Monday, November 7, 2011

Prague´s artists and mayor protest Russian repression of Voina Group

Voina Wanted banner unfurled 3 Nov. in Prague Photograph by Yana Sarna

Prague´s artists and its mayor joined with Voina Group staging a visual protest action against Russia´s renewed repression of the art activists.

On 3 November, Voina activists Alexei Plutser-Sarno and Yana Sarna helped lead the action, starting at the Charles Bridge in the Czech capital.

They and others hung a "VOINA WANTED" banner (6x8 m) with Oleg Vorotnikov's portrait in jail from the bridge and on the facades of the Center of Contemporary Art DOX and the National Museum on the Wenceslas Square. 

Russian police put Vorotnikov on the international wanted (Interpol) list; his co-founder Natalia Sokol is currently wanted by the police country-wide. 

Czech artists join Voina to protest repression of Russian dissident artists on Charles Bridge, Prague Photograph by Yana Sarna
Authorities during the last days of the 4th Moscow Biennale, which closed 30 October, announced it dropped its criminal case against Leonid Nikolayev.

Fewer than five days later, police reversed themselves, reinstating the criminal cases against Voina activists under Articles 318 and 319 for allegedly insulting police and inciting hatred against a social group, in this case, the police.

This carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.

Voina Wanted unfurled on Charles Bridge, Prague Photograph by Yana Sarna
Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda announced his support for the action against Russian authorities by instructing that “VOINA WANTED” banners should be placed on city light standards, in the metro and other Prague public spaces.

Others supporting the Prague protest include: Zuzana Stefkova, Petr Motycka, Markéta Dolejąová (ARTWALL gallery); Filip Remunda and Marek Hovorka (Jihlava Documentary International Film Festival); Leos Valka (director of the Center of Contemporary Art DOX); Tamara Moyzses (independent curator); Dimitri Volchek (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

The protest art action started on 21 September in Vienna supported by Sydney Ogidan (independent curator and director of the Black River Festival), Wolfgang Stranzinger (president of Lomographische AG), Gerald Matt (director of Kunsthalle Wien), and Catherine Hug (curator of Kunsthalle Wien).

Alexei Plutser-Sarno, Voina´s media artist, stands in front of protest banner at Prague´s Center for Contemporary Art Photograph by Yana Sarna
Alexi Plutser-Sarno

Rock on and practice peace and love.
Stefan, the ArtTraveler ™

ArtTraveler notes:

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