Monday, September 24, 2012

Equating art with human right

Be it the right to life, security, liberty, and education; be it that to free thought, opinion and conscience; be it the one to be treated humanly; this is a subject that  influences and touches public discourse firmly and permanently. More than six decades after the Declaration of Human Rights, it still gains as much importance, including the domain of art. Here's how...
  • A major international contemporary art exhibition, entitled ‘Newtopia: the State of Human Rights’ is dedicated to the subject. It takes place in six cultural institutions and in public spaces in the historic city centre of Mechelen, until 10 December 2012. The exhibition looks to contextualize the subject of human rights in present-day Mechelen: it exhibition precedes the opening of the Kazerne Dossin Memorial, Museum and Documentation Centre on Holocaust and Human Rights.
  • Tracing artistic responses to human rights issues, the exhibition charts the development of the human rights movement and its evolving discourse, paying particular attention to the emergence of new human rights discourses and the 'rise of human rights' since the 1970s, and looks at their current state. It includes work in diverse media by more than 70 international artists of different generations from across the globe. Many of them come from countries and regions where human rights have been – or still are – a particularly contested issue; half of the artists come from non-Western countries.
  • Newtopia will also feature a rich peripheral program, including film, literature, music,  as well as conversations with artists, creating an appropriate framework in a city rooted in the humanist tradition of Erasmus and Thomas More. It also extends its reach geographically, with a satellite solo exhibition of the internationally acclaimed Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar, at the ING Cultural Centre on the Koningsplein/Place Royale in the heart of Brussels, until 10th December 2012.
  • Newtopia will take place in some of Mechelen's prominent cultural institutions, which include: Cultural Centre Mechelen, Oude Mechelse Vleeshalle (Old Meat Market), Museum Hof Van Busleyden and  Lamot Conference and Heritage Centre. The solo presentations are shown at the Academy of Fine Arts, at the Scheppers Institute and in the public space: a mural at Hof van Busleyden and a video-proejction on the city hall.

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