Public art invites us to show solidarity with whistleblowers

Rachel Evans standing in solidarity with legendary whistleblowers.
Socialist Alliance candidate Rachel Evans stands in solidarity with truth-tellers Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning. Photo: Peter Boyle

Italian artist Davide Dormino’s life-sized bronze sculptures, representing the figures of legendary persecuted truth-tellers Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden standing on chairs, were on public display in Sydney and Melbourne in early March as part of an ongoing global tour.

Anything to say? A monument to courage includes a fourth empty chair next to the three, where the public is invited to stand on and speak out in solidarity with whistleblowers.

One of the many people to take up this offer when the statues were on display in Sydney was Rachel Evans, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Heffron in the New South Wales elections.

“Without these three people’s truth-telling, the imperialist ruling class would get away with murder, torture and more,” Evans told Green Left.

She urged solidarity with other brave whistleblowers in Australia: “We need to stand with Witness K and Bernard Collaery, who exposed Australia’s bugging of the Timor Leste cabinet office to help oil companies steal our newly independent neighbour’s natural resources.

“We also need to stand with David McBride and other soldiers who exposed the Australian military’s war crimes in Afghanistan.”

Evans added that the global tour of Dormino’s work is a powerful example of art activism, because “courage is contagious”.