Press release by Passion for Freedom

Published on Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Londoners celebrate their Passion for Freedom

• Passion for Freedom, in its new home of Mall Galleries, welcomed over 4,000 visitors in just 6 days

• Gala Evening welcomed 1000 invitees from the art world and beyond including ambassadors, members of the House of Lords and journalists from as far away as ….

• Organisers reflect on their disappointment at not being able to show MIMSY's six artworks following police and gallery advice

London, 2nd October 2015:

This year's Passion for Freedom festival, which celebrates courageous artists and works of art from around the world, has been a huge popular hit. Over 4,000 visitors came to see the works in the Mall Galleries in the six short days the exhibition ran.

"It's been overwhelming this year, incredibly busy,"

commented Marianna Fox, Director.

"I think that the public really connected with the fact that free speech has been under attack this year, from many sides, and they came out to show their support for these artists who are willing to risk their personal safety in order to highlight injustice or simply express their voice."

The Gala Awards Evening, this year held to close the exhibition, saw the panel award the first prize in the art competition to Emma Elliott for Spin – Head. The artwork is a bronze model of a head, with a zipped up mouth representing the precarious nature of freedom of expression. It reminds us to guard against complacency, lest we be zipped again.

The People's Choice Award, voted on by visitors to the exhibition, also went to Elliott for The Sacred and the Profane – a work representing the Holy Trinity: Father (monk and son), Son (Madonna and child) and Holy Genitalia (vagina and labium). The work seeks to demonstrate how religion segregates the sacred and profane, and the freedom we have to reject this arbitrary separation and celebrate the free will we have in a secular society to find beauty and value in anything – even that which some may consider irreverent or blasphemous.

Charlie Hebdo was awarded the Freedom Hero prize and first prize in the film section went to Stéphanie Valloatto for Cartoonists: Foot-soldiers of Democracy?

Camilla Forest, Co-Founder commented:

"We do regret that we had to remove six artworks by MIMSY, as the police felt they were so inflammatory as to land us with a £36,000 protection bill. As a not-for-profit orgaznization, this was not possible for us to meet, and the gallery management referred us to the contract on which basis they were able to withdraw the art piece at any time, so we had to choice but to exclude the works. This seems to me a very sad day, where terrorists calling themselves Islamic State are above comment or ridicule due to their merciless conduct."

The artist MIMSY made an official statement:

"It has come to my attention that after my work was removed from the exhibition, some reports in the press failed to distinguish between the independent festival organisers (Passion for Freedom), the Mall Gallery and the Metropolitan Police. The team behind Passion for Freedom courageously tried to display my work throughout the censorship process. They even printed postcards of the work, and distributed them to guests at the gala party. All moves towards censorship and demands for 'security' money have been imposed on me by the Mall Gallery, and the Police."


This year's festival comprised 12 films, 6 books, 6 journalists and 70 artworks from all over the world: Peru, Venezuela, Iran, Israel, Syria, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, United Kingdom, USA & Australia. The youngest artist who entered the competition was 21, the oldest 79.

For more information please contact:

Agnieszka Kolek Camilla Forest Marianna Fox

Passion for Freedom with Mall Galleries

Mall Galleries is a major contemporary gallery space in the heart of Central London, championing the work of new and established artists. For over 40 years Mall Galleries has played a crucial role in diversifying the practice of figurative art, exploring its boundaries while promoting, inspiring and educating audiences with new exhibitions and interpretations of the contemporary world. Mall Galleries is operated by the Federation of British Artists, a major visual arts charity established in 1961.

Passion for Freedom (PFF) is a non-governmental, voluntary-based organisation that promotes human rights and freedom of expression through art. PFF was started in London in 2007 by a small group of friends, mainly women, and is today supported by a huge international network of artists, activists, journalists and professionals. Each year we ask contributing artists, film producers, writers and journalists 3 pivotal questions:

  1. What is freedom?
  2. How easy is it to lose?
  3. How hard is it to get it back?

The festival was recognized by Madonna and highlighted in her Freedom Calendar 2014. PFF worked with the BBC on its Freedom Year Program last year, and it continues to cooperate with Royal Holloway University on the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. Passion for Freedom stands for freedom. PFF seeks to involve people in education projects and breaks political correctness in media.

Douglas Murray Passion for Freedom 7th

Baroness Caroline Cox Passion for Freedom 7th

comments powered by Disqus