AMCA’s Urgent Appeal for Ashraf Fayadh
The Association for Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran and Turkey (AMCA) condemns the death sentence for the Saudi-Arabian-born Palestinian poet, artist, and curator Ashraf Fayadh. Fayadh was sentenced to death on November 17, 2015 for alleged blasphemous statements made during a discussion group and in his poetry, charges he has denied. We believe that this decision was made by the Saudi Arabian legal system without authorized charges beyond “insulting the Godly self” and believing in “ideas that do not suit the Saudi society.” It is particularly concerning given that Saudi Arabia currently presents a face of support for the arts through funding international exhibitions of Saudi Arabian artists.
Freedom of artistic expression is key to democratic societies. Ashraf Fayadh’s steady and successful artistic career has inspired many young artists, positively contributing not only to the Saudi Arabian community but also to the region at large. Indeed, it is thanks to the efforts of Mr. Fayadh that Saudi Arabia excelled at the 2013 Venice Biennale.
Today terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaida continue to provoke the youth to commit criminal acts, thus weakening security and stability in the region. It is therefore essential—perhaps more than ever before—to promote community leaders and role models such as Ashraf Fayadh who encourage the youth to turn to creativity and beauty rather than war and violence. Hence, AMCA urges the government of Saudi Arabia as well as His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz to lift the charges against one of the greatest minds in the Saudi society as well as the region at large.
AMCA Board of Directors