Artist Facing Prison Time in Turkey – Petition

Last year I mentioned that the British born collage artist Michael Dickinson had been accused of insulting the prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He was held by Turkish police for ten days after exhibiting works which included one where prime minister Erdogan was depicted as a pet dog being patted by president Bush.

Turkish prime minister and American President Bush

The artist thought he had served his time and that the issue would be dropped, but he has now been summoned to appear in court on the 8th of October and faces up to two years in a Turkish prison.

The artist says “When the judge asked me to describe what I was trying to say in my 2 collage pictures of Erdogan in the role of America’s dog, I said that it was up to the viewer to make his own interpretation; a visual artist shouldn’t need to explain in words. Pictures are for eyes. Words (spoken) are for ears.
I said that over the years I’d made countless collage pictures of President GW Bush and Tony Blair in much more unflattering roles without persecution. In the Western/European world, artists are allowed to express their feelings in their works.”

MungBeing has started a petition for Michael Dickinson and is encouraging people from around the world to support the artist and the right of freedom of expression in Turkey by adding your name to the list.
>> Turkish Art News, Controversial News

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. Choose an Identity says:

    Does this mean that Turkey has no political cartoonists? Political cartoons are the only parts I bother to look at in the political pages of the newspaper. They’re usually the only truth in politics.

  2. I can remember political cartoons in the newspapers in Turkey, but my Turkish wasn’t very good, so I couldn’t always understand the captions.

    Here’s some cartoons on an English Turkish newspaper, Zaman. I couldn’t find anything that would be likely to create a controversy in their archives though.

    Here’s a list of people that have recently found themselves in trouble because of this ridiculous and archaic law.

  3. if you don’t go to jail for your art, you are not applying yourself to the right cause.

  4. Are you sure youre talking about art Patrick.. not robbing banks?

    If I had something really controversial to say, and thought that others should hear my message, I would do what Banksy is doing. They can’t prosecute you if they don’t know who you are.

  5. You have to admire people like that who are willing to sacrifice their freedom to alert the world to political problems

  6. It is always up to the artist to push the limits for social change

  7. itjustaintliving says:

    im possibly one of the most open-minded people out there where art is concerned and i like this piece and the context behind it but what “artmarketblog . com” said about admiring someone who is willing to risk their freedom to alert this (somewhat clueless) world of the political problems its facing..(i believe) is a load of bull..

    fair enough admire someone as selfless as Nelson Mandela for the things he has brought to the table but someone just making fun out of the political situation isnt really “standing for your rights” as such, its merely another artist trying to see how far they can push “it” once again..i like the work, made me chuckle..but it doesnt make me “admire” him just for stating the fairly obvious..sorry! x

  8. iam wd the blogs that have a great ideas so keep it up


  1. [...] My opinion on the situation is that politics and art don’t happily mix, but I do love a good political cartoonist. I think artists should have the right to say things that are political though, without it costing them their freedom. Most political art has a very short shelf life, just like the politicians they depict. The best way to make political art live a little longer is to hire a bunch of protestors to march at the exhibition or to have the artist put in prison. [...]

  2. […] A possible prison sentence isn’t something that I would like hanging over my head for another five months. It’s probably not a good thing for the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdo─čan either, especially if he really is offended by the collages that insulted his dignity. The collages might have been seen by a few hundred people if Michael Dickinson hadn’t been charged, but now they are being seen by many thousands of people all around the world. The media, bloggers and website owners love nothing better than a controversy, so they’re happy to mention the story. […]

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