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We're all in the same boat
Marina Abramovic for The Barcelona Sailing Regatta

Marina Abramović art sparks anger with an Italian right-wing politician

The pioneering artist was responding to how Italy is dealing with the refugee crisis

Marina Abramovićs new poster for the Barcolana sailing regatta in the Gulf of Trieste has aggravated politicians in Italy. With the slogan reading “We’re all in the same boat”, the poster has been condemned by the citys right-wing deputy mayor.

According to the Art Newspaper, the deputy mayor, Paolo Polidori, has condemned the poster by stating “Unacceptable, in bad taste, immoral to make political propaganda out of an event, the Barcelona, that belongs to the entire city” and comparing the image to Chairman Maos communist China. As Italian newspaper La Repubblica reports, Polidori has insisted that the poster should be removed from all brochures and invitations, and has threatened to pull €30,000 in funding should they refuse.

The piece comes following the Italian government’s decision to close its ports to migrant ships, with the deputy Prime Minister, Matteo Salvini, stating that NGOs (Non-Government Organisations) are no longer “legitimate”.

The Serbian artist is known for her thought-provoking and pioneering work, which has challenged both authority and the artist practice itself. The artist is currently working towards one of her most dangerous projects yet, in which she will be electrifying herself with one million volts, set to take place at the Royal Academy of Arts in 2020. 

It was recently announced that Ambrović and her former lover Ulay will reunite once more to work on a new memoir that will chronicle their tumultuous and creative relationship, and a previously unseen video of the pair will feature in an upcoming exhibition at the Richard Salton Gallery in London. 

As is tradition, every year the events organisers commission an artist to create a poster to commemorate the years event. Since its beginning in 1969, the regatta has been revered as one of the most esteemed sailing regattas in the world. A spokesperson for the event has insisted the artwork will not be withdrawn or censored, and will ultimately be used for national and international marketing for the regatta. 

Read back on the artist speaking candidly about her early life in Serbia, her works, her mantras, and how she became one of the biggest artists in the world on Dazed here.