“Artists against apartheid:” First Friday opening and panel

Friday, January 5
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Indianapolis Liberation Center

1800 N Meridian St, Ste 305

Our monthly series, “First Fridays; Unleashing the Creativity of the Masses,” is part of our effort to not only unite different struggles, but to thread different avenues of struggle together. We cannot create a new system without also creating a new culture. Our initial First Friday of 2024 demonstrates that we are creating a revolutionary culture neither in isolation nor from scratch.

In January, we show a selection of works by “Artists Against Apartheid,” a growing international collective of artists who “understand the power that our work has in shaping public opinion in our time” and acknowledge their “unique responsibility to use our voice and artistic practices to protest apartheid and amplify the just cause of the Palestinian people and their resistance against occupation and oppression.” They take up the legacy of “Art Against Apartheid, a multinational collective of artists fighting apartheid in South Africa and supporting the resistance that eventually overthrew the apartheid system—a resistance that, at the time, the U.S. labeled as ‘terrorists.'”

Each work in our exhibition speaks in its own way to the power of art to transform our sense of the present world and possible worlds, the horrors of Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism, the joy of resistance and the beauty of the coming victory. They present a horizon that lets us imagine what true liberation and democracy look like not just in Palestine, but here in Indianapolis.


Doors: 6:00 pm
Panel and discussion: 7:00 pm
Informal discussion: 8:00 pm

At 6:00 pm, doors to the event open for an hour of socializing, informal discussions of the artworks, and engaging the space in whatever ways desired. Around 7:00 pm, we’ll start an hour-long panel and discussion featuring commentary on the show by cultural workers and activists, plus an update on the struggle against racism at Newfields.

We are honored to feature Nasreen Khan, an educator and cultural worker who lived in Indonesia and Senegal before moving to Indianapolis. Khan’s writing, teaching, artistic, and other practices explore life on the margins, a space where the diverse global working class finds a home to build unity. Khan will be joined by composer Clockwork Jones, Founder and Owner of Indianapolis-based Clockwork Music who unites a background in oboe, composition, jazz, and hip hop to produce events and “music aligned with observable rhythms of the universe.”

The discussion continues on an informal basis from 8:00 – 9:00 pm.

Throughout the night, we will have beautifully printed 11×17 posters available for purchase, light food and beverages for all ages and tastes available for donations, and plenty of literature and information to arm yourself and others with.

The opening is free to the public, but as an independent community space funded solely by donations and run exclusively by volunteers, monetary contributions of any kind are the foundation of the work we do and are greatly appreciated.

Since the heroic uprising on October 7, 2023, Indianapolis has demonstrated solidarity with Palestine in numbers, consistency, and diversity that are unprecedented in our city. In addition to the impressive protests, rallies, participation in the National March for Palestine to outreach, car caravans, discussions, forums, and other tactics, our inaugural 2024 First Friday engages the realm of art and culture as a vital weapon in the international struggle for a liberated Palestine and world.

The show will be on display until January 31.

About the Arte Mexicano en Indiana Gallery’s First Friday series

The Arte Mexicano en Indiana gallery is the premier artistic space in Indianapolis with an explicit focus on social justice and liberation. At the Indianapolis Liberation Center, we encourage our community to “unleash the creativity of the masses;” the founding theme behind all of our First Friday exhibits.

We are inspired by and practicing a sentiment Stephen Jay Gould expressed when he wrote in The Panda’s Thumb that “I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.”

In an ever-evolving struggle towards liberation and community power, we must have art that reflects the wills and desires of the working poor and oppressed, rather than works that center on the whims of the privileged few. Creating inspiring and meaningful artwork is a powerful tool to nourish not just our own souls, but to empower our communities to imagine that a better world is possible.