The seventh edition of the “Manif d’Art” exhibit (“Art Demo”) was held from May 3 to June 1 in Québec City. Under the theme of “Resistance,” this biennial exhibit presented various works whose common purpose was to question the current system and even propose a new society—communism.
At the exhibit’s central venue, the works of Claire Fontaine critically examined capitalism. The words “CAPITALISM KILLS LOVE”, written in neon like a giant billboard, greeted the visitors at the entrance. Also written in neon, the word “STRIKE” would appear when visitors stopped moving at the same time, suggesting that a joint effort and solidarity can overcome the system. Other works such as those from Martin Bureau, Richard Martel, Dominique Blain and Rebecca Belmore evoked resistance in the context of imperialist globalization, political and police repression, and the resistance of indigenous peoples.
Two video documentaries particularly drew our attention. Oliver Ressler’s “Take the Square” includes footage from mass mobilizations in Madrid, Athens and New York in 2011; it shows that democracy is slowly disappearing as the capitalist system itself is rotting and that the latter should also be ended. Mark Boulos’ “No Permanent Address” addresses the persistence of communism in the current world by showing comrades of the New People’s Army organizing peasants and leading a Maoist revolution in the Philippines. This last video is truly striking; it speaks of courage, of struggle for justice and equality, of proletarian feminism, of education and organization.
In Boulos’ video, reality surpasses art as viewers are transported into a real war where people are fighting, not for money or bourgeois domination but to establish a new kind of social, political and economic organization—that of the communism they are already experiencing in their daily lives as members of the NPA.
The subtitle of the exhibit read: “And then, we have built new forms.” In fact, these “new forms” are sometimes already built, while many more remain to be built, as the fight against imperialism unfolds. As suggested by the exhibit, reality must surpass the artistic work that inspires us and expresses people’s aspirations. Let’s engage in a real, palpable and daily struggle against capitalism and for communism!