BOGOTA – Colombian sculptor John Fitzgerald sewed up his mouth to demand more budget for culture, laws that grant certain rights to artists and to reject violence in the country.
Fitzgerald, who remains on hunger strike and takes shelter from the rain under a white tent located in central Bogota, told EFE on Thursday that his protest also seeks that “Colombia raises its voice.”
“What I am doing is for art, for the people,” he said. “A career as an artist does not come with a pension plan” that allows them to live with dignity.
Shopkeepers in the area and passersby expressed support for the artist who began the hunger strike on Sunday, also to protest against recent massacres.
At least 43 people in the departments of Arauca, Antioquia, Nariño, Cauca, Norte de Santander and Valle del Cauca have been killed in the recent spate of unrest as a wave of violence grips the country.
Fitzgerald said that despite the fact many people have died from the coronavirus and others have gone bankrupt because of the pandemic, there are people who “do not lose faith” in their beliefs and that he would not either.
The sculptor is confident Colombia will be able to get ahead because despite having several problems, the country is “rich in human beings.”
Last Sunday, more than a hundred artists and thinkers expressed their weariness with the incessant violence that plagues the country in a virtual protest.
The protest brought together people from across the spectrum of Colombian society whose common denominator is the rejection of the killings.
“This is an urgent matter of empathy, of sensitivity. I believe that the country has reached its limit and this is the moment to react and connect with the need to take care of life, a dignified life, life in all its forms,” musician Cesar Lopez said during the virtual demonstration “A song for Colombia: Until we love life.”