For the months of January and February, 2009, the Mount Beacon Fine Art Gallery will host the international traveling exhibit FREEDOM&ART, a collaborative effort involving seventy-four artists from over twenty countries and six continents. The exhibit falls under the umbrella of Mirca Art Group, an Internet-based coalition of artists from around the world whose mission is to raise awareness about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a key political figure who was placed under house arrest in Myanmar (formerly Burma) 19 years ago over her bid for political freedom. Several of the artists involved in the project have Portfolios at absolutearts.com.
Also called FREEDOM&ART, this coalition was born out of #artmesh.org, a social media website that allows artists to network via forums and groups, similar to the way users interact on social mega-site Facebook.com. The plight of Aung San Suu Kyi became a rallying cause for a core group of artists who banded together across international boarders to use their artwork as a weapon for freedom on her behalf. Their initial effort, a book entitled FREEDOM&ART published through www.blurb.com, has already met with international success, having been featured by twenty-three media outlets worldwide in 13 languages, including major national Romanian newspaper Romania Libera, Poland Media News (a media monitoring service by EIN News), Russian magazine Rostov-on-Don. Proceeds from the book are being donated to Amnesty International on behalf of Aung San Suu Kyi.
According to Carla Goldberg, Executive Coordinator of the U.S.-based arm of FREEDOM&ART as well as the Senior Editor for its namesake book, a traveling exhibit was the logical next step to increase sales of the book and awareness about the project internationally as a fundraising effort for Amnesty International. On the effort to collaborate with artists from around the world, she says, “The project has brought our group together in a whole new way. There has been a lot of wonderful collaboration online through message boards and everyone has been willing to offer their individual talents, artwork, and resources where needed”
After its official opening on January 10, 2009, the Mount Beacon Fine Art Gallery will host a panel discussion by five influential artists and activists on February 14, 2009. The discussion will feature a question-and-answer format and focus on a variety of topics include the interplay between freedom and artistic expression in today’s world, the current situation in Burma, and why it is important for Americans in particular to take notice of the situation there.
“I wanted to see what I can do from my studio in Stockholm where it would be impossible to even think of imprisoning an elected (official)," says Stefan Tunedal of Sweden, a contributor to the FREEDOM&ART Exhibit, when asked about his passion for the plight Aung San Suu Kyi. “A woman like her should not be treated like this. She has the right to be free," adds Hungarian artist Krisztina Asztalos, another contributor from the other side of Europe. "Aung San Suu Kyi's efforts...are an inspiration for the many people throughout the world who are striving to attain democracy, human rights and ethnic conciliation."
By working together in the spirit of global collaboration, these artists, activists, and others have become a united voice of hope and pierced places where freedom has failed with the liberating power of artistic expression.
Visit these artists' Portfolios to view more of their works:
Cassandra Gordon-Harris - www.absolutearts.com/cgoharris
Brad Michael Moore - www.absolutearts.com/portfolios/b/bradmichaelmoore
Luise Andersen - www.absolutearts.com/portfolios/l/laselectart
Carla Goldberg - www.absolutearts.com/portfolios/a/artchick