Norwegians mark Music Freedom Day with freedom of expression festival
An international celebration of freedom of expression in art and culture, entitled ‘RED ZONE – FREE THE ARTS’, will be held in Norway from 28 February to 3 March 2013.
The famous Middle Eastern artists Tania Saleh, Rim Banna, Mohamad Abla and Syrian Bear Yumal are headlining the international culture-event ‘Red Zone’ which has Kulturkirken Jakob (‘Culture Church Jacob’) as its main stage from 28 February to 3 March. The event offers music, poetry, film, dance, performance art, installation art and other forms of visual art.
The title ‘Free the arts’ indicates that the organisers, Kirkelig Kulturverksted and Kulturkirken Jakob, want to put freedom of expression through art on the agenda:
“Art has a different and perhaps deeper way of describing and understanding reality than the often simplified and one-sided formulas of the news media. We have no real freedom of expression if artists don’t have the freedom to express themselves as they want to, and if they don’t have an arena and an open channel to reach a broad audience. This is a challenge, not only in countries that have a general problem with freedom of expression. It is also an issue in Western democracies,” says Erik Hillestad, the head of Kirkelig Kulturverksted.
The opening show “Red zone performance” on Thursday 28 February will feature an array of expressive forms under the direction of Kate Pendry and Erik Hillestad. Featured performers include Syrian Bear Yumal, Iranian Mahsa Vahdat, Vietnamese performance artist Luong Tran and Egyptian painter Mohamad Abla, along with authors Walid Al Kubaisi and Håvard Rem, actress Kate Pendry and installation artist Morten Viskum. Together they will demonstrate some of the conditions for freedom of expression across national borders and political systems.
On Saturday 2 March, the award-winning Iranian film ‘Parviz’ will be shown for the first time in Norway, and Majid Barzegar, the director, will attend the showing and will discuss the film afterwards.
On Sunday 3 March, the annual and global ‘Music Freedom Day’, a concert will be given featuring Tania Saleh (Lebanon), Rim Banna (Palestine) and Bugge Wesseltoft (Norway), Toot Ard (Golan heights) and Checkpoint303 (Palestine and Tunisia).
Throughout the cultural festival the exhibition ‘Images in times of rebellion’ by Egyptian visual artist Mohamad Abla will be on show in Jakobs Brønn (the church cellar).
The dance performance ‘Open for everything’ by Constanza Macras – a celebration of the songs, dance and music of the Roma people – will be given on 1, 2 and 3 March in Dansens Hus.
Organisers and sponsors
Red Zone is funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fritt Ord (Freedom of Expression Foundation) and Arts Council Norway.
Kirkelig Kulturverksted and Kulturkirken Jakob announced already in June 2012 that they had received support enabling them to organise an annual manifestation for freedom of expression in art, and that this would be linked to the Music Freedom Day in early March 2013. A programme council was formed to guide the project staff, consisting of the following members:
Walid Al Kubaisi, author
Nina Witoszek, professor
Nina Zandjani, translator
Kate Pendry, actor and director
Sigbjørn Nedland, programme director
Cato Litangen, general manager
John Peder Egenæs, general secretary
Erik Hillestad, general manager and producer
Morten Eriksen, consultant