Monday, December 16, 2013

ART FOR DEMOCRACY: Antidote for repression- a new platform in the making (

( Crowd-funding appeal for an Art for Democracy website. The site will provide an engaging, interactive platform for art that promotes human rights and democratic reform in Azerbaijan.

Back when Azerbaijan was the host of the cheesy pop song contest Eurovision, a campaign launched in support of democracy in Azerbaijan quickly built up attention around key human rights and freedom of expression issues that were skillfully covered by millions of euros poured into the "Light Your Fire" Eurovision campaign. The thick and high facades that unfortunately have become the "building blocks" of the so- called "democratic" government of Azerbaijan were challenged by an unusual rival- art. The launched campaign- "Sing for Democracy" had one goal- to inform contestants and the visitors of what kind of country they were actually coming to.

It was a successful initiative and needless to say, certainly not a popular one with the local authorities. But that didn't stop its founders- the Human Rights Club and its partner organizations the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety and the Center for National and International Studies. Since the situation in Azerbaijan only deteriorates in this sphere, the spin off- Art for Democracy is continuing to fight for the cause. But it needs your help (!  As the initiative describes itself, "we are offering an antidote" and their focus is on art as its a very powerful tool in fighting repression.

Art for Democracy website - for human rights in Azerbaijan from epitype on Vimeo.

So please help! We would highly appreciate any contributions! There is no contribution too little, there is no contribution too big :)

Art for Democracy Launches Crowdfunding Campaign

( LONDON. December 4, 2013: The Baku-based Art for Democracy campaign has launched a new fundraising campaign through the crowdfunding website Indiegogo. Art for Democracy is seeking contributions for an exciting new website that will support the promotion of human rights and democratic reform in Azerbaijan. The donations can be made through the provided link here

Art for Democracy is a campaign of the Baku-based Human Rights Club, launched on 10 December 2012. Building upon the previous Sing for Democracy campaign, Art for Democracy seeks to use all forms of artistic expression to promote human rights and democratic reform in Azerbaijan.

With 140 people currently in detention or prison for politically motivated reasons and an ongoing crackdown by authorities on the fundamental rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association, the human rights situation in Azerbaijan is alarming. The Art for Democracy campaign is seeking to counter this ongoing repression and improve the situation in the country by using art to promote human rights and democratic reform.

Art for Democracy is calling for donations for the development of a new, innovative website that will serve as a platform for Azerbaijan’s alternative artists to share their work, and as an interactive forum for Azerbaijanis to discuss human rights issues.

“In helping us to develop this website, contributors will be providing vital support for the promotion of human rights and democratic reform in Azerbaijan. The website will give Azerbaijanis a place both to access alternative art, and to discuss human rights issues that are important to our society”, said Human Rights Club Chairman and Art for Democracy Coordinator Rasul Jafarov.

Art for Democracy is developing the website with London-based design agency epitype, an ethical future company that uses design to build communities and enable social change.

“The site will take users on a journey through the key issues surrounding social justice and democratic reform in Azerbaijan. Regardless of their level of understanding, users will be able to engage with the issues facing Azerbaijan in an exciting, stimulating, and accessible way by discovering art, exploring the issues through reading and discussion, and contributing to the campaign by raising awareness through social media”, said epitype Creative Director Martin Roach.

The Indiegogo campaign allows supporters to make donations in any amount. For as little as £5, contributors can receive rewards such as digital music downloads and prints of artwork from alternative Azerbaijani artists. The fundraising campaign will run through 23 December.

“We are asking for help both through donations and in spreading the word about the crowdfunding campaign. Every donation, no matter how big or small, is a tremendous help”, said Jafarov (Art for Democracy Press Release).

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