The power and risk of art – hear testimonies from three international artists displaced because of their art

  • Thursday 4 July
    Art in Protest, 12:00, Eos

Art is a gathering force for people who want change. Often, we take for granted that art is a free, powerful mode of resistance. But what do you do when you are not free to express yourself? How do you find the strength to risk everything to be true to your artistic self?

In the inspiring talk 'Art in Protest' at Eos stage, you will hear the touching stories of Alireza Shojaian, Emmanuel Jal, and Natalia Kaliada – who have all been displaced from their home countries because of their art. They will use different mediums as they present their testimonies and talk about how they developed their artistic expression.

Alireza Shojaian is an Iranian visual activist focusing on societal prejudices against LGBTQ+ people. Alireza Shojaian did not feel safe in Iran where queer people continue to experience persecution, repression, and execution. He has therefore lived in exile in France since 2017.

Emmanuel Jal is a South Sudanese hip hop artist who is acclaimed worldwide for his unique style of hip hop. His message of peace and reconciliation is born out of his experiences as a child soldier in Sudan. To help ease the pain of what he had experienced, Emmanuel Jal started making music. His 2018 collaborative album with Nyaruach, Naath, received a Juno Awards nomination for World Music Album of the Year, and in 2023 he published My Life Is Art – a book about living with a purpose and overcoming adversity. He is based in Canada.

Natalia Kaliada is a co-founder and artistic director of Belarus Free Theatre, an underground theatre group formed in response to the repression of Alexander Lukashenko’s regime, the last dictatorship in Europe. In 2010, Natalia Kaliada and her husband went into exile in the United Kingdom.

Moussa Mchangama, co-founder and senior advisor of the change making consultancy In Futurum, will guide the conversation between the three artists.

The event is a collaboration between Roskilde Festival, Human Rights Foundation and OpEN – Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Public Engagement Funding Pool.

Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonprofit organization based in New York that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on authoritarian societies. With their Art in Protest program, they empower dissident artists to expand their art practices and cultivate a community of support.