Art as a Weapon in Western Sahara: New Strategies in the Fight for Independence

Left Forum
Left Forum Panel
Facebook Event

Press Release:

Autonomedia, Kirby Gookin & Robin Kahn present:

Art as a Weapon in Western Sahara:

New Strategies in the Fight for Independence

Saturday March 19, 2011 3:00 to 5:00 pm

Pace University 1 Pace Plaza New York, NY Room: W-614

Western Sahara, formerly the Spanish Sahara, is Africa’s last colony. Rejecting the UN’s resolution to decolonize and the International Court of Justice’s call for a referendum on self-determination for the indigenous Sahrawi people, Spain instead granted sovereignty over the territory to Morocco and Mauritania. For more than 35 years, the Sahrawi people led by the POLISARIO Front (recognized by the UN as their legitimate representative) have been fighting for independence and the right to determine their own future. Today more than 150,000 Sahrawis are exiled in refugee camps in Algeria, and over a hundred thousand more suffer oppression and human rights abuses under Moroccan occupation inside their homeland.

This panel will present cultural programs recently initiated to bring global attention and support to the Sahrawi struggle. Each panelist has worked in Western Sahara and the refugee camps, and, with the exception of Mr. Said, participated in ARTifariti, an annual “arts for human rights festival” held in the Liberated Territory of Western Sahara.

Kirby Gookin, Department of Art, Steinhardt School of Education, New York University and participant in ARTifariti 2010, will moderate and provide a brief background of the conflict.

Mouloud Said, Frente POLISARIO, Representative of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic in Washington, DC, will discuss the current state of the conflict.

Robin Kahn, artist, curator and participant in ARTifariti 2009, will speak about her time spent living with Sahrawi families in the refugee camps and her new book Dining in Refugee Camps: The Art of Sahrawi Cooking (Autonomedia, 2010).

Federico Guzmán, artist and co-curator of ARTifariti 2010, will present Lxs Desconocidxs: Retratos de Desaparecidxs Saharauis / The Unknown: Portraits of the Sahrawi Disappeared, an arts initiative designed to preserve the memory of the Sahrawi people who have disappeared under Moroccan occupation.

Alonso Gil, artist and co-curator of ARTifariti 2010, will present Sahara Libre Wear, a commercial fashion line produced in the refugee camps.

Francis Gomila, artist, participant in ARTifariti 2009, will present Wall of Shame F Word Tour.

PLEASE NOTE: DATE and ROOM subject to change

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