Brazilian art event to ‘clearly disassociate’ Israeli funding


(JTA) — A major Brazilian art event agreed to “disassociate” Israeli funding from the main sponsorship following a protest by most of the participating artists.

Sixty-one of the nearly 70 artists in the 31st Sao Paulo Biennial signed an open letter calling on the event’s board to return the funds from Israel due to its recent Gaza operation. Three Israeli artists are participating in the biennial, which led to funding from the Israeli consulate.

According to a statement issued Monday by the protesting artists, the Sao Paulo Biennial Foundation “has committed to clearly disassociate Israeli funding from the general funding of the exhibition.”

The logo of the Israeli Consulate, which was presented as a general sponsor of the event, “will now only be related to those Israeli artists who received that specific financial support. This transparency will be applied to all state funding for artists in the Biennial,” according to the statement.

The artists said they “refuse to support the normalization of Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian people. We believe Israeli state cultural funding directly contributes to maintaining, defending and whitewashing their violation of international law and human rights.”

The biennial opens Saturday and runs through Dec. 7.

Brazil recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv in July following the start of Operation Protective Edge.

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