Leading artists boycott British venue over 'censorship of Palestinian culture'

In joint letter, Bristol artists condemn stifling of Palestinian voices, cultural expression, calling it 'inhumane'

Aysu Bicer  | 13.12.2023 - Update : 13.12.2023
Leading artists boycott British venue over 'censorship of Palestinian culture'


Bristol's vibrant artistic community is taking a stand against the Arnolfini art center, as more than 1,100 artists disengaged from the renowned British venue to protest its "censorship of Palestinian culture."

Influential figures like Geoff Barrow and Adrian Utley of Portishead, Robert del Naja of Massive Attack, and writers Alice Oswald, Nikesh Shukla, Shon Faye, Travis Alabanza, and Rachel Holmes, declared a collective refusal to collaborate with the Arnolfini International Centre for Contemporary Arts.

The artists, including musicians, writers, poets, and producers, accused Arnolfini of censorship, specifically pertaining to Palestinian culture.

The controversy erupted following the suppression of Palestinian film and poetry at the art center, prompting outrage among the artistic community.

In a joint letter, the artists condemned the stifling of Palestinian voices and cultural expression, calling it "inhumane," particularly in the context of recent mass killings in Gaza due to Israeli attacks.

The artists argued that Arnolfini's actions amount to censorship, which they view as an infringement on artistic freedom and a betrayal of the institution's role as a platform for diverse voices.

The artists demanded that the art center rectify the harm they believe has been done to Palestinian culture.

They asserted that the boycott will persist until Arnolfini takes tangible steps to address the alleged censorship and ensure a commitment to fostering an inclusive and open space for artistic expression.

Israel has bombarded the Gaza Strip from the air and land, imposed a siege and mounted a ground offensive in retaliation for a cross-border attack by Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7.

​​​​​​​At least 18,608 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 50,600 injured in Israeli attacks since then, according to Gaza's health authorities.

The Israeli death toll in the Hamas attack stands at 1,200, while around 139 hostages remained in captivity, according to official figures.

Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.