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jody franklin
multidisciplinary artist
Support Michael Dickinson - Artist May Go To Jail
Michael Dickinson, a Stuckist artist in Turkey and a frequent contributor to MungBeing, may be jailed for displaying art depicting Turkey's Prime Minister receiving a blue ribbon from George W. Bush in a piece entitled "Best in Show". We at MungBeing throw our support fully behind an artist's right of free expression. The Turkish courts, however, may not agree. Michael's court date is October 8th, 2007. I'm writing to ask if you would be willing to draft a letter of support on behalf of Michael Dickinson, specifically addressing his validity as an artist and the art-worthiness of his work. These letters are intended to be used as part of Mr. Dickinson's defense to demonstrate to the court the value and import we place on artistic inquiry and an artist's right to self expression.

There are several informational links at the end of this email including an excellent in-depth interview with Michael Dickinson (featuring the artwork in question, "Best in Show") in issue nine of MungBeing.

If you are able to write a letter of support, please email a copy to: michael.dickinson@my.mungbeing.com
Please include your name, occupation, and contact information in your

Here's how Michael describes this unfortunate situation: "[I was] called to court again unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago, when a cop rang my doorbell and handed me a summons to appear in court on 25 April at 11.30 in connection with the collages I made last year depicting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in the role of a dog, controlled and feted by American President George W Bush.

I was surprised, thinking all that stuff had finished after my arrest and prolonged detainment in police custody last year.

In my defense I said that the collages were not meant as a personal attack on the Prime Minister, but his position, and the fact that President Bush considers him a useful friend and ally. Turkish soil is home to American nuclear bombs at the US airbase at Diyarbakir.

I said that I was an artist(?) and did not usually plan my collages, but acted on inspiration at the time of making, often as a reaction to news of what is happening in the world, particularly Iraq.

When the judge asked me to describe what I was trying to say in my 2 collage pictures of Erdogan in the role of America's dog, I said that it was up to the viewer to make his own interpretation; a visual artist shouldn't need to explain in words. Pictures are for eyes. Words (spoken) are for ears.

I said that over the years I'd made countless collage pictures of President GW Bush and Tony Blair in much more unflattering roles without persecution. In the Western/European world, artists are allowed to express their feelings in their works.

The trial has been adjourned until 8th October. During that time the court will seek the opinion of a number of Turkish university professors as to whether my collages are 'art' or crime.

In the meantime I'm 'free'."

I hope to hear from you soon and thank you for your support,
Mark Givens
MungBeing Magazine

The Offending Image

Informational links:
June 8, 2006: The Bush's Dog Case

July 26, 2006: "Sorry, We Thought You Were Israeli!"
Arrested in Istanbul By MICHAEL DICKINSON

May 2, 2007: Criminalizing Art
Trouble in Turkey By MICHAEL DICKINSON

June 17, 2006: Satire that could land British artist in a Turkish jail
By Dalya Alberge, Arts Correspondent, and Suna Erdem in Istanbul

MungBeing Magazine
Information About Michael Dickinson

August, 2006: Outspoken
a conversation with Michael Dickinson by David "Starchy" Grant

Stuckism coverage and information
2 memes dropped or drop a meme
mediavictim From: mediavictim Date: September 2nd, 2007 02:10 am (UTC) (Link)
a middle eastern country judgemental about personal expression ? never!

guy needs to check the status and the laws of the land before he assumes that he has the freedoms to do or act the same in Canada

Western cultures put up with dissidents (sp?) a lot more than eastern ones.

And as much as I agree with his rights to say/dao/make anyting he wants

1) My opinion will have about as much political impact as a fart in a windstorm to the Turkish government

2) there is a reason I dont live in Turkey

jodymeme From: jodymeme Date: September 2nd, 2007 02:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Turkey is in a very unique position, because it has one foot in the Muslim world, the other foot in Europe - the EU, NATO, etc. Turkey's membership in Greater Europe has always been a point of contention for many Europeans... they want to see Turkey reform, and come more in line with European politics and economics. So there's a lot of external pressure on the country. If Dickinson's case is picked up by the media and politicians in the UK, Germany and France, it could become another hot political touchstone.

The role of art in society is to challenge people to see things from new perspectives. Michael is getting heat directly from a powerful political leader for a piece of art he did, which certainly proves if nothing else that art has the ability to impact culture in profound ways. He's one of my people, and I'm throwing my full support behind him.

2 memes dropped or drop a meme