SUSANNE KÖHLER / Susanne Köhler is a graphic designer living in Frankfurt am Main. On the occasion of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo in 2015 she founded the art project “Wahrheitskämpfer”
“In May 2020, We painted nearly 40 journalists those under the threat of Corona in Silivri Prison and sent their portraits to the President. Did any response come from Erdogan? No. But that doesn’t matter. Lets continue!”
Is there actually a memorial for press freedom?
Yes, there is, online. On www.wahrheitskaempfer.de artists have painted portraits of murdered, imprisoned and persecuted journalists. The result is an impressive collection of very different portraits. Under the motto REMEMBER THEIR FACES – REMEMBER THEIR STORIES, visitors to this online memorial can meet over 300 brave heroes of press freedom – and our collection is constantly growing. Because TRUTH FIGHTERS is an open project that 35 artists worldwide have already joined. And there are more and more.
It is the atrocities of the powerful that the journalists brought to light.
Powerful politicians, powerful police officers, powerful drug gangs, powerful industrialists have not obeyed the law, have plundered and destroyed nature, raped, stolen or allowed themselves to be bribed. Journalists reported on this before they were intimidated, threatened, arrested, tortured and murdered. From just these people. Most of them go unpunished.
Outrage, anger and powerlessness – but we counter these negative feelings with something positive:
Gratitude and admiration for the courage of these journalists. It is beautiful to see how much determination and curiosity speak from their faces and it is each time touching for us to do them this honor, to draw them and to unite them in our collection. We are physically showing parts of this collection in a traveling exhibition around the world and are working among others with Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International and UNESCO.
When almost 40 Turkish journalists in the high security prison Silivri were threatened by Corona in May 2020, we quickly portrayed all those affected and presented their portraits as an open letter with over 100 signatories sent to President Erdogan among others.
We advertised for more signatories in the shop windows of bookstores, art galleries and cinemas.
An answer from Erdogan? Nothing. But that doesn’t matter. Keep going! In Yemen 4 courageous journalists are threatened with the death penalty, in Lukashenko’s Belarus we are digging up old cases of murders of journalists and drawing admirably brave, active Belarusian journalists of the present. Our latest case is the murder of the Mexican journalist Julio Valdivia. He was beheaded, but it was supposed to look like a motorcycle accident on the train tracks.
I would like to invite you all to visit our project on the internet.
Perhaps you know of cases that are still missing and can provide us with information. Perhaps you know artists who like to draw portraits? Or would you like to research and write texts yourself? Support this project! Our non-profit association ,,Wahrheitskämpfer“ (Truth Fighters) e.V. is also happy to receive donations.