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School of Law’s Artist in Residence launches new film to highlight human rights violations in the UAE

Manu Luksch created the film ‘Sing and Cry, Cry and Sing’ to draw attention to the shocking treatment of human rights and pro-democracy activists in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Imprisoned Polish fitness celebrity Artur Ligeska
Artur Ligeska, from ‘Sing and Cry, Cry and Sing’

Manu Luksch, Artist in Residence at the School of Law’s Centre for Law and the Humanities has recently released a film, ‘Sing and Cry, Cry and Sing’, as part of the Alternative Human Rights Expo, organised in response to Expo 2020 Dubai. Expo 2020 is a World Expo, being hosted in Dubai from October 2021 to March 2022. World Expos take place every five years, and aim to bring together countries to foster cooperation and educate the general public.

The film focuses on the true story of the imprisonment of Polish fitness celebrity Artur Ligeska in the UAE. Artur was arrested on false charges and found himself in an isolation cell of a maximum-security prison.  Artur tells his story, and explains how the support of his neighbouring inmate, the prominent Emirati prisoner of conscience, Ahmed Mansoor, helped him to maintain hope and survive his nightmare. A trailer/excerpt of the film is available to view online.

Professor Stewart Motha, Dean of the School of Law said, “We are delighted to host Manu Luksch as Artist in Residence at Birkbeck’s School of Law. Her work draws urgent attention to the appalling treatment of human rights and pro-democracy activists. The violent excesses that accompany these abuses of power must stop. We call on the responsible governments to release prisoners such as Ahmed Mansoor in the UAE.”

The Alternative Human Rights Expo is led by over 20 human rights partners and showcases ‘the work of human rights defenders, activists, and artists in the Middle East and North Africa region as an alternative to the Dubai Expo… while also calling attention to detained Human Rights Defenders and violations of human rights, including women’s rights and freedom of expression, in UAE.’

Manu Luksch is an artist and researcher. Through her films and art works, she researches the effects of emerging technologies on daily life, social relations, urban space, and political structures. Her current focus is on corporate-governmental relationships and the social effects of predictive analytics in the algorithmic city.

Artists in Residence are hosted by Birkbeck’s Centre for Law and Humanities, to provide alternative artistic representations of both the political and social issues their research highlights and to produce a series of thought-provoking events for students, staff and the general public.

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