Shaping Solidarity in the Arts

Op 18 februari 2023 organiseerden Valiz, De Appel en Platform BK een soepmaaltijd, een boeklancering en een gesprek over de rol en betekenis van solidariteit in de kunst. Lees hier het verslag.


Spread from the article 'Ali in Jordan: Palestine Solidarity in Film' by Eszter Szakács, published in the 'Art & Solidarity Reader'.

Dit evenement was Engelstalig. Onderstaand verslagje en programma-overzicht zijn daarom ook in het Engels.

Solidarity has grown to be one of the most frequently used rallying cries in the arts, connecting artists and activists in struggles against social and economic injustice, violent displacement, climate disaster, and other societal urgencies. Why is solidarity such a powerful and appealing ideal? What is the solidarity at play in these practices? Who is in solidarity with whom, and why? During ‘Shaping Solidarity in the Arts’, we explored historical and theoretical dimensions of solidarity in the arts and connected them to practitioners’ perspectives. Together, we developed a deeper understanding of what solidarity in the arts is, or could be.

This event was organized by Valiz, De Appel, and Platform BK on the occasion of the publication of the Art & Solidarity Reader. Contributors to the program included Eszter Szakács, Lara Khaldi, collective Mirror Soup Kitchen, collective Kukhnia, Rosa te Velde, Gizem Üstüner, Jue Yang, Radio Alhara, and Art Goss.

The introduction to the program was livestreamed on Instagram by De Appel. You can watch it back here. The harvest at the end of the program, too, was recorded and livestreamed. This can be watched here.



During the program, Platform BK members Müge Yilmaz, Gizem Üstüner, and Emirhan Hakin introduced the initiative Artists in Solidarty NL (Instagram: @artistsinsolidarity_nl). Artists in Solidarity NL is a fundraiser initiative of Turkisch artists that collects money for earthquake victims through cultural activities. In the coming months, international support and solidarity will be extremely important in providing first aid, psychological support, and start rebuilding key infrastructures. Artists in Solidarity NL primarily focuses on supporting marginalized groups that receive less or no support through regular international aid programs: the LGBTQ+ community, the Kurdish people, refugees, children, and women. They collaborate with Mor Dayanışma, @afeticinfeministdayanisma, and @lubunyadeprem. If you want to get involved or learn more about how to support Artists in Solidarity NL, check out the Instagram page @artistsinsolidarity_nl.


16:15-16:30: Welcoming words
By the organizers Astrid Vorstermans (Valiz), Lara Khaldi (De Appel), and Sepp Eckenhaussen (Platform BK)

16:30-17:00: Mirror Soup Kitchen
The collective Mirror Soup Kitchen (Jasper van den Berg, Jet Sanders and Roel Wouters)  and activist artist collective Kukhnia (online, operating in Lviv) will cook and serve soup to everyone present. While the collectives and participants make sure together that everyone gets a meal, the collective will introduce their collaboration.

17:30-17:30: Eszter Szakács in conversation with Lara Khaldi
Both contributors to the Solidarity Reader, Eszter and Lara will critically discuss historical examples of art and solidarity as well as different models of institutional and non institutional solidarity.

17:30-18:30 What does solidarity mean to you? Table discussions on forms of solidarity
During the meal preparations, a conversation will be initiated around the question: what is the role and meaning of solidarity in your practice? These conversations will be facilitated by solidarity organizers from the Dutch arts, including Rosa te Velde, Jue Yang, Radio Alhara, and Art Goss.

18:30-19:00: Our solidarity. Harvesters report back & groups exchange
The dedicated Harvesters report back on the conversations at their tables, and the results are discussed among the participants in a plenary setting.

19:00-20:00: Radio/music, serving and eating soup
A playlist by Radio Alhara


About the Organizers

Valiz is an Amsterdam-based independent publishing house in the field of art, theory, critique, design, and urban culture. Valiz has published the Art & Solidarity Reader: Radical Actions, Politics and Friendships, edited by Katya García-Antón, in collaboration with OCA, Office for Contemporary Art Norway. Shaping Solidarity in the Arts will be the book launch of this publication. www.valiz.nl

De Appel is a contemporary arts centre located in De Lely. De Appel makes time and space for artists and allies to pose vital questions. The meaning of solidarity is one of those questions. Lara Khaldi, the artistic director of De Appel, brings along experiences as a former member of the curatorial team of documenta fifteen and has contributed to the Art & Solidarity Reader. www.deappel.nl

Platform BK researches the role of art in society, takes action for better art policy, and promotes solidarity in the arts. In September of 2022, Platform BK organized a three-day Solidarity Camp in collaboration with Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons, Cultural Workers Unite, Engagement Arts NL, Fossil Free Culture NL, Tools for the Times, and Salwa Foundation. Shaping Solidarity in the Arts builds on lessons learned and friends made during this three-day event. www.platformbk.nl


About the Art & Solidarity Reader

Solidarity has re-entered the global zeitgeist with resounding force in the last decades and is especially urgent to consider today. Yet this concept – both a potent ideal and a slippery notion – is one of the least analysed within the arts. Why? It is perhaps because colonialism, Neoliberalism, hyper-individualism and Western-centred concepts of art have eroded visions of a care-based society. Creating a fair and vital social fabric inspired by mutual dependencies between living beings and all entities including fauna, flora, air, land and water, is fundamental for our collective existence. A critical toolbox with intersectional perspectives is needed to examine this minefield and reveal meaningful and inspiring narratives that can guide our future. Working with these complexities, this Reader considers the agency that artists, collectives and art institutions have generated from the 1970s to today to build the radical imaginaries of care and solidarity needed to transform the conditions of our collective existence in the face of local and global crises. Presenting new and historical material, the Reader narrates a series of stories of solidarity across geographies in relation to emergencies connected to ecocide, femicide, genocide, migration, neocolonialism, inter-religious conflicts, class divisions and heteronormativity, amongst others. It also gives a central place to Indigenous perspectives rarely considered when discussing solidarity in the arts.

