Major artists like Marina Abramović and Kara Walker signed an open letter denouncing the theocratic rule in Iran and expressing solidarity with activists there who have been engaged in more than two straight months of protest following the death of Mahsa Amini, who died after being beaten by Iran’s morality police for incorrectly wearing her hijab, a state-mandated article of clothing for women.
“We, artists, writers, academics, and cultural practitioners from across disciplines and various countries, support the call of our Iranian colleagues to stand in solidarity with their struggle against the repressive and despotic Islamic state in Iran,” reads the letter.
The letter’s signatories committed to a boycott of government institutions associated with the Islamic state of Iran, and said they would no longer participate in cultural and educational events. They also promised to create networks of support of Iranian dissidents and stand up to those who sought to deflect attention from the protests.
Other artists who have signed the letter include Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, Kiki Smith, Arthur Jafa, Mel Chin, Robert Del Naja, Nari Ward, and others. The art historian Robert Storr was also among the signatories.
They were joined by creatives in other fields, such as the Nobel Prize–winning author Orhan Pamuk and the Academy Award nominee Willem Dafoe.
The letter is yet another example of the international art scene throwing their support behind Iranian protesters. This past October, the collective Anonymous Artists for Iran unfurled twelve banners in the Guggenheim Museum that had Mahsa Amini’s face printed on them, along with the protest slogan “Women, Life, Freedom.” Similar protests have been staged at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.