Cartoonist David Shrigley designs 'balaclava' t-shirt in support of Pussy Riot

‘It’s an utter disgrace that Pussy Riot have been locked up for daring to voice their views’ - David Shrigley

The celebrated visual artist David Shrigley has created a new design in support of jailed members of the Russian protest band Pussy Riot, as part of Amnesty International’s campaign for the three imprisoned members of the band.

Shrigley’s striking pink balaclava design - featuring the words “Free Pussy Riot” and the artist’s name - is being turned into a campaign t-shirt by Amnesty after strong demand for t-shirts and other campaigning materials from members of the public and Amnesty’s supporters.

The Glasgow-based Shrigley, a regular serio-comic cartoonist in newspapers and in numerous books, is a strong supporter of Amnesty and the organisation commissioned his design shortly after the recent trial of Pussy Riot. The t-shirt - in pink on black - will be available from Monday 24 September (see www.amnestyshop.org.uk) - and all proceeds from sales will go towards Amnesty’s human rights work.

David Shrigley said “If my art work stands for one thing it’s the joy of being able to express yourself - in words and in images - without fear or favour.

“Free expression is the bedrock of any society worth living in and it’s an utter disgrace that Pussy Riot have been locked up for daring to voice their views.

“I like to think my design says it all - ‘Free Pussy Riot!’”

Despite wide international concern, last month Moscow’s City Court sentenced Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova to two years in a penal colony for the offence of “hooliganism on grounds of religious hatred” after they performed a protest song in Moscow’s main Orthodox cathedral in February. Lawyers for the three are currently lodging an appeal against the verdict.

Amnesty has condemned the trial as politically motivated, saying they were wrongfully prosecuted for what was a legitimate - if potentially offensive - protest action. The organisation considers all three activists to be prisoners of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful expression of their beliefs, and is currently calling for the convictions to be overturned and for the three Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights to be released immediately and unconditionally.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said:

“David’s design beautifully captures the spirit of this campaign - which is all about standing up for art, standing up for free expression and standing up for human rights.

“The Pussy Riot trial always looked politically-motivated and putting them in jail represents a bitter blow for freedom of expression in Russia.”

Amnesty’s denunciation of the Pussy Riot convictions comes against a backdrop of recent restrictions on the freedom of expression and association in Russia after a wave of anti-government protests during parliamentary and presidential elections in the country.

Notes

David Shrigley’s new book - How are you Feeling?: At the Centre of the Inside of The Human Brain’s Mind - will be published by Canongate Books on 4 October. A major exhibition of his work will also take place at the Cornerhouse in Manchester from 6 October 2012 - 6 January 2013 (see www.cornerhouse.org/art/art-exhibitions/david-shrigley-how-are-you-feel…).

For more information on Amnesty’s campaign for the Pussy Riot three see www.amnesty.org.uk/pussyriot

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