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Toronto Artists Protest Koffler Fundraiser

June 4, 2009

Silence Tastes Bad…Put Free Speech on the Menu

Artists and supporters speak out for freedom of association at the launch of the Koffler Gallery fundraiser, ARTFUL DISH, Thursday, June 4, 10 AM at The Four Seasons Hotel, 21 Avenue Road. This protest will be held outside the hotel, at Avenue Road and Cumberland.

As this gala with "world class cultural luminaries" and "leading chefs" is announced, artists will don chef′s hats, take up utensils and declare, "Silence Tastes Bad", "Occupation is Unsavoury", and "Put Human Rights on the Menu."

This action responds to the Koffler Gallery′s eleventh hour "disassociation" from Reena Katz' relational art project, each hand as they are called, which was to be presented as part of the Luminato festival May 20.

After a year of active collaboration and sponsorship, the Koffler widely circulated a letter days before the show was to open, saying that they are disassociating from Katz′ project due to her support of Israeli Apartheid Week. Koffler erroneously claimed that the artist "advocates the extinction of Israel as a Jewish state." Each hand as they are called has no relation to Israel/Palestine. Katz and curator Kim Simon have been forced to suspend the project.

"The Koffler′s withdrawal was not based on Katz′s artwork or conduct in relation to the project, but solely because of the artist′s support for the human rights of Palestinians. This constitutes a serious attack on freedom of speech and political affiliation, and if unchallenged poses grave threats to all artists," said artist b.h. Yael.

As a result of the Koffler actions, performers, artists and community organizations are now withdrawing their support of Koffler events:

Sarah Polley, film director/actor, has pulled out of the Artful Dish fundraiser
Artist/Professor Yvonne Singer has stepped down from the Koffler Centre of the Arts Board of Directors
Gwen McGregor, artist, has withdrawn from the Wrecking Ball fundraiser
Artist/professor Nina Levitt has withdrawn her touring exhibition `Thin Air′
Pages Bookstore has withdrawn from a Koffler event

each hand as they are called, including a link to Koffler′s statements:

For more information contact:
Jess Dobkin
Phone: 416-666-6220

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