The Art & Solidarity Reader: Radical Actions, Politics and Friendships was edited by Katya García-Antón and published in 2022 by Valiz in partnership with OCA. You can order the book here or pick up a copy during Shaping Solidarity in the Arts.


About the Contributors

Eszter Szakács
Eszter Szakács is a curator, researcher, and Ph.D. candidate at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) at the University of Amsterdam, where she is taking part in a project IMAGINART—Imagining Institutions Otherwise: Art, Politics, and State Transformation. Eszter is on the curatorial team of the grassroots art initiative OFF-Biennale Budapest, with which they were lumbung members at documenta fifteen. Together with Naeem Mohaiemen, she coedited the forthcoming anthology Solidarity Must Be Defended (tranzit/hu, Van Abbemuseum, SALT, Tricontinental, and Asia Culture Center). She was a team member of the East Europe Biennial Alliance—co-founded by OFF-Biennale Budapest—that collectively curated the Kyiv Biennial in 2021. Eszter worked as curator and editor at tranzit/hu in Budapest between 2011 and 2020. Her research and writing revolve around grassroots art organizing outside state art infrastructures.

Radio Alhara
Launched in Palestine at the very beginning of worldwide lockdowns in March 2020, online radio station Radio Alhara provides a platform for discussion, listening, and community-building. The name, which translates to ‘the neighborhood radio’, is reflective of the nature of the station itself: a close-knit community emerging from the margins, yet open and accessible to the world, bridging boundaries and geographic obstacles.

Mirror Soup Kitchen 

Mirror Soup Kitchen mirrors a soup kitchen from a place hit by disaster or war. The recipes they cook there are prepared and served in exactly the same way, on the exact same day. The money raised will benefit this kitchen so it can continue to cook for those in need. Currently Jasper Roel and Jet cook  for as long as it takes for the activist artist collective Kukhnia residing in Lviv, Ukraine. They cook simple, vegetarian soups from home and distribute them to war refugees or other people in need. They now do this from 7 locations in Lviv. Intagram: @mirrorsoupkitchen & @kukhnia.lviv

Art Goss
Art Goss is a platform for high effort art gossip, founded in November 2020 by artists/writers L. Artimer & M. Gossamer. Art Goss publishes critical narratives and observations on institutions, structures, and phenomena within the Dutch cultural sector and materialises them through instagram, performance and exhibition making. Born out of the inequalities and institutionalised violences of the art world, Art Goss reclaims gossip as a force of legitimate, political knowledge production. Recent presentations include the performance Curriculum Veto at Het Nationale Theater, The Hague; the exhibition Curriculum Veto at Mistral Amsterdam; contributions to group shows and seminars at DAI, Fotodok, Frappant Galerie Hamburg, de Appel Amsterdam, Hotel Mariakapel, Institute for Network Cultures, Workspace Brussels, Kultursommer Hamburg, and others. Instagram: @art.goss

Jue Yang
Jue Yang is an artist, writer, filmmaker and critic based in Rotterdam.

Gizem Üstüner
Gizem Üstüner is a part-time artist based between Amsterdam and Istanbul. Having a background in sculpture, she holds an MA in Fine Art from HKU University of the Arts, in Utrecht (2020). Her practice unfolds the ‘ordinary’ resilience and resistances we perform every day, with a particular focus on precarity, migration, and feminist strategies. By creating tools and methodologies to overcome her daily life struggles, she aims to uncover their broader social, political, and personal meanings– opening up a pathway to see the larger, often invisible power structures that direct our lives. She joined Platform BK in 2021, to co-develop the Solidarity Camp with the core team, a three-day program on creating political change through activism in the arts. She is a member of Starlings Collective, a Utrecht-based theater group that met in Basic Activist Kitchen, bringing migrant narratives to the streets through performances and puppetry. She is currently working on ‘Low-Budget Projects’ a reality channel speaks about the hidden gems of maintaining an art and cultural practice.

Rosa te Velde
Rosa te Velde is a researcher, designer, teacher, a mother and a daughter. From her maternal grandmother she inherited a great love for making things, sewing, knitting, building stuff, making maquettes/models etc. In 2019 she worked with Patricia Kaersenhout on the exhibition design of her monumental installation Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner Too?, here at de Appel. After this, she continued her research into the histories of the building where de Appel is housed now, looking into the ways this building has lived through modernist dreams, segregation and gentrification. She is currently working on starting an amateur choir where resistance songs will be sung, starting from September on (just around the corner from de Appel, at Aslan Muziekschool). This is a project that is part of her work at the Amsterdam University of the Arts (AHK) where she runs a lectorate in Social Justice and Diversity in the Arts together with Aminata Cairo.

Over Platform BK

Platform BK onderzoekt de rol van kunst in de samenleving en voert actie voor een beter kunstbeleid. Wij vertegenwoordigen kunstenaars, curatoren, ontwerpers, critici en andere culturele producenten.