I, like many others, have been harassed and in many ways have been pressured when I performed with a particular group of people and also my freedom of expression in many cases has been limited. In many cases I felt controlled, manipulated, and objectified. In a free and democratic society all artists should be unrestrained in the making of their art. They should be free to decide what they will create and how they will create it. Artists know they have the right to freedom of artistic expression and creativity, but when there is desperation for money or neediness to exhibit their work they may self-censor or be tempted to enter exploitative situations with unreasonable limits and requirements. The need for cash and the desire for exposure often get in the way of good judgment. That is why there are so many competitions, group shows, and galleries with rules that take advantage of artists and interfere with their freedom of artistic expression. The purpose of making art is not making money, nor is it exhibiting the work. It is expressing who you are.
*PICTURES: TAKIS KOUVATSEAS ART CONCEPT AT HIS CLUB +x IN ATHENS*
In 2013 the United Nations issued a report on the right to artistic expression and creation because artists all over the world were facing restrictions on their freedom of artistic expression. Many artists then and now still feel trapped between political, religious, cultural, economic, and familial interests. We must remember that according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19, 1948, everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right includes the freedom to impart information and ideas through any media. Children also have the right to freedom of expression thanks to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 13, 1989. Artists must express what haunts them the most for their own sanity and health. I have learned that unexpressed traumatic emotional experiences become organic diseases later in life, illnesses for which doctors have no answers. In an essay based on her book “Childhood Disrupted” Donna Jackson Nakazawa explains how shame, secrecy, and social taboos against exploring certain areas of life experience lead to sickness. Marcel Proust said “We are healed of a suffering only by expressing it to the full.”
Author Linda Friedman Schmidt