The Art in Protest program is HRF’s answer to the repression of creativity that authoritarian regimes impose. Dictatorships succeed when they are able to confuse and conceal, shifting attention away from the truth. Art can expose that deception, speaking with an emotional immediacy that is stronger than any statement, and able to resonate more widely than any declaration. Recognizing the transformative potential of art, HRF established Art in Protest as the first program to support dissident artists around the world who use their art to make a lasting impact in the global struggle against authoritarianism.


Since its inception, AIP has hosted events for diverse audiences in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oslo, showcasing artists from North Korea, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Turkey, and China, connecting the art world and human rights activists. The goal of the program is to support and exhibit to new audiences the work of artists from around the world who struggle to express themselves in the face of oppressive governments. In this way, Art in Protest aims to create a dialogue about the state of artistic expression on a global scale, and to shed light on those brave people who are willing to risk their lives in the pursuit of self-expression. Many of the artists’ works intentionally have a political content, but several have had their art politicized for the mere act of self-expression.


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