Brazilian art event to ‘clearly dissasociate’ Israeli funding

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — A major Brazilian art event has agreed to “disassociate” Israeli funding from the main sponsorship of the event after a protest by the majority of the participating artists.

Sixty-one of nearly 70 artists in the 31st Sao Paulo Biennial signed an open letter calling on the event’s board to return the funds from Israel due to its recent Gaza operation. Three Israeli artists are participating in the biennial, which led to funding from the Israeli consulate.

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

According to a statement issued Tuesday by the protesting artists, the São Paulo Biennial Foundation “has committed to clearly disassociate Israeli funding from the general funding of the exhibition.”

The logo of the Israeli Consulate, which was presented as a general sponsor of the event, “will now only be related to those Israeli artists who received that specific financial support. This transparency will be applied to all state funding for artists in the Biennial,” according to the statement issued Monday.

The artists also wrote: “We the artists and participants of the 31st São Paulo Biennial refuse to support the normalization of Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian people. We believe Israeli state cultural funding directly contributes to maintaining, defending and whitewashing their violation of international law and human rights.”

The biennial opens Saturday and runs through Dec. 7.

Brazil recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv in July following the start of Operation Protective Edge.