The Best Brand Around

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Review of Artists Against the War

Artists Against The War (AATW), is a loose collective of artists, producers, theatre, film and video makers who first met in October 2001 as a direct response to the bombing of Afghanistan. Our aim was to create artful protest against the inhumanity of war and international acts of state-controlled terror.

We believe that in times of conflict artists should be at the forefront of the movement to speak out against inhumanity. We are trying to create a language that will provoke and inspire a better vision of the world. AATW are members of the Stop the War Coalition and we hope that we have and will continue to play an important role in the growing tide of social protest--we have been engaged in a variety of artistic anti-war activities.

Artist Leon Kuhn created a piece of art with a disfigured monstrous child representing the new Afghanistan held in the arms of his parents Bush and Blair. He also did a piece which showed the links between the US military and the British government.

In our exploration of bringing political consciousness to public spaces and institutions we decided to target the shopping mall--which has become the heart of consumer society. A group of nine artists went to the Starbucks cafe in a shopping centre to carry out experiments in invisible theatre. We spoke to people about asylum issues in order to reclaim a space for social debate--more forum theatre exploits are planned.

We have leafleted the National Theatre and other West End venues to engage the industry with the anti-war movement and presented a petition to Downing Street. We built a huge puppet for the 18 November anti-war demo and plan other displays of anti-corporate and anti-war creativity. We are a growing network which has attracted the interest of a normally conservative arts press. There is great satisfaction in sharing and communicating a 'brand name' when there is nothing to purchase and that brand name is a political statement.

We hold regular meetings in London for anyone to attend. Since the network was created we have received countless poems, lyrics, diaries, messages of solidarity, videos, digital artwork and cartoons which we are trying to make accessible through our website and other means.

Artists have the power to fight against the destruction of our world with creativity.We all have the responsibility to protest against what is being done in our name. If you would like to make the voice of dissent even louder and more colourful please get involved.

E-mail:
artistsagainstthewar@hotmail.com

Websites:
www.geocities.com/artistsagainsthewar
www.artistsagainstthewar.org.uk
www.ellipsis.com/aatw