Political Prisoners in Contemporary Spain is a work by the Spanish artist Santiago Sierra and consists of 24 black-and-white photographs of politicians, activists, artists, and journalists whose faces have been obscured. Among the portraits are political, pro-separatist figures who are accused of ‘rebellion’ and are currently awaiting their trial or living in exile.
This work is not without its controversies. Spain’s most important art fair ARCOmadrid removed the photographs from Helga de Alvear gallery stand where they were on show to avoid controversy. They insisted it was done with respect for freedom of expression.
Sierra responded to Facebook: “Acts of this type give sense and reason to a piece like this, which precisely denounced the climate of persecution that cultural workers are suffering in recent times. It constitutes a lack of respect for a gallerist like Helga de Alvear, who participated in the launch of the fair, as well as to the maturity and intelligence of the public.”
In the name of freedom of expression, the Forum has plastered Political Prisoners in Contemporary Spain all over Amsterdam in poster-form.
Artist Sierra Santiago will speak about his work in the programme Contemporary Spanish Political Prisoners at 21.00 on May 31 in De Balie.