Artists launch campaign to exclude Israel from Venice Biennale over Palestinian oppression

Artists launch campaign to exclude Israel from Venice Biennale over Palestinian oppression

Initiative, titled 'No to the genocide pavilion in Venice,' garners support from over 8,000 artists worldwide

By Baris Seckin

ROME (AA) - A coalition of activists and artists have launched a signature campaign calling for the removal of Israel from the prestigious Venice Biennale, citing ongoing oppression against Palestinians.

The initiative, titled "No to the genocide pavilion in Venice," has garnered support from over 8,000 artists worldwide, signaling a growing outcry against Israel's presence in the international art scene.

Reports from the Italian press reveal that the campaign organizers issued a poignant statement decrying the inclusion of Israel in the Biennale, emphasizing the moral imperative to oppose a state perpetuating atrocities against Palestinians.

They highlighted the controversy of Israel's participation while Palestinian casualties continue to mount, with over 12,000 children killed by Israel and essential medical facilities destroyed.

The controversy stems from revelations that the curators responsible for the Israeli Pavilion intend to explore themes of fertility, a stark juxtaposition against the grim reality of Palestinian suffering.

The statement condemned any official representation of Israel as tacit approval of its policies and the ongoing genocide in Gaza, asserting that the Biennale must not serve as a platform for a "genocidal apartheid state."

Significantly, more than 17,000 individuals, including artists, curators, and members of the global art community, have thrown their weight behind the signature campaign, reflecting widespread solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

However, Italian Minister of Culture Gennaro Sangiuliano firmly rebuffed the artists' call, labeling it "unacceptable."

In a statement defending the principles of artistic freedom, Sangiuliano emphasized the Biennale as a space for diverse voices and perspectives, implicitly rejecting calls for Israel's exclusion.

The 60th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, themed "Stranieri Ovunque" or "Foreigners Everywhere," curated by Brazilian Adriano Perosa, is poised to open its doors on April 20, welcoming visitors until Nov. 24.

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