To the organisers of the 19th Biennale of Sydney,
We are workers and educators in the arts sector.
We were concerned to hear that a major sponsor of the Biennale, Transfield, is currently contracted to assist with the running of Regional Processing Centres (RPCs) on Nauru and Manus Island. These RPCs are part of the infrastructure of the Australian Government’s policy of mandatory detention, a policy that has been condemned by organisations such as the UNHCR for human rights abuses and breaches of international law. The Nauru and Manus Island RPCs in particular have come under criticism for the harsh and inhumane conditions in which people seeking asylum have been kept.
We note in this respect that RISE: Refugees, Survivors and Ex-Detainees – Australia’s only organisation run and governed by refugees, asylum seekers and ex-detainees – support a complete boycott of the Biennale.
We feel that it would be irresponsible on our part to support an event funded with profits made from the inhumane detention of people seeking asylum in Australia.
For this reason we wish to inform you that we have decided to boycott the 19th Biennale of Sydney.
Dr Lorraine Bower
Dr Matthew Holt
Dr Suzanne Osmond
Please let us know in a comment below if you would like to add your name to this letter.