Starting with Ancient Greece as the cradle of our democracy (the child), all the way to the Encyclopedia of Human Rights (books), the installation Collective Memory delivers a clear statement. It looks to a future built on our fundamental human rights which act as a guide to subsequent generations. This installation represents them. Above all, it claims that every newborn child has the right to a life worth living in which there is lasting respect for human rights.
Marble, stone, 225 x 463 x 279 cm, LABIOMISTA – Studio Koen Vanmechelen, Genk (Belgium),
Global Campus of Human Rights, Venice (Italy), 2017
Photo by Stoffel Hias
From the day of its ratification on 10 Dezember 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has lost non of its relevance and urgency. This presentation aims to deliver and diseminate its message into the heart of our digital age.
Andrea Fuchs developed the idea of publishing this art book with the support of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights in Vienna, Austria, represented by Professor Manfred Nowak, as well as in cooperation with curator Petra Stelzer. The book IMAGINE HUMAN RIGHTS – Artists celebrate the Universal Declaration presents the thirty articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the six official languages of the United Nations. It juxtaposes Human Rights articles with a multitude of artworks and wishes to thereby inspire a debate beyond the written word.
Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen and Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, have kindly supported the book by each writing a preface.
One would think that globalization and its supporting technological developments would make this earth a more egalitarian place, with resources of all kinds being shared by all and to everyone’s benefit. Instead, we witness a world of great strife, conflict, oppression, widespread diaspora, hunger and the on-going destruction of our environment.
The issues riddling these times are so overwhelming that they require a larger, more encompassing view and as curator of this book I felt that the Universal Human Rights Declaration provides just that as it benefits all of mankind by definition, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, gender, religious or political beliefs.
This publication aims to promote the potential the Human Rights Declaration holds for all of mankind in that it provides a guideline shaped by an ethical common ground so essential for any form of civilized society. Together with a group of international artists who generously contributed their diverse views on the subject matter, I hope for this book to be an inspiration for people to come together, voice their shared values, and take heart to fight for our common ground – Human Rights.
Art is universal, as are Human Rights.
Art and Human Rights complement each other perfectly in their core characteristics – they define standards, highlight issues of relevance. They demand from us to call into question, take a stance and not relent, reflect and act with resolve.
Art reveals truth beyond the visible. The language of Human Rights is a starting point, which art takes as a point of departure to offer inspiration and a diverse dialogue.
If the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a document to support self-empowerment of individuals across the globe, art assists in formulating the various issues we need to overcome to shape a more accepting, diverse global society. Artists explore emotive and physiological realms beyond what Human Rights can provide and to which Human Rights serve as a foundational anchor.
Great artists and their work help us carry the Human Rights message into the world, disseminate it, reach those who are neglected, raise awareness with those who can help, and thus further shape the global community and their activism."
As the curator of this project my deep conviction about the Arts and the freedom of expression was at the core of my work.