Big names in contemporary art like Marina Abramović, Cindy Sherman and Kara Walker signed an open letter denouncing theocratic rule in Iran and expressing solidarity with activists there. The population is disgruntled and activists have been protesting for more than two consecutive months following the death of Mahsa Amini, who died after being beaten by Iran's morality police for incorrectly wearing his hijab, a mandatory article of clothing for women.
“We, artists, writers, scholars and cultural professionals from many disciplines and many countries, support the call of our Iranian colleagues to stand in solidarity with their struggle against the repressive and despotic Islamic state in Iran,” states the letter. Signatories to the letter pledged to boycott government institutions associated with the Islamic State of Iran and said they would no longer participate in cultural and educational events. They also pledged to build support networks for Iranian dissidents and to tackle those trying to divert attention from the protests. Other artists who signed the letter include Barbara Kruger, Kiki Smith, Arthur Jafa, Mel Chin, Robert Del Naja, Nari Ward and others. Art historian Robert Storr was also among the signatories. These artists were also joined by creatives from other fields, such as Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk and Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe.
The letter is yet another example of the international art scene lending its support to Iranian protesters. Last October, the collective Anonymous Artists for Iran placed twelve banners in the Guggenheim Museum with the face of Mahsa Amini printed on it, along with the protest slogan “Women, Life, Freedom”. Similar protests were held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.