05 Oct

Creative Resistance to War and Oppression: A debate & art exhibition

Organized by:KPSRL & Rotterdam Residency Programme
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As recent events in Sudan, Myanmar and Ukraine have shown, artists can play a central role in periods of war and oppression, both as commentators of events and as inspirators for resistance. Creative practice – whether through visual or performing arts – can activate imagination and a broader understanding of injustice, its consequences and the range of alternative possibilities. In times where there is very little space for alternative societal narratives, as is the case in authoritarian states, it may offer one of the few spaces where resistance can be practiced. Engaging with art can simultaneously connect to memories, embodied experiences, and visions of an alternative future. Art can also document the human consequences of war, bringing them into focus for international audiences in ways that allow the audience to continue watching and engaging.

We invite you to a debate, moderated by Sever Dzigurski and including panelists Ambassador Bård Ivar SvendsenBina Saib, Cindy HorstDaria PugachovaDiala Brisly & Kirsten van den Hul on the many roles art plays in times of war, oppression, and exile, asking the question of whether there are ways to make better use of its potential for creative resistance. After the debate, there is an opportunity to see art by Khalid Shatta, Diala Brisly, and Daria Pugachova. This event is made possible due to support PRIO, INSPIRE, Museum Boijmans, Verhalenhuis Belvedere, Goethe Institute and the KPSRL & the Norwegian Embassy in the Netherlands.


Ambassador Bård Ivar Svendsen is Norway’s Ambassador to the Netherlands and Luxembourg, Permanent Representative to the OPCW and the ICC. Ambassador Svendsen previously served as the Ambassador for Arctic and Antarctic Affairs, as the Ambassador to Azerbaijan and Georgia, as well as the Deputy Head of Mission for the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Moscow.

Bina Saib is a Policy Coordinator at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Unit for International Cultural Cooperation. She explores topics such as heritage cooperation, restitution, culture & development in her work and has 20 years of experience in diplomacy and international cooperation.

Cindy Horst is a Research Professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo and co-director of the Centre on Culture and Violent Conflict. Her current research focuses on how individuals, including artists and academics, can challenge the status quo and effect societal change in (post-)conflict settings. 

Daria Pugachova is a Ukrainian artist, performer, and art activist. In her creative practice, Daria uses participatory practices that raise social issues and bridge and private and public divide. She is known for her public space performances and video art.

Diala Brisly is a Syrian artist whose artistic practice spans a variety of media, including animation,  painting, conceptual art, illustration, comic books, and murals. Recurring themes in her work are social justice, freedom, and a desire to give a voice to children.

Halleh Ghorashi is Full Professor of Diversity and Integration in the Department of Sociology at the VU (Vrije Universiteit) Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She has done research on the struggles of refugees in their path of inclusion for the past 25 years. In 2020, she was appointed as a member of KNAW (The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences).

Khalid Shatta is a Norwegian-Sudanese Visual Artist who uses painting as his primary form of creative expression. Originally from Nuba mountains in Sudan, Khalid is known for his large canvases, colorful motifs, and modernist art.

Kirsten van den Hul is a Dutch columnist and politician. She was elected to the House of Representatives for the Labour Party during the 2017 general election. Since October, 2022 she serves as Director of DutchCulture, a Dutch organisation for international cultural cooperation.


Diala, Cindy, Daria & Khalid are part of the Rotterdam Residency programme, supported by PRIO, INSPIRE, Museum Boijmans, Verhalenhuis Belvedere, Goethe Institute and the KPSRL.

Artwork on this page is by Khalid Shatta.

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The Grey Space
Paviljoensgracht 20-24, 2512 BP Den Haag
Learn more about Rotterdam Residency