Home Arts Barbican exhibit canceled over ‘anti-Palestinian censorship’ row

Barbican exhibit canceled over ‘anti-Palestinian censorship’ row

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An exhibition at the Curve Gallery at London’s Barbican Center will be withdrawn following a censorship row after Barbican staff asked a speaker to avoid the topic of ‘free Palestine’ at a recent conference . The exhibition by London-based interdisciplinary design studio Resolve Collective group was due to run until July 16.

In an Instagram post (June 21), the collective announced that it was canceling the posting due to “an act of anti-Palestinian censorship”. The show was originally scheduled to end on July 16; an online statement indicates that the gallery is now closed.

The exhibition will reopen on Monday [26 June] but everything will be taken apart and we will gradually start distributing the material and emptying the space,” said a spokesperson for Resolve Collective. The Arts Journal.

In the Instagram statement, the collective said the decision stemmed in part from the cancellation of a June 15 interview between Egyptian researcher Nihal El Assar and Elias Anastas, the co-founder of Palestinian radio station Radio Alhara. The live discussion on “Radical Possibilities of Radio” was part of Resolve Collective it’s them breaks series of scheduled events.

“When we arrived, we learned that the conference had been canceled,” said the collective, adding that it had been informed by the organizer of the event, Abiba Coulibaly, of an “act of anti-Palestinian censorship” on the part of a member of Barbican staff.

On the Barbican website, a statement says: “Hastily, shortly before the start of the event, the Barbican shared an editorial note with the speaker asking him to avoid spending too much time discussing Free Palestine. The situation was aggravated by a technical failure of the live broadcast, which unfortunately brought the event to an abrupt end.

In a message, shared by both Radio Alhara and Resolve Collective on Instagram, speakers are asked to avoid speaking at length on the subject in order to “protect the public”. The collective now says the conference has been postponed, adding that they will join the Radio Alhara team to “respond to what happened”.

Meanwhile, Resolve Collective says it has also emailed the Barbican summarizing their “disappointment at a number of hostile encounters” they allegedly suffered from “a few selected members of the house staff. of the Barbican, including “hostility towards close family and friends at the opening of the exhibition”. He adds: “During our time as Curve Gallery artists, we have experienced a number of shameful incidents.”

Claire Spencer, General Manager of the Barbican, and Will Gompertz, Artistic Director, said in a statement: During the course of their exhibition, Resolve Collective and their collaborators were subjected to a number of unacceptable experiences, including the events that took place on June 15th. We are deeply sorry for the pain caused to the members of Resolve Collective and those involved in their exposure. No one should have to work in a place where they don’t feel welcome and respected. Will and I take this situation very seriously and are currently working with the extended Barbican team to understand the details of what happened.

In their Instagram statement, the Resolve Collective said they plan to “prematurely leave the Barbican Curve Gallery which will take place in three parts”. First, the artists will cancel all public program events at the Barbican. Then the exhibition material will be dismantled “leaving the gallery bare from June 26”. Finally, the collective will gradually distribute the exhibit materials to “interested and needy organizations, practices, and individuals” through a series of “closing sales.”

Barbican management adds that they “fully support Resolve Collective’s decision to change the nature of their exhibition and will work with them to make this possible. The exhibition will reopen from June 26th to July 16th.

In 2021, the Barbican Center carried out a major staff reorganization following the publication of a book compiled by an organization known as the Barbican Stories Collective.which included more than 100 cases of alleged harmful behavior at the cultural venue in the City of London.

Spencer and Gompertz add: “A lot of work has already gone into building a new culture at the Barbican where all of our employees, and those we work with, are valued, supported and feel like they belong. It’s clear that we we still have a lot of work to do, but we are committed to making the Barbican an inclusive, welcoming and safe place for all.

According to the Barbican website: “As part of the [Curve Gallery] display, [Resolve Collective] using technology typically found in structural engineering to visualize what is happening inside the concrete structure of the Barbican: using the cracks that occur naturally in a building to indicate how we view structural decline of our systems, institutions and buildings. »

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