New Threats for Artists at Risk

Overcoming the Void of a Plague – What Happens With the Artists?

More than one month after the global spread of the Covid-19, a multitude of projects and initiatives supporting the artists have emerged. One of them was set up yesterday, 20th of April 2020.

Example of the AR Projects – Pavilion Helsinki

The non-profit organisation Artists at Risk (AR) – at the intersection of human rights and the arts – launched an emergency fund to support artists who face threats to their freedom or lives and are unable to reach a country of safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

As well as other professions, artists who don’t depend from one and the same organization are currently struggling severely with present and future perspectives. But for artists who are, in normal times, facing threats and dangers because of their countries’ regimes are going through even harder moments right now. They can’t isolate, nor escape.

Among the artists backing the campaign are members from the AR advisory team, but also artists from different backgrounds. “Undemocratic regimes are using the crisis to repress dissent, and that includes cracking down on artistic freedom”, says Ivor Stodolsky, co-founding director of the organization Perpetuum Mobile (PM) which initiated Artists at Risk (AR) in 2013 as a platform and network to support artists in securing travel documents, providing legal assistance and creating AR-Safe Haven Residencies.

The success of AR has been shown by a 7 years old support for artists, as well as the creation of 17 residencies for artists across 14 countries offering temporary AR-Safe Haven residencies for artists who face persecution of imprisonment for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

As the borders are closed to limit the spread of coronavirus, these art practitioners need urgent assistance as they are exposed to a doubled exposure to risks (impossibility to pay their rent linked to the absence of a salary etc.).

Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina, British author Neil Gaiman, Chilean-American playwright Ariel Dorfman, Iraqi painter Dia al-Azzawi, Egyptian musician Ramy Essam, Syrian photographer and curator Issa Touma, Somali musician Lil Baliil and Iraqi author Saadi Youssef are supporting the new fund which will cover the living costs of artists at risk and, where necessary, relocate artists to a place of safety within their own country or region.

AR Artists exposing in Helsinki


To make a donation:

For further information contact For secure chat/talk, please register a personal account at and find @AR.

Leave a Reply