Smiling H1 - 1920 x 116
Smiling H1 - 1920 x 116
Smiling H1 - 1920 x 116
Castelli H1 700 x 180

Italy culture minister rejects call to ban Israel from Venice Biennale

Controversy over Israel pavilion in Venice Biennale.

Italy's culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano has firmly rejected an online petition calling for Israel to be excluded from participating in the upcoming Venice Biennale.

The appeal from activist group Art Not Genocide Alliance (ANGA) cites Israel's "ongoing atrocities against Palestinians in Gaza", with the demand: "No Genocide Pavilion at the Venice Biennale".

More than 17,000 people, including artists, curators and cultural figures, have signed the petition which accuses the Biennale of giving a platform to a "genocidal apartheid state".

"While the Israeli pavilion presses ahead, the genocidal death toll in Gaza and the West Bank increases daily" - the statement from ANGA reads - "Any official representation of Israel on the international cultural stage is an endorsement of its policies and of the genocide in Gaza."

The letter also notes that the Venice Biennale previously banned South Africa from 1968 until 1993, when apartheid rule was abolished, as well as excluding Russia after its invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

Slamming it as "unacceptable, as well as shameful", Sangiuliano said the letter represented the "diktat of those who believe they are the custodians of the truth, and with arrogance and hatred think they can threaten freedom of thought and creative expression."

"The Venice Art Biennale will always be a space of freedom, meeting and dialogue and not a space of censorship and intolerance" - reads a statement from Sangiuliano on the Italian culture ministry website - "Culture is a bridge between people and nations, not a dividing wall."

Curated by Adriano Pedrosa, the 60th edition of the International Art Biennale of Venice is titled Stranieri Ovunque (Foreigners Everywhere) and will take place from 20 April until 24 November.

Ambrit 724 x 450
Castelli H3 - 1920 x 190
Castelli H3 - 1920 x 190
Castelli H3 - 1920 x 190
AUR 320x480
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