Founded in New York City in 1994 by a group of passionate students and Tibetans, the Students for a Free Tibet organization has worked continuously over the past couple of decades to center Tibet in global conversations about human rights abuses inflicted by China, and, more recently, to emphasize Tibet’s importance to the Global Climate Strike. Additionally, for the past nine years, SFT has held an Art for Tibet benefit auction to support the Tibetan fight for liberty and autonomy. This year’s iteration will open with an exhibition from November 2 to November 7 at Gallery 8 in Harlem, featuring work by Shepard Fairey, Cey Adams, Pema Rinzin and others. Many of the pieces will be available through an online auction that opens on Friday, October 25, and a live auction of the biggest works will close out the show on the final day.
The exhibition is a new feature of this annual event, allowing buzzy American contemporary artists to have their work displayed alongside Tibetan virtuoso creatives.
“I’ve been a longtime supporter of Students for a Free Tibet because of the work they do to help the Tibetan people gain political independence and freedom,” Fairey said in a statement. “I believe in the power of nonviolent, grassroots movements to create change, and I will continue to advocate for the human rights of Tibetans through my voice and through my art. Free Tibet!”
The Art for Tibet exhibition also is supported by an Honorary Committee, which this year includes Beastie Boys collaborator Cey Adams and French-Tibetan painter Marie-Dolma Chophel. Shepard Fairey, as well as Columbia Professor of Indo-Tibetan Studies Robert Thurman, are dedicated returning members of the committee.
“Art is so important in promoting social justice,” Adams added in a statement of his own. “That’s what art does—it provokes people to think, and I believe it’s our duty to speak on behalf of those fighting for freedom and freedom of speech.” The Beastie Boys would agree.