Art as a Weapon in Western Sahara
New Strategies in the Fight for Independence
Left Forum 2011 (www.leftforum.org)
WHEN: Saturday, March 19th, 2011 3:00-4:50pm
WHERE: Pace University, 1 Pace Plaza, NYC Room W-614
Register online or at the door: $20/$25
Western Sahara, formerly the Spanish Sahara, is Africa’s last colony. Rejecting the UN’s resolution to decolonize and the International Court of Justice’s call for a referendum on self-determination for the indigenous Sahrawi people, Spain instead granted sovereignty over the territory to Morocco and Mauritania. For more than 35 years, the Sahrawi people led by the POLISARIO Front (recognized by the UN as their legitimate representative) have been fighting for independence and the right to determine their own future. Today more than 150,000 Sahrawis are exiled in refugee camps in Algeria, and over a hundred thousand more suffer oppression and human rights abuses under Moroccan occupation inside their homeland.
This panel will present cultural programs recently initiated to bring global attention and support to the Sahrawi struggle. Each panelist has worked in Western Sahara and the refugee camps, and, with the exception of Mr. Said, participated in ARTifariti, an annual "arts for human rights festival" held in the Liberated Territory of Western Sahara.
Mouloud Said, Frente POLISARIO, Representative of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic in Washington, DC, will discuss the current state of the conflict.
Robin Kahn, artist, curator and participant in ARTifariti 2009, will speak about her time spent living with Sahrawi families in the refugee camps and her new book Dining in Refugee Camps: The Art of Sahrawi Cooking (Autonomedia, 2010).
Federico Guzmán, artist and co-curator of ARTifariti 2010, will present Lxs Desconocidxs: Retratos de Desaparecidxs Saharauis / The Unknown: Portraits of the Sahrawi Disappeared, an arts initiative designed to preserve the memory of the Sahrawi people who have disappeared under Moroccan occupation.