An attack by sea – an art happening is underway
Among the beautiful veteran ships and resplendent yachts in the harbour a peculiar vessel suddenly appears: A boat crammed with refugees. In one of the masts is hanging a 3 meters face of bronze. A banner hung up between the masts displays the number 2015. The ship moors alongside the quay, and the refugee sculptures are spreading in the harbour in the streets of the town and in the shops. An art happening has been launched, an attack by sea on the town with the aim of highlighting our moral obligation towards our fellow humans in the south, who have been born into unfathomable poverty.
A floating art installation focussing on the UN 2015 goals: Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot in cooperation with Living Sea, and PATC - The Project Advice and Training Centre consisting of 250 development Ngo’s have transformed the Living Sea’s cutter M/S Anton into a floating art installation with more then 70 bronze sculptures.
The installation will come into sight in various harbours to highlight the UN 2015 goals, the world’s global plan to reduce poverty. The aim is to reduce poverty to the half until 2015. The project is supported by the Danish foreign ministry.
400 million people have been lifted out of poverty: Many people think that our efforts are of no avail and that development has got stuck. It is not true! Although much remains to be done, more than 400 million people have been lifted out of poverty since 1990, most children in developing countries go to school, clean drinking water is available to many and fewer babies die.
Our generation has the possibility to get rid of poverty and create a more balanced world where all people can grow up living in a fairly safe environment without waging war against each other and without being bound to flee in order to survive.
The rich countries are cutting the development aid: Due to the financial crises various western governments have decided to curtail the aid to the poor countries. This is utterly unreasonable! On the contrary, we should increase the aid, cancel the debt and dismantle the trade barriers that we have set up to protect the rich world, so that poor countries could more easily sell their products and so by own means reduce their misery.
Due to basic decency the rich have to help the poor out of poverty. Even if you deny this, you will find substantial egoistic motives for helping, as precisely poverty and social imbalance are among the main reasons for wars, extremism and steams of refugees.
Why a refugee ship?: I’ve decided to transform M/S Anton into a refugee ship to pinpoint that if we do not help the third world to get rid of poverty, the result will be even bigger refugee streams in the future, Jens Galschiot explains about the background of the project. I have also decided to model each refugee with a beautiful, dignified and personal radiation, to emphasize that these people are humans like you and me, and hence can claim a decent life.
The grassroots on the ship and in the harbour: Eradicating poverty and achieving an earth in social balance is a challenge both for people in the developing countries and for us in the rich world to underpin the efforts to create an optimal framework for development.
There are no universal cure-all solutions, no technological gadgets that in a jiff can solve the world’s problems. But there’re plenty of approaches rooted in the local circumstances that can trigger a beneficial spiral of development. For sure, many errors have been made. Well-intentioned projects have failed due to corruption and sloppiness. Also in the future errors will be made. But the errors should not overshadow the many well-functioning projects.
The refugee ship M/S Anton will represent a platform to highlight some of the locale Ngo’s and development organisations, each of which is making a huge effort.
Our incentives: The organisations are highly different according to their political, religious and organizational background. But we share one common objective: We are committed to curb the unjust misery we’re witnessing. Our approaches and methods may differ, but we are fuelled by our dedication to projects in the poor countries where we’re facing a misery difficult to grasp for us North Europeans. Encounters and rooted friendships have urged us to do something – to be active players, and not just witnesses.
Our local work in Asia, Africa and South America or where we might have chosen our commitment sparks off a need to involve our own supporters in the rich North. We’re keen on emphasising that we have a pungent responsibility to act – and we’re keen on emphasising that our actions really make a difference! – Explains Knud Andersen, skipper on M/S Anton and chair of Living Sea.
UN’s 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are: 1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger - 2. Achieve universal primary education – 3. Promote gender equality and empower women – 4. Reduce Child Mortality Rate – 5. Improve maternal health - 6 Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases – 7. Ensure environmental sustainability – 8. Develop a global partnership for development.
The moving forces of this art event are Jens Galschiot, Living Sea and PATC. If you want to participate, e.g. getting the refugee boat to your town, contact Knud Andersen, Living Sea, mobile 2048 7421.
PATC - The Project Advice and Training Centre is an umbrella body of more than 250 NGO’s in Denmark, all committed to development aid – as their main purpose or as a part of their activities, see www.prngo.dk/eng
Living Sea is an environmental association focusing on the sea with special competence concerning fishing methods. Living Sea supports communities of costal fisherfolks all over the world which make use of environmentally sustainable tools.
For a number of years Living Sea was involved in the The Lake Aral Fishery Project in cooperation with costal fishermen on the bank of the partly drained Lake Aral in Kazakhstan. For rather limited resources the project enabled
Jens Galschiot, Denmark, born 1954, sculptor. He stakes his art to defend the ethical values of our society, regardless of political, religious or economic interests. His sculptures suddenly appear in public areas and start the performance. Best known are My Inner Beast (European cities in 1993) and the Pillar of Shame (Hong Kong, Mexico and Brazil).
The projects are financed, partly by individuals and organizations, but the larger part of the finances come from the sale of Galschiot's bronze sculptures to art collectors all over the world. He has a huge industrial area in Odense, Denmark with a bronze foundry, gallery and workshop. Photos of all Jens Galschiot's sculptures: http://sculptures.aidoh.dk and www.aidoh.dk