Art Marathon: Art for Marathon, Marathon for Art
Artistic protest for freedom in arts
Although it is a worrying fact that the number of incidents one feels obliged to protest increase day by day in Turkey, an unprecedented creativity seems to accompany the protests which take people unto the streets. The implementation of new regulations at the Istanbul Municipal Theater, the privatization of theatres, the charges brought against art works and artists like Fazıl Say, the number of writers and journalists imprisoned for crimes of thought, the prohibitions imposed on freedom of speech and on freedom in arts constitute only a small portion of what drive people to protests in Istanbul but they surely bring out a certain creativity in the protesters as in the case of Art Marathon.
Art Marathon, an innovative and creative form of protest organized by the Istanbul Municipal Theater Artists Association in collaboration with many other organizations and individuals took place non-stop during 7 days in Özgürlük Parkı (Freedom Park) on the Asian side of Istanbul in the Kadıköy-Selamiçeşme district. The location of the marathon – Freedom Park - and the performances that took stage during the event once again reminded the participants and the audience of what they were fighting for and against. The multi-day event started off on June 16th with a press conference and lasted until June 22nd with theater and dance performances, music shows, poetry readings and film screenings occupying the stage incessantly.
Solidarity for freedom in arts
Many famous artists, private theater companies and university theater ensembles voluntarily took turns on the stage proving their solidarity for freedom in theatre and arts. The supporting organizations included the State Theater Opera and Ballet Employees Foundation (TOBAV), Theater Artists Association (TODER), Screenwriters and Translators Association (OYÇED), Turkish Critics’ Union and Nazım Hikmet Cultural Center among many others. Guinness observers also attended the Art Marathon to judge whether this creative protest could take its place in the Guinness World Records. However one would not be wrong to already claim that the Art Marathon was a very successful event since the audience members did not leave the performances unattended either at late hours of the night or early hours of the morning. The audience members also took stage in their seats performing their solidarity for freedom in arts and let us hope that this performance made an impression on the authorities…