contributor to MungBeing, may be jailed for displaying art depicting
Turkey's Prime Minister receiving a blue ribbon from George W. Bush in a
piece entitled "Best in Show". We at MungBeing throw our support fully
behind an artist's right of free expression. The Turkish courts,
however, may not agree. Michael's court date is October 8th, 2007. I'm
writing to ask if you would be willing to draft a letter of support on
behalf of Michael Dickinson, specifically addressing his validity as an
artist and the art-worthiness of his work. These letters are intended to
be used as part of Mr. Dickinson's defense to demonstrate to the court
the value and import we place on artistic inquiry and an artist's right
to self expression.
There are several informational links at the end of this email including
an excellent in-depth interview with Michael Dickinson (featuring the
artwork in question, "Best in Show") in issue nine of MungBeing.
If you are able to write a letter of support, please email a copy to:
Please include your name, occupation, and contact information in your
Here's how Michael describes this unfortunate situation:
"[I was] called to court again unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago, when
a cop rang my doorbell and handed me a summons to appear in court on 25
April at 11.30 in connection with the collages I made last year
depicting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in the role of a dog,
controlled and feted by American President George W Bush.
I was surprised, thinking all that stuff had finished after my arrest
and prolonged detainment in police custody last year.
In my defense I said that the collages were not meant as a personal
attack on the Prime Minister, but his position, and the fact that
President Bush considers him a useful friend and ally. Turkish soil is
home to American nuclear bombs at the US airbase at Diyarbakir.
I said that I was an artist(?) and did not usually plan my collages,
but acted on inspiration at the time of making, often as a reaction to
news of what is happening in the world, particularly Iraq.
When the judge asked me to describe what I was trying to say in my 2
collage pictures of Erdogan in the role of America's dog, I said that it
was up to the viewer to make his own interpretation; a visual artist
shouldn't need to explain in words. Pictures are for eyes. Words
(spoken) are for ears.
I said that over the years I'd made countless collage pictures of
President GW Bush and Tony Blair in much more unflattering roles without
persecution. In the Western/European world, artists are allowed to
express their feelings in their works.
The trial has been adjourned until 8th October. During that time the
court will seek the opinion of a number of Turkish university professors
as to whether my collages are 'art' or crime.
In the meantime I'm 'free'."
I hope to hear from you soon and thank you for your support,
The Offending Image
June 8, 2006: The Bush's Dog Case
Criminal Collage By MICHAEL DICKINSON
July 26, 2006: "Sorry, We Thought You Were Israeli!"
Arrested in Istanbul By MICHAEL DICKINSON
May 2, 2007: Criminalizing Art
Trouble in Turkey By MICHAEL DICKINSON
June 17, 2006: Satire that could land British artist in a Turkish jail
By Dalya Alberge, Arts Correspondent, and Suna Erdem in Istanbul
Information About Michael Dickinson
August, 2006: Outspoken
a conversation with Michael Dickinson by David "Starchy" Grant
Stuckism coverage and information