04 mayo 2008

WSPA's double talk.

In every email that I send out personally, and all those which are circulated to large amounts of people, I include this paragraph:

"An item of news about Vargas is circulating, to the effect that he is going to repeat his work of art, showing ANOTHER dog tied up in the gallery during the 2008 Honduras Biennale. PLEASE NOTE! This is just a rumour and totally FALSE. However, the events that occurred in August 2007 in the Códice Gallery in Managua are perfectly true."

But it seems that WSPA has not paid any attention to this, and even knowing that it is not true that Vargas will chase another stray dog through the streets of Honduras to display in the VI Biennale of the Isthmus, they play with the possibility that he may do it, and in this way they justify sending "observers", giving free rein to the organizers to admit Vargas because the largest animal protection organization in the world, through its Honduran associate, will be "watching".

[WSPA] Thank you so much for your email. Sorry for the delay in responding, I was awaiting an update from our Costa Rica Office. With the inconsistencies in the information being obtained, the details about how this dog was kept and his eventual fate are difficult to establish, but the use of live animals for entertainment where their welfare is adversely affected is clearly against WSPA policy.

This artist has been invited to another event, the Honduras Biannual, in November this year and there were fears that he would repeat this 'art'.

(...Este artista ha sido invitado a otro evento, la Bienal Honduras, en noviembre de este año y se teme que se repita este 'arte'.)

WSPA is caught in an untruth because they know perfectly well that Vargas will not repeat himself. This "fear" is only their justification for the pact they made with Mr. Zurcher to send observers in. Zurcher must have it very clearly "Since there will be observers, I can send Vargas without worrying, because I know that there will be no dogs". Our petition for the boycott is being sabotaged by that very organization, WSPA, as they join forces with Art Impresarios".

What WSPA ought to be saying is that "In the certainty that there will be no artwork involving animals, we have no need to send observers to the VI Honduras Biennale, and if there were animals, all the organizers would have to do is call the police and apply the law."

The works will not just be presented on opening day. The organizers will know a long time in advance what the artists are showing. So Vargas couldn't just decide to show an animal when the show opens. Since the organization knows exactly what will be displayed, if one presentation contains an animal, they reject it. That's it. Why would they need observers?

Moreover, the organizers of the VI Central American Biennale have already made a statement on their website, and among other things, it says:

"7. The Association Women in Art "Letitia de Oyuela" and the Organizing Committee of the VI Biennale of Visual Arts of the Central American Isthmus will not consent to, nor will they permit, any acts of aggression against human dignity, nor the exploitation, ill-treatment or abuse of animals as part of any entry to be shown in this cultural artistic event".

If the organizers themselves are guaranteeing that they will not permit any ill-treatment, then why the need for observers? Simply put, it is because they have set it up with Mr. Zurcher. Vargas will participate, he will not show a dog, we know that, but we are going as observers to be sure that he doesn't bring any animals in, and that way we will appear to have "solved the conflict". Yes, with the presence of Vargas totally rejected by the 3,300,000 people who are demanding that he not be admitted.

With our mouth wide open we issue a statement formally requesting that Vargas not be allowed to participate, but out of the corner of our mouth we say that if he does, we'll be there "to observe". This is WSPA's double-talk.

Jaime Sancho

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