Artist Strike, or How Close Are We to Bouazizi? (2011)
An Urban Intervention (Canvas, Pain Stripper, fire, projections),
“On The Fence II” a guerrilla art event, Jaffa
$ Limited edition of 9 canvases in various sizes (canvas stretched on wooden frame, turpentine, fire marks)
The performance was a critique of the lack of funding for socially engaged art. The performance invoked Stewart Home’s 1990 Art Strike, Jackson Pollock’s abstract art, and the work of American labour leader Sam Pollock. The work’s subtitle and the use of fire as painting material also memorialize Tarek al-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation which sparked the Tunisian revolution and the “Arab Spring” in late 2010.
The performance was held instead of a planned screening of a community film which was cancelled due to lack of funds. Inspired by Jackson Pollock’s “striking” painting method, a large canvas was painted over and over again with a paint stripper, reflecting the lack of money for expensive paints, and repeatedly set on fire. Later on the canvas, now covered with abstract burning marks, was cut to pieces and put on sale.
Four months after the installation posed the question, “How close are we to Bouazizi?”, the answer came in a demonstration marking the anniversary of the Protest for Social Justice Movement. On July 14, 2012, Moshe Silman, one of the movement’s activists, burned himself to death in front of press cameras.