art for justice and accountability

As part of coculture and Impunity Watch’s Art for Justice & Accountability Campaign, the installation MUTE by conceptual artist and activist Khaled Barakeh was displayed in Place Jean Rey on 30 April 2024. The presentation was part of the Cultural Agenda of the Brussels VIII Conference, "Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region," which the European Union organises annually.

The public art installation pays tribute to those who fought for freedom in Syria, especially victims and survivors, and calls for justice and accountability for the violations committed over the past years. MUTE depicts 49 figures of protesters dressed in clothes belonging to Syrian activists and tells the story of "an abandoned people" left to fend for themselves in their fight for freedom and justice. Swinging between stillness and motion, these protesters are frozen in postures that evoke demonstrations' physical tension and emotional intensity. The heads were removed and reconstructed to look inside the bodies, bringing back memories, traumas, and anguish. The faces turned into horn-like openings, evoking the protests against the injustices and amplifying the voices once silenced.

The Art for Justice & Accountability Campaign aims to elevate the voices and demands of Syrian victims, survivors, and their families on the international agenda. In particular, it insists on prioritising the issue of Syria's more than 100,000 missing. Habib Nassar, Director of Policy and Research at Impunity Watch, says: "Despite the absence of a political transition in Syria, Syrian victims and their families have continued to fight for justice and truth. Initiatives like MUTE, seek to highlight their plight and unwavering activism to seek answers."

In parallel, a group of survivor and family associations under the Truth and Justice Charter organized a side event on the ongoing efforts to address the crisis of missing persons in Syria, namely the creation of the Independent Institution on Missing Persons in the Syrian Arab Republic (IIMP) and the role that victims and survivors can play in it.

Governments or individuals, there will be no impunity for those who break the law or abuse power or political identities. Sooner or later, the truth will be revealed, and no one will escape punishment, no matter how long it takes.

Lab Project

The Lab category features emerging project concepts exploring future artistic possibilities. These sketches represent coculture's exploratory spirit, highlighting innovative ideas awaiting development.

While realization isn't guaranteed, this space invites viewers to envision the potential of transformative art and cultural narratives.

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Brussels, Place Jean Rey on 30 April 2024

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