Gray Area is proud to partner with The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) to announce the launch of the Art in Protest Residency program. This residency is an opportunity for artists whose art is dedicated to promoting democracy and human rights globally, to explore and expand their digital practices. The inaugural cohort includes Chinese-Australian political cartoonist Badiucao, Belarusian illustrator and graphic designer Lilia Kvatsabaya, and Cuban performance artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara.
"Art is one of the most important and impactful forms of protest because it engages and enthralls the viewer,” said HRF’s Chief Program Officer Céline Boustani. “Through the power of their work alone, artists can connect and unify democracy movements around the world. We are thrilled to launch this unique program that will support dissident artists in their work to advance freedom and make an impact in the global struggle against authoritarianism.”
For a period of three months, participants will develop projects that use art and technology to create social and civic impact. In addition, they will receive mentorship and personalized feedback on their work from interdisciplinary artists and technologists as part of Gray Area’s Incubator space, as well as be presented with workshop opportunities that build on the mentorship they will be receiving.
“The most active front in the battle for democracy and human rights is the internet,” said Barry Threw, Gray Area’s Executive Director. “At Gray Area we recognize that artists serve a necessary role for not only raising awareness, but also in revealing the power structures perpetuated in digital technologies as well as realizing the opportunities they present to envision a more free and equitable world. We have found an ideal partner in the Human Rights Foundation to promote democracy and human rights in our digital society through the Art in Protest Residency.”
The residency will run from July 6 to October 4, 2021 and will take on a hybrid form, with both online sessions and in-person meetings at Gray Area’s headquarters in San Francisco, California. It will culminate in an exhibit at the 2022 Oslo Freedom Forum, to be held in Oslo, Norway, which will showcase the artwork produced during the residency.