Peace & Art: The World Needs More People Like Erdem

The concept of the “artist citizen” is one to which I am constantly returning. As we see mounting unrest around the world over political and social reform, shaky economies, and repressed and victimized citizens fed up with their lot, these artist citizens are utilizing creative (and gracefully non-violent) means to bring light to injustice and inequalities. Erdem Gündüz, the Turkish artist made famous earlier this week by standing alone in Taksim Square, is a perfect representation of this. Hands in his pocket, Erdem planned to stand in silent protest of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s brutish response to protests against the government for a full month.

Erdem’s stance is powerful, enigmatic even in its stillness. Not only has his peaceful protest spread and incited others all over the world to join, but it challenges how the government can respond to continued protesting. His stint in the square may not have lasted the full month he was hoping for, but its message will last much longer.

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