In Artery Prague, we care a great deal about free speech, freedom to assemble and human rights in general. Recent development in Turkey, where journalists are being imprisoned and peaceful protests are being banned for absurd reasons has pushed an unnamed author with the nickname “Spare time activist” to create a series of hand embroidered slogans that we are proudly exhibiting in our gallery. These slogans were chosen from the list that Ankara governor deemed “suspicious” and could “lead to disturbances of the peace”. These slogans were cited as the reason for banning the traditional 1st May marches. Among these slogans are such innocent chants as “Long live May 1st”, “Women, life, freedom”, “Death to fascism, freedom to the people”, “Mandatory religion classes should be abolished” and others. Some slogans were banned just because they were written in Kurdish, as their Turkish counterparts were allowed.
Censorship, oppression, state terror and Kurdish allergy are nothing new in Turkey, they’ve become state traditions over the decades. The artist chose the traditional technique of hand embroidery not only to address this terrible “state tradition” but also to refer to the mostly invisible labor done by women.
We do not think this should go unnoticed, these tendencies should be ridiculed, rebelled against and Turkey should realise that whatever domestic or foreign policy they want to push, they need to take the time to find ways of doing so without violating the basic human rights.