Artist Protection Fund to Relocate Censored Artists

Every artist knows that it’s hard to make it and have your art shared, or even celebrated, but imagine trying to socio-politically critique a country plagued by war, or under dictatorial control. Free speech is not a given in many countries around the world, and in those cases, artists looking to condemn the powers that be are often imprisoned, tortured, or even put to death. There’s little help to be found for artists found guilty of turning their back on an autocratic system of government. Just look at Pussy Riot, who is still working to sue the Russian government over the infringement of rights. Luckily, there’s hope in the newly founded Artist Protection Fund (APF), launched by the Institute of International Education.

The fund will match newly displaced artists, and their families, with universities and art centers so that they can continue to produce work, and ideally, have their art shared in the country of their origin. APF will function as an extension of the already existing Scholar Rescue Fund, which had helped hundred of scholars from around the world escape persecution and continue their studies elsewhere. The organization, which received an almost $3 million dollar endowment from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will be going through a three year pilot stage before it fully launches. “The program will enable their work and voices to continue to be seen and heard, which, as many artists tell us, is of critical importance to them," Mellon Foundation’s VP Mariët Westermann told Artnews.

And what would the world be without art to critique it? It is widely known that art is often the first casualty in brutal, government takeovers, because it is the creative visions of the Ai Weiweis and Pussy Riots of the world that help to inspire revolution among the people. Art spreads faster now than ever before, and it’s important to keep the creators of these pieces safe. We’re happy to see that art has taken a priority in the global community, and are hopeful to see it trickle down into countries that are stifled by oppressive regimes.

*For more info on APF click here

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