Art News Blog reports:
British-born artist Michael Dickinson had been accused of insulting the prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He was held by Turkish police for ten days after exhibiting “Best in Show” and shows President Bush awarding the Turkish Prime Minister with a ribbon at a dog show.
The artist thought he had served his time and that the issue would be dropped, but he has now been summoned to appear in court on the 8th of October and faces up to two years in a Turkish prison.
The artist says “When the judge asked me to describe what I was trying to say in my 2 collage pictures of Erdogan in the role of America’s dog, I said that it was up to the viewer to make his own interpretation; a visual artist shouldn’t need to explain in words. Pictures are for eyes. Words (spoken) are for ears. I said that over the years I’d made countless collage pictures of President GW Bush and Tony Blair in much more unflattering roles without persecution. In the Western/European world, artists are allowed to express their feelings in their works.“
MungBeing has started a petition for Michael Dickinson and is encouraging people from around the world to support the artist and the right of freedom of expression in Turkey by adding your name to the list.
Article 301 (which Dickinson is being charged under) continues to destroy cultural expression and freedom in Turkey and I hope it is scrapped by enlightened Turks very soon. Let’s not forget Hrant Dink was killed after being convicted under that pathetic law.
I hope everyone will consider adding their name to the petition, but I also suggest you do not click the box at the bottom to ensure that your name shows up as confidential and doesn’t surface on internet search engines.
PHOTO CAPTION: Michael Dickinson’s “Best in Show”