the art community come together
in London to celebrate freedom
●Organisers reflect on a difficult year for free speech and art which has seen an additional 14
journalists and bloggers killed on top of the 12 Paris murders
●12 films, 6 books and 6 journalists to be featured along with over 75 artworks from all over the
London, 3rd September 2015:
The globally renowned Passion For Freedom art festival will open in London on Monday 21st
September at its new home in the Mall Galleries. The exhibition will showcase
uncensored art from the UK, Europe and around the world which aims to promote human rights,
highlight injustice and celebrate artistic freedom of expression.
This year is especially personal for Director Marianna Fox and curator Agnieszka Kolek,
who weredue to present in Copenhagen at the Krudttønden café on 14th February
just before shooting started:
“For me, art is truly a barometer of freedom. Being in that café, hearing the shots,
it became clear to me: stopping debate and ideas is the aim.
So, even though Finn Nørgaard was tragically killed, we stayed and made our presentation and had our discussion.
We did not let it stop us.”
The festival also involves an open art competition which invites artists to consider
three questions, the Passion For Freedom 3 (PFF3):
●What is freedom?
●How easy is it to lose?
●How hard is it to get back?
“Every day around the world, artists risk their lives for freedom of expression.
Many of the artists we feature are in hiding, in jail, or are forced to create their work under a pseudonym to protect themselves and their families.
They bravely continue to produce works of art that challenge us despite
Passion For Freedom was started in London by a small group of friends who shared a goal of
achieving basic human rights for every person in the world and decided to use art as both their
weapon and their shield. Predominantly young women, they also seek to highlight
the hypocrisy in the West when it comes to the female body.
Festival co-founder Camilla Forest commented:
“Facebook will censor a woman’s nipples but they show videos of shootings
and beheadings? This type of double standard shows how important it is
we never become complacent. Freedom can become an illusion very quickly,
especially if we take it for granted.” Over seven years the festival has shown works
from over 600 artists representing 56 countries.
This year at the festival there will be collection of 12 films,
6 books, 6 journalists and around 75 artworks from all over the world. Every year there is a Gala Ceremony which will this year close out the event.
Three artists will be nominated for General Awards and three films will receive
Freedom Film Awards. The audience will vote for their favourite piece of art
for the People’s Choice Freedom Award during the Gala Ceremony.
The festival has received support from world famous artists such as
Ai Weiwei, Mehdi-Georges Lahlou and Iranian director Jafar Panahi.
For more information please contact:
Natalie Kelley Blackhurst
07779 159 323
●Mona Eltahawy, Egypt, USA
Mona Eltahawy is a freelance Egyptian-American journalist and commentator based in New York
City. Arrested in 2011 in Tahrir Square, Eltahawy speaks out on behalf of women’s rights in the
Arab world. Her first book Headscarves and Hymens was published in May 2015.
She has written essays and op-eds for publications worldwide including The Washington Post,
The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, and The Miami Herald.
Raif Badawi, Saudi Arabia
●Masoumeh Alinejad, Iran/UK
Masoumeh Alinejad-Ghomi is an Iranian journalist and writer who now lives in exile in the UK.
In 2014, Alinejad launched My Stealthy Freedom (also known as Stealthy Freedoms of Iranian
Women), a Facebook page that invites Iranian women to post pictures of themselves without a
hijab. She received the Women’s Rights Award in 2015 from the Geneva Summit for Human
Rights and Democracy. Her Persian language book, I am Free, which deals with women in Iran,
was published in Germany due to a ban imposed in Iran.
●Washiqur Rahman, Bangladesh
Blogger Washiqur Rahman was killed due to anti-Islamic blog articles on 30th March 2015.
The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a press release stating
that Rahman’s death occurred in a climate of “official harassment of journalists in Bangladesh”.
Imran H Sarker, a leader in the 2013 Shahbag protests and the head of an activist blogger network,
commented “open-minded and progressive bloggers are being targeted in general.
They are killing those who are easy to access …
The main attempt is to create fear among bloggers.”
