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The Indiana Daily Student

campus administration

International museum watch group decries “censorship” at IU in Samia Halaby show cancellation


The International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art Museum Watch condemned the cancellation of several exhibits associated with pro-Palestinian views, including Samia Halaby’s exhibition at IU’s Eskenazi Museum of Art, in a statement Monday.  

On Dec. 15, IU canceled an exhibition from Halaby, a renowned Palestinian abstract artist, after it had been planned for three years. Though IU cited security concerns as the reason for cancellation, it has not yet provided information about whether it received a specific, credible threat.  

In the wake of the decision, Halaby’s grandniece — Madison Gordon — launched a petition asking IU to reinstate the exhibition. Though the petition has over 14,000 signatures, the deadline Gordon and Halaby gave to IU to reinstate the exhibition was Jan. 12.  

CIMAM, an international network of contemporary art experts associated with the International Council of Museums, works to foster discussion and debate regarding issues with modern art. 

 In the statement, the committee calls the decisions censorship.  

“In this time of conflict and crisis, CIMAM would like to stress the importance of preserving the museum as a space for free artistic expression,” the statement reads. “It is more urgent than ever that the diversity of artistic voices is guaranteed and that artistic positions from situations in crisis get more space, not less.” 

In addition to IU, the organization referenced cancellations at the Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany and the Saarland Museum’s Modern Gallery in Saarbrücken, Germany, as well as the postponement of a panel discussion involving an artist at the Wexner Center for Arts at Ohio State University.  

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