Despite declaring that “all artists can apply with performances,” an art festival in Oslo has rejected five Israeli participants due to its support of the BDS movement. “We cannot with a clear conscious invite Israeli participants,” the festival told the artists.

Eden Wiseman

Eden Wiseman Photo Credit: Aviad Oren

Five Israeli artists were barred from participating in the Feminine Tripper festival in Oslo, a Norwegian art event focusing on femininity, gender identities and power. The women were told that the organizers could not “with a clear conscious invite Israeli participants” while Palestinian artists struggled with restricted access to travel.   

“Two weeks ago, I received an answer from ‘Feminine Tripper’ art festival in Oslo dealing with gender and femininity to which I applied,” one of the artists, Eden Wiseman, said in a post on her Facebook account. “I got used to getting all kinds of answers but this time it was in a different style. I’m not surprised but it was overwhelming for me and I’m full of feelings and thoughts that run in my head to all directions!”

The festival's rejection

The festival’s rejection Photo Credit: Facebook screenshot/Eden Wiseman

The five Israeli artists, Eden Wiseman, Roni Rotem, Nitzan Lederman, Maayan Cohen Marciano and Adi Shildan, were told that they were rejected as the organizers believed that the Israeli government “uses culture as a form of propaganda to whitewash or justify its regime of occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people.”

The women drafted a response letter to the organizers of the event. “We find that your decision to deny participation in the festival from Israeli artists is encouraging division,” read the letter. “It should be clearly said that being Israeli doesn’t mean one particular thing; the same applies to any other nation or group around the world. Each of our personalities, thoughts, actions and art are inherently in relation to the realities that surround us.”

Part of the artists' detailed response

Part of the artists’ detailed response Photo Credit: Facebook screenshot/Eden Wiseman

“We consider art as a valuable and important action in the world,” the artists continued. “One that can hopefully make a change.” Despite the artists’ efforts, the organizers responded that due to the festival’s support of the BDS movement, they could not accept the women’s applications.

In its open call for artists, the organizers declared: “All artists can apply with performances, video works, poetry, music, installations, visual works, regardless of age, sex, gender and nationality.”