A statement signed by local and national figures has been sent to the
Centre for Contempoary Arts in the Natural World (CCANW) following its refusal to return funding for the exhibition “Forest Tunes”, or distance itself from the Israeli government. Classical guitarist John Williams and author Ahdaf Souief have been joined by many local artists, authors and trade union officials. David Halpin, the retired surgeon from Dartmoor who founded the Dove and Dolphin charity to take medical aid to children in Gaza, is also backing the statement. The story has already been reported in the local press; http://www.thisisexeter.co.uk/news/Forest-arts-centre-Israeli-funds-row/article-1397510-detail/article.html
Lizi Allnatt from EPSC said,
“We do not accept the centre’s assertion that the funding for this exhibition comes from a non political source, and this has been highlighted in many of the letters which we know have been sent in to complain to the art centre. The Israeli Foreign office is one of the funding bodies to BI Arts - there is even a link straight to it on the BI arts main webpage! We know many people have written into the centre detailing their concerns and in response have received a standard reply which does not address many of the questions they have raised.
We have written in the last few days once again asking for certain questions to be answered. The CCANW gets funding from private and public sources and as citizens of Exeter we feel our concerns have not been met. We are still urging people to continue to write in to the Centre.
However, as it seems the Arts Centre, the Director and the Artist herself are not going to return the funding or even make a statement distancing themselves from Israel’s illegal policies, including the UN cited war crimes in Gaza Israel, we are asking people to join us for a silent gathering at 1.30pm outside the CCANW on Sun 11th (the official opening of the Forest Tunes exhibition is 2.00pm). We hope to show images of the environmental damage caused by Israel’s policy of settlement and segregation wall building, of olive tree destruction, of water pollution and illegal Israeli settlements taking water from Palestinian land, all of which have been caused to the land in the Occupied Territories and Gaza.”