Art Basel Miami Beach is currently facing protests, with around 100 activists calling for a ceasefire in Gaza on Friday. Overall, members of Jewish Voice for Peace, the South Florida Coalition for Palestine, and an informal collection of artists and cultural employees gathered in Miami. Among calling for a ceasefire, they are also demanding from authorities in Miami-Dade County to cease endorsing Israel.
“I believe artists hold a special power”
More than a hundred demonstrators gathered in front of the Miami Beach Convention Centre. The rally came two months after hostilities in Gaza erupted. “I believe artists hold a special power: the ability to reveal truths that can shift people’s awareness of the world around us”, said Agua Dulce, a queer artist, activist, and community organizer based in Miami.
Dulce also added: “I think there’s a societal avoidance of the internal reflections required to accept that genocide is currently occurring, because that would lead to the admittance of the unsightly truths of history. As an artist and creator, I believe my role right now is to awaken that spark of humanity in those who’d rather not engage with it. I bare my soul to others, so that they assess its reflection within themselves”.
Over 200 people signed an open letter supporting a truce, organised by Miami Artists for Ceasefire (MA4C). “Through my creative practice, I express not just my love for humanity, but a deep-seated commitment to our interconnectedness, and the sacredness of nature”, said Cristina Isabel Rivera Sangama, an interdisciplinary artist and creative technologist.
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Art Basel Did Not Comment
“My art is a testament to our enduring spirit, a call to remember that even in the face of adversity, we are woven together by threads of hope and unbreakable bonds of our shared heritage. In this crucial moment, as humans worldwide rise up against their oppressors, the urgency of our collective voice is paramount”, she also added.
Every year, hundreds of artists, collectors, and locals come to Miami Beach for Art Basel. Artists in particular, according to organisers and campaigners, cannot avoid the politics taking on outside of the event. The majority of US institutions refrained from making public comments on the Gaza crisis, even those in Miami that are holding events in conjunction with Art Basel.
“No one in power is doing anything to stop it, so it’s up to us to [apply] pressure, especially during the event”, said Estefania Fernandez, who works in film. “We’re out here not making it easy for them to look away. If your advocacy in film isn’t showcasing voices that don’t get a change, then what are you doing? Art is supposed to make people think outside the box and see things from ‘the other person’s’ shoes”.