“………The five Australian and international artists – Libia Castro, Ólafur Ólafsson, Charlie Sofo, Gabrielle de Vietri and Ahmet Ögüt – said in a statement they were withdrawing from the Biennale “in light of Transfield’s expanding management of Manus Island and Nauru immigration detention centres” and in response to the death of Mr Berati.
“We have revoked our works, cancelled our public events and relinquished our artists’ fees,” the statement said.
“We see our participation in the Biennale as an active link in a chain of associations that leads to the abuse of human rights. For us, this is undeniable and indefensible.”
A larger group of artists wrote to the Biennale board last week, demanding it sever ties with Transfield Holdings.
The five boycotting artists claim the board and Transfield indicated “there will be no movement on their involvement in this issue … that the issue is too complex, and that the financial agreements are too important to re-negotiate”.
The artists asked the Biennale of Sydney to acknowledge the protest by registering their withdrawal on its website and displaying signs at the site of the four absent projects. Two of the artists had submitted a joint work.
“In the pervasive silence that the government enforces around this issue, we will not let this action be unnoticed,” the artists said……..”.
Extract courtesy SMH