“Unhealthy”, “vulgar”, “pedophile” … the Avignon festival defends its controversial poster

Internet users were indignant after the publication of the poster for the Avignon festival, even to the point of launching a petition to have it removed. The director of the festival, which will take place from July 7 to 26, reacted.

“Shocking”, “unhealthy”, “vulgar”, “promotion of pedophilia and pornography”, the latest poster of the Avignon Festival obviously caused a lot of reaction from some Internet users since it was unveiled on Facebook on Monday, April 25.

The object of the crime? Naked young women drawn by the Afghan artist Kubra Khademia refugee in France since 2015. Behind the drawing, Internet users say they are shocked to the point that some have even launched a petition to demand its withdrawal, very little signed for the time being.

“Free Bodies”

Faced with a few comments under the Facebook post, the Festival recalled what the artist’s work consists of. “Kubra Khademi is a feminist whose paintings and performances are nourished by the situation of his country” one can read in response. “His representations of women do not arise from the desire to show their nudity. They come from the evidence of putting on stage of free bodies”, he adds.

An answer that did not really convince Internet users: “it’s about children, it’s not acceptable” is offended by one person.

“Fundamentalists” takes offense at Olivier Py

Olivier Py, director of the Festival, says he is appalled by this pseudo-controversy and evokes this Wednesday in the columns of the Dauphiné Libéré this: “Those who see little girls, I send them back to their own fantasies but I think it was Kubra who drew herself,” he says, denouncing “the fundamentalists from all sides [qui] meet to be always offended by the woman’s body.

And to add that he has never “made a Festival poster that is not controversial”.

Paul Rodin, the deputy director of the Festival d’Avignon, also says he is overwhelmed by what is said on the poster, judging the work of the thirty-year-old artist “even more powerful than all the feminists in the world. This poster is sweet , generous, hospitable, full of hope for women”, he explains.

The last season of Olivier Py

This is his ultimate program at the head of the Festival d’Avignon. But the 76th edition (July 7 to 26) will be “neither summary nor commemorative” says Olivier Py. And if the theme “Once upon a time” seems timeless, world news will resonate as always in the 46 guest shows. In an era troubled by “false narrations, the colonization of memory, the falsification of the heritage”, Olivier Py brandishes the truth of the theater, “the right stories”.

Strange coincidence: chosen well before the war in Ukraine, the Russian Kirill Serebrennikov opens the festival in the Cour d’honneur with “Le moine noir” (a first version of which was given in Hamburg). Fierce opponent of Vladimir Putin, director, film director, Serebrennikov embodies a libertarian spirit which has earned him some setbacks in Russia. He returns for the fourth time in Avignon (we remember his caustic “Dead souls” according to Gogol) by declining from four different angles a little known short story by Chekhov.

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