Dear Friends and Colleagues,
We are very sad to inform you that the protest march and the performance against the phenomenon of have been canceled.
We have had some very crazy days: a few days ago media got hold of our project and produced false reports, and since then it has been excessively reported about. Van Abbe, we (Petra and Annette) and our collaborators Doorbraak and Untold have received both nasty comments and threats from people in Society. All kind of things have escalated and therefore Van Abbe has taken the decision to cancel the event the 30th of August.
Annette and I think that the type of reactions the project has received just proves the sensitivity of the topic, which makes us even more convinced that the phenomenon of the Zwarte Piet and its underlaying structures have to be discussed. We see the reactions as symptoms of these very structures.
We think it is very problematic that Van Abbe was impelled to cancel the protest march. The protest march would have been a platform for those voices that have not been heard and listened to neither in the past nor in the last days. What kind of society are we living in where artists cannot express themselves freely and where there is no public space left to voice critique and to disagree with each other? This is, what we all have to reflect upon and to fight for.
Therefore we see the urgency to reopen a discussion on a broader scale and we will continue working on that together with Doorbraak, Untold, Van Abbe and everyone else who wants to join in on a non-violent debate on the significance of Zwarte Piet in present society.
We will get back to you with a longer statement and explanation when we have had the time to reflect on what is happening and has happened on these days.
All the best to you
Petra and Annette