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Actions of Art and Solidarity

20.01.21 – 21.03.21
OCA Website

Solidarity has re-entered the global zeitgeist with resounding force in the last decade. It has driven new thinking focused on countering systemic failures and outright abuses related to climate, economy, surveillance, health, gender and race amongst other issues. Actions of Art and Solidarity considers the central role that artists play within this historical shift in the new millennium, drawing parallels to synergic cases of the twentieth century.

The exhibition is curated by Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) and organised in collaboration with Kunstnernes Hus.

Click here to explore the exhibition online.

Photo: Vegard Kleven

Actions of Art and Solidarity presents 76 works by artists, activists, collectives and thinkers from around the world, including Norway, catalysing cultural, socio-political and environmental solidarity across different geographies and contexts from the 1950s to the present day. Looking back in time and forward into the future, the exhibition displays artists’ extraordinary ability to narrate and build empathy around fundamental global conflicts and injustices, and provide the radical imaginaries of care and solidarity that can stimulate their resolution. The venue, Kunstnernes Hus (The Artists’ House, Oslo) has a symbolic value, since the institution has played a recurrent part in Norway’s own contribution to artistic solidarities – from presenting Pablo Picasso’s Guernica in 1938 during its international solidarity tour, to organising exhibitions of solidarity with other parts of the world. The exhibition also presents central instances of Norwegian solidarity artistic practices, as well as new works especially commissioned for the exhibition.

The case studies included in the exhibition have been sourced across four continents, and cover a 70-year time span of artistic creativity. Actions of Art and Solidarity includes artworks, performances and research by: Toufoul Abou-Hodeib, Wendy Carrig, Carolina Caycedo, Chimurenga, Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Chelsea E. Manning, Gitte Dæhlin, Maritea Dæhlin, Beatriz González, Maria Hupfield, Gavin Jantjes, Tina Keane, Bouchra Khalili, Beeban Kidron and Amanda Richardson, Latin-Amerikagruppene (Ingrid and Astrid Fadnes), Naeem Mohaiemen, Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende (Chilean Arpilleristas, Gracia Barrios, Antonio Dias, Öyvind Fahlström, José Gamarra, Gontran Guanaes Netto, Claude Lazar, Clemencia Lucena, Teresa Montiel, Ernest Pignon-Ernest, Alfredo Portillos, Kjartan Slettemark, Taller 4 Rojo, María Teresa Toral, Teresa Vila), Hannah Ryggen, Sahmat (P. Srinivasan T. M. Azis, Dora Longo Bahia, Elena Banik, Pablo Bartholomew, Rosa Irigoyen, Kamin Lertchaiprasert, Peter Nagel, Pushpamala N., Pavan Mahatta, Eric Metcalfe, Alnoor Mitha, Prashant Mukherjee, Ram Rahman, Gargi Raina, Kavita Shah, Inder Salim, Jin Sook Shinde, Nilima Sheikh, Vivan Sundaram).

The exhibition proposes that the solidarity imaginaries expressed by art works, and embodied by specific artistic actions, are always the outcome of the extensive processes of artist-led care-building that precede and succeed them. Moreover, it is those very networks of personal connectivity and empathy created by artists over time around a particular issue (in alliance and in friendship with everyday citizens and activists) and configured within their art works of solidarity, that inspire society at large to imagine life differently and step-forward in ways that generate profound transformation.

Actions of Art and Solidarity is curated by Katya García-Antón (Director/Chief Curator, Office for Contemporary Art Norway), with the research and coordination support of Liv Brissach (Project Officer), Itzel Esquivel (Project Officer) and Drew Snyder (Programme Manager) in Oslo, and Aban Raza (Project Coordinator, New Delhi). The exhibition is organized in collaboration with Kunstnernes Hus. The public programme is co-curated by OCA and Kunstnernes Hus and will consist of a film program, dialogues and performances, as well as a solidarity songs playlist that you can read more about further below.

The exhibition will be followed by the publication of the Actions of Art and Solidarity Reader, edited by Katya García-Antón; assistant editor Liv Brissach (OCA / Valiz, 2021).

Exhibition booklet

Click on the link below to download the exhibition booklet containing more information about the artworks and participating artist:

Solidarity playlist

As a sonic response to the exhibition, artist Elin Már Øyen Vister aka DJ Sunshine has created the playlist Songs of Solidarity - Lift Every Voice in collaboration with contributing artists, researchers and other collaborators.

Listen to it here. Find more info about the playlist here.

Please note that the opening times and public programme might be subject to change to accommodate Norway's Covid-19 regulations. Updates will be announced on our website. Click here to read more about our measures regarding infection control.

Image above: Beatriz González, Mural para fábrica socialista (detail), 1981. Courtesy of: Colección de Arte del Museo de Arte – Dirección de Patrimonio Cultural – Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Photo: Wilmar Lozano

See also