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Censorship Must Be Refused: Letter from lumbung community

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This letter was sent on July 18, 2022 from the artists, ruangrupa, and the artistic team of documenta fifteen to the members of the documenta supervisory board. With surprise we discovered that it became public in the German media, which quoted only selective parts of it, producing a misinterpretation. Here is the letter in full. We appeal to the international press and public to support us in our refusal of censorship.

We, the signatories of this statement, address you today as the participating artists and collectives, along with ruangrupa and members of the artistic team of documenta fifteen.

Following the statement by the supervisory board of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH dated 16 July 2022, we take the opportunity to write a statement in response to the recommendations initiated by the supervisory board of documenta, and specifically the recommendation to “enter a process of consultation with scholars from the fields of contemporary antisemitism.”

While we recognise and regret the pain caused by the sequence of events in relation to Taring Padi’s work “People’s Justice,” we believe that this should not lead to a general atmosphere of probing and censorship. We once again express our stance against all forms of discrimination, including antisemitism, racism, xenophobia, sexism, transphobia, islamophobia, anti-Palestinian, anti-Roma, anti-Black, anti-Asian, ableist, casteist, classist, and ageist actions and attacks.

We are deeply disappointed that you chose to ignore the racism and violence that the artists and the artistic direction and team have been exposed to over the past eight months. Many of us have invested time, resources, love, and good will in the joint undertaking of documenta fifteen. Artists have spent months and years away from their homes and families to bring collective, collaborative work to Germany and Kassel-based communities. These gifts have not been acknowledged or valued in published statements by politicians, press releases, and/or media coverage.

Since the first media attacks in January, Palestinian, pro-Palestinian, Black, and Muslim artists have been targeted and discriminated against by the media, the politicians, and already exposed to censorship by the institution in consequence. This discrimination has made it clear to us that we cannot trust the proposal of the supervisory board. To remind you of some of these incidents, we mention only a few here:

These attacks have created a climate of hostility and racism towards the artists, which lead to exposing them to more attacks. We remind you here of some more:

Many other documented incidents took place, as well as institutional racist, islamophobic, and transphobic discrimination. Artists and team members working for documenta fifteen are still experiencing multiple levels of harassment and bullying, up until this day.

Besides these........

© Klasse Gegen Klasse

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