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Based in Paris, Esther Shalev-Gerz is internationally recognized for her seminal contributions to art in the public space and the construction of memory, history and democracy. Her works like the Monument Against Fascism, 1986, and Menschendinge, 2004, where she works with objects found in the ground of the concentration camp of Buchenwald, attest of her involvement in the question of concern of fear, democracy and freedom of expression. Until November 17, she is part of the exhibition History Unfolds in Historiska Museum, Stockholm with her project The Gold Room
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Geers grew up in South Africa, during Apartheid. As a protest against his family's values, and as a political act, he later altered his name and date of birth. At the age of 15, he ran away from home, to join the Anti-Apartheid movement. As one of 143 young male objectors to military service, he was given the choice of either doing 6 years in prison, or go into exile. He chose the latter. Many of his works of art, address questions of power as well as human rights.




Nina Bondeson is one of the few artists in Sweden who, beside her artistic work, is also deeply engaged in art and politics. She frequently debates the value of art to the development of society and democracy. In her own works, she has been a pioneer, transcending borders by combining elements of craft and pictorial art, contesting the long-held view that the two fields should be kept separate.



von Hausswolff works in the field of transcendent art, mainly audio art but also with conceptual art. In collaboration with the artist Leif Elggren, he founded 'Elgaland-Vargaland', an ongoing project which challenges the notion of fixed nationality and identity. He was heavily critized in 2012 for exhibiting a painting, made with ashes, collected at the site of the former Nazi concentration camp Majdanek in Poland.




Contagious Concern & Courage
- An Art Project about Freedom of Speech

Today, many of us are feeling increasingly apprehensive about being able to express our personal opinions freely, in what is perceived as a general hardening tone of debate in society.

An individual, who happens to post a quick comment in a comment field on a website, may get harassed, even threatened, over a longer period, after the comment initially was made.

The hardening tone of open debate within the arts and culture sector, is illustrated by recent events such as the assassination of journalists, working for the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, the shooting of two citizens in Copenhagen, during an open lecture at a cultural arts centre, as well as threats issued towards the regional Swedish museum Västerbotten, during the celebration of Sweden’s National Day.

What will become of our present (open) society, if professionals such as writers, journalists and artists start censoring themselves, out of fear of being retaliated or attacked? This is also a relevant question, for staff in the cultural sector of Swedish local authorities. What works of art do we dare to put on display? Which works of art or cultural performances, are seen as being too provocative for public opinion?
The network for Cultural Coordination, within GR, The Gothenburg Region Association of Local Authorities, has initiated this project, in order to penetrate this issue further. It’s a question which ultimately concerns (civic) courage, democracy and freedom of speech. We would like to build on the contacts developed within the regional network since 2009, which is the year when the network was set up.

The conditions for working with art differs between the individual local councils, but we are united in our conviction to raise this issue through this project, as it previously hasn’t been done within the regional art network.

Raising the issue of anxiety, connected to the question of democracy and individual rights of free speech, through an art project. We wish to initiate a debate through specifically commissioned works of art, as well as thematic program days. The purpose is also to offer a new art experience in the local communities, as well as encouraging visiting the connected sites, throughout the region. The project can be described as a large exhibition, extending over the whole GR region. Besides being an experience, the exhibition may offer a deeper understanding of the issues at hand. In addition, the purpose of the project is to establish a platform for collaboration, which may lead to further and larger collaborative projects, for the benefit of all citizens within the shared GR region.

Through collaborative participation between the local councils of the GR region, address the issue of fear/courage as well as democracy/free speech.
To develop further collaboration between the regional councils of GR, with the aim of carrying out further projects in the future. To strengthen the region.

Översättning: Paul Henningsson