Artists at Risk Pavilion: Artists. Risks. Humans. Rights. - Announcements - e-flux

Thematic Preface

The Artists at Risk Pavilion, in collaboration with the support of UNESCO, is a testament to the profound impact artists and cultural professionals can have on society. This unique initiative aims to honor those individuals who display exceptional courage in the pursuit of artistic expression and the defense of broader human freedoms. By highlighting their stories and acknowledging their contributions, the Pavilion seeks to emphasize the critical role art plays in pushing boundaries, challenging norms, and driving social change.

Throughout history, artists have been at the forefront of societal transformation. From Picasso’s daring perspectives on war and peace to Maya Angelou’s powerful poetic reflections on race and identity, creative minds have given voice to the struggles, aspirations, and triumphs of humanity. These artists have consistently defied oppressive systems, often at great personal risk. They have dared to question authority, challenge conventions, and expose uncomfortable truths.

In today’s complex and ever-changing world, the need for freedom of artistic expression is as vital as ever. Artists face numerous obstacles ranging from censorship, persecution, and discrimination to threats of physical violence and imprisonment. In some parts of the world, the mere act of creating art can be seen as an act of rebellion.

The Artists at Risk Pavilion stands as a beacon of hope for those artists and cultural professionals who defy such repressive conditions. By providing a safe haven and a platform to showcase their work, this initiative not only celebrates their artistic achievements but also sheds light on the broader issues they confront. By amplifying their voices, we can raise awareness and inspire change.

It is essential that we recognize and support these creative individuals who bravely challenge the status quo, as their courage and resilience remind us of the power of art to inspire, unite, and transform societies. The Artists at Risk Pavilion with the support of UNESCO is a testament to the indomitable spirit of artists and cultural professionals worldwide and serves as a reminder that artistic expression is a fundamental human right.


  • Picasso, Pablo. “Guernica.” 1937.
  • Angelou, Maya. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” 1969.

The Artists at Risk Pavilion with the support of UNESCO honours artists and cultural professionals who demonstrate exceptional courage in the service of artistic and wider human freedoms.

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