Art Workers’ Self-defense Initiative

In a situation where critical and experimental art and culture are completely ignored by the state, the only possible strategy for establishing the basic conditions for the existence of art is to create artistic communities based on mutual assistance and discussion.

In a country that declares democracy the preferred mode of interaction, we, as art workers, must impact the formation of new cultural policy principles and how they are put into practice.

The Art Workers’ Self-defense Initiative was launched by those working in the sphere of critical and experimental art. Critical and inquisitive thinking are a precondition for liberation, a means of averting manipulation, and propel the expansion of consciousness in order to create more cognizant social relations.

The Initiative’s main objective is to defend the artist and his/her labor practice in relation to the institutions and agencies that solicit, organize and present their work.

We insist on the need for transparency in the system of relations between artist–institution–public sphere and the need for establishing conventions for labor relations in Ukrainian contemporary art.

Our aim is to exercise the artist’s right to influence the quality of representation of the artistic process. We stress the need for the state to provide social guarantees for artists and a clear system for taxing their income.

Another of the Initiative’s missions is to reconsider the figure of the artist as producer and participant of cultural life, as well as to problematize the perception of art as mere entertainment, rather than activity that is social and political in the broadest sense.

We are ready to act in solidarity with other workers’ associations to defend the labor rights of freelancers, precarious workers and wage laborers.

MEMBERS: Larissa Babij, Kateryna Badyanova, Anatoliy Byelov, Yevgenia Belorusets, Oleksandr Burlaka, Ksenia Hnylytska, Anna Zvyagintseva, Nikita Kadan, Yuriy Kruchak, Yulia Kostereva, Vasyl Lozynskyy, Mariana Matveychuk, Andriy Movchan, Ivan Melnychuk, Kateryna Mishchenko, Lada Nakonechna, Alexey Salmanov, TanzLaboratorium, Lesia Khomenko

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