The Museum of Dissidence: "Freedom of expression is an integral part of all societies"
19 Apr 2018
BY INDEX ON CENSORSHIP

Perla Hinojosa, Fellowship and Advocacy Officer at Index on Censorship, holds the 2018 Freedom of Expression Arts Award for Cuban arts collective Museum of Dissidence, who could not attend the Freedom of Expression Awards. (Photo: Index on Censorship)

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara:  First of all I would like to thank Index and everyone for being here. We had to do this via video because the bureaucracy, the embassies and the powers that be prevented us from being here to accept the award. It’s sad, because we would have liked to share this moment with all of you and the happiness that we feel receiving this award. This award for us means a lot but it also means a lot to all the artists who have preceded us and who are the reason why we have been able to work with a little bit more freedom and a little less fear. Antonia Eiriz, Tania Bruguera, Danilo Maldonado, Angel Delgado and all the artists who have suffered a lack of freedom of expression and creative freedom and who in one way or the other have never given up and have fought for their rights.

Yanelys Nuñez Leyva: On my part, I am happy because this is a boost, where the work of the museum is recognised internationally. This is not the work of just two people, it’s the work of a big collective. There’s a lot of artists but also many activists who are involved in the projects of the Museum of Dissidence. And for us, this is a recognition for them as well.

Luis Manuel: Freedom of expression is an integral part of all societies. It’s what allows us to question all the processes that can happen to an individual. From being able to tell a mother that her way of bringing up her children in a certain way is aggressive or not. To being able to say a political system is corrupt. To being able to express yourself to another person without facing violence or repression.

Yanelys: For me, freedom of expression is like breathing and being able to move every day. It’s something natural that enables us to improve ourselves and grow.

Luis Manuel: Freedom of expression also promotes love towards yourself, towards other people and all the people around you.

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After being jailed for her art, Kurdish journalist Zehra Doğan’s paint supplies were confiscated. She was charged with peddling terrorist propaganda when she drew a scene of a destroyed Kurdish-majority city in southern Turkey. In prison, she asked fellow inmates to give her their menstrual blood to use as paint. Meanwhile, she had the support […]

Museum of Dissidence: Cuba’s new constitution does not represent us as Cubans, intellectuals or humans

Yanelys Nuñez Leyva and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, members of the Index Award-winning Museum of Dissidence, have been putting themselves on the line in the fight for free expression in Cuba

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Zehra Doğan was released from prison on 24 February 2019. She was jailed over a painting she adapted from a Turkish army photograph where she depicted armored vehicles devouring civilians in her hometown, Nusaybin. She was denied access to painting materials while imprisoned and began making paint from fruit, spices, and blood, and used newspapers, letters […]

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Today marks World Press Freedom Day. Around the world, hundreds of journalists are imprisoned for doing their jobs, and the highest number is in Turkey – according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Zehra Doğan, a Kurdish journalist and artist, was sentenced to nearly three years in a Turkish jail for painting a picture. Her […]

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