The whistleblowers and government secrets revealers Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden are not free to travel. But, this week — in the form of a sculpture including their life-sized bronze statues — they are standing in a Geneva, Switzerland plaza near the European headquarters of the United Nations. The sculpture’s message is anti-war, says its Italian sculptor Davide Dormino.
“Anything to say?”, is a life size bronze sculpture, portraying three figures each one standing on a chair. The fourth chair is empty because it is our chair. The one for us to stand up on to express ourselves or simply to stand next to Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, who had the courage to say no to the intrusion of global surveillance and to lies that lead to war. Both loved and hated, they chose to lose the comfort zone of their lives, to tell the truth.
The work has been inspired by Charles Glass, author, journalist, and broadcaster, and brought to life by artist Davide Dormino who believes in the power of Public Art. It has the power to make people grow and change their point of view. The chair has a double meaning. It can be comfortable, but it can also be a pedestal to rise higher, to get a better view, to learn more. They all chose to get up on the chairs of courage. They made their move in spite of becoming visible, thus threatened and judged. Some think they are traitors. History never had a positive opinion of contemporary revolutionaries. You need the courage to act, to stand up on that empty chair because it hurts.
The speakers at the event who stood up on the chair armed with megaphones were: Davide Dormino, sculptor, Michel Rediske for Reporters without Frontiers, Hans Christian Strobele from the German green party, Sarah Harrison for Wikileaks, Annie Machon, former MI5 intelligence officer, Ulrich Schreiber, director of Berlin International Literature Festival, Anjhula Mya Singh Bais actress and human rights activist.
The sculpture does not endorse any specific political ideals or religious beliefs, neither does it belongs to any specific country. Courage is for all.