The recent murder of blogger Niloy Chatterjee underlines the threat to free speech in Bangladesh.
●Arvijit Roy, Bangladesh
Avijit Roy was a Bangladeshi-American online activist, writer and blogger.
He founded Mukto-Mona (freethinkers), an Internet community for freethinkers,
skeptics and atheists. The site was nominated for The Bobs
– awards which celebrate online activism. His aim was to build a society unbound by the dictates
of arbitrary authority, comfortable superstition and stifling tradition
but rather reason, equality and science.
Roy worked not only in Bangladesh but internationally coordinating
international protests against government censorship. He was hacked to death by
unknown assailants in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 26 February 2015.
●Zvi Yehezkeli, Israel
Zvi is head of the Arab desk at Israeli News Channel 10. In 2010,
he challenged President Mahmoud Abbas to appear on Channel 10
to respond to allegations that several of his senior aides have international aid transferred
to the Palestinian Authority – Mahmoud has yet to accept the invitation.
In 2012, Allah Islam, a documentary series Yehezkeli created with David Deri,
debuted to great acclaim on Channel 10.
SPECIAL GUEST ARTISTS 2015:
●Kubra Khademi, Afganistan
Khademi is an artist who has highlighted the problems of sexual harassment
faced by women every day by dressing in a metal suit which features exaggerated
breasts and buttocks. She has faced death threats and is currently in hiding.
●Atena Farghadani, Islamic Republic of Iran
Just 29, Farghadani is currently being kept in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison
facing charges of “insulting members of parliament through paintings”.
She drew a cartoon depicting Iranian politicians as animals as a result of meeting
with the families of political prisoners of the state.
Amnesty International describes her as a prisoner of conscience.
●Jamie McCartney, United Kingdom
The Great Wall of Vagina typifies the sincerity Jamie brings to his sociopolitical artworks but
also the humour he uses to get past people’s natural reservations to engage with tricky or
embarrassing subjects. Comprising plaster casts of 400 women’s vaginas, this 8m long wall
sculpture is a direct challenge to the cosmetic surgery industry and to labiaplasty in particular. It
demonstrates and celebrates the diversity of this part of the body which is the source of many
of our worst insults. Knowledge about our bodies leads to understanding and respecting them.
Freedom from anxiety, about vaginas and our whole bodies, is the goal.
●Jessica Fulford-Dobson, United Kingdom
In late 2012, Jessica Fulford-Dobson stumbled across a small newspaper article about
Skateistan (an NGO formed in 2007) in Afghanistan. She thought it was a shame that such a
unique, visually striking and uplifting story was compressed into a small column of text.
Jessica captured this wonderful world which encourages young girls from poor
and displaced families back into full-time education through skateboarding.
The result is a collection of photographs of young girls doing something exceptional
in a beautiful, albeit war-torn, country. She hopes raise publicity with this genuinely
positive story about Afghanistan through these photographs,
therefore generating more support for Skateistan.
●MIMSY, United Kingdom
Who’d have thought the small and furry Sylvanian Families would find themselves
dragged into the war on terror? The anthropomorphised children’s toys find their
idyllic picnic scene is interrupted by “MICE-IS”, a group of radicalised jihadi Sylvanians,
brandishing rifles and knives.
Passion for Freedom with Mall Galleries
Mall Galleries is a major contemporary gallery space in the heart of Central London,
championing the work of new and established artists.
For over 40 years Mall Galleries has played a crucial role in diversifying the practice of figurative art,
exploring its boundaries while promoting, inspiring and
educating audiences with new exhibitions and interpretations of the contemporary world.
Mall Galleries is operated by the Federation of British Artists,
a major visual arts charity established in 1961.
Passion for Freedom (PFF) is a non-governmental,
voluntary-based organisation that promotes human rights and freedom of expression through art.
PFF was started in London in 2007 by a small
group of friends, mainly women, and is today supported by a huge international network of artists,
activists, journalists and professionals. Each year we ask contributing artists,
film producers, writers and journalists 3 pivotal questions:
1. What is freedom?
2. How easy is it to lose?
3. How hard%C