The team behind the “SFEAR” film experiment pulled out of the Sunny Art Fair in protest of the serving of alcohol on the festival’s ground. Currently taking place in Amman between 15-18 December the organizers of the fair are serving alcohol to participants that span Jordan’s art world.
“I was looking forward to the Fair, and to the chance to see how the audience would react to the concept of watching a short film shot with a fish eye lens projected on a spherical object. Because of our values and out of respect for the public attending, we made the decision not to participate in the Fair because of the serving of alcohol,” says director Amr Toukhy.
The ‘regrettable turn of events’ surrounding the serving of alcohol started one day before the art fair was due to start when Toukhy and his team were surprised to learn that spirits will be served on inauguration day of what is supposed to be a public display of original artwork by local Jordanian artists.
“The Fair is an open invitation to the public to come and enjoy the talents of local artists. I am not sure where they got the idea of serving alcohol in the first place,” wonders Rasheed Roussan, one of the actors in Toukhy’s short film with the other being Mohammad Alqaq, a Jordanian artist and social media activist.
“We have dedicated a lot of time and effort to complete this film. We even obtained permission from a Japanese production house in Tokyo to feature a famous Japanese song in the movie’s soundtrack,” explains Roussan. “We cannot be associated with an art fair that opposes our freedom and which attempts to censor our right to display our work in an ethical environment,” he adds.
What surprised us most is the management’s passive reaction to our withdrawal. They apparently prefer featuring a local wine manufacturer at the art fair instead of showcasing our work says Mohammad Alqaq. “I have attended many art events in Europe, people there wouldn’t allow you to drink alcohol or any other beverage or food for that matter out of respect to the art displayed!” he points out. “If you want to drink alcohol and enjoy art, you might as well go to a cabaret.”
Toukhy reiterated he and his team are looking forward to screening the film in other venues soon. “I know the organizers of the Sunny Art Fair has put an enormous amount of work into it, and I am very sad about the regrettable turn of events surrounding the serving of alcohol, which we didn’t know about in the first place