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October 14-18, 2015"


25 active delegations participated to the 18th General Assembly of UNESCO-IAA/AIAP in Pilsen where several issues related to artist’s conditions were discussed and the new Executive Committee as well as the new President was elected.

On the 18 th of October, Bedri Baykam, President of the Turkish National Committee UPSD was elected as the new World President of UNESCO-IAA/AIAP for a term of four years in between 2015-2019.

The other elected members of the executive committee are Anne Pourny (France, Vice-President), Marta Mabel Perez (Puerto Rico, Treasurer), Cho Kang Hoon (South-Korea, Coordinator for Asia-Pacific), Pavol Kral (Slovakia, Coordinator for Europe), Dolores Ortiz (Mexico, Coordinator for Latin America), Franklyn King Glover (Ghana, Coordinator for African Countries), Katarina Jönsson Norling (Sweden), Maria Moroz (Poland), Christos Symeonides (Cyprus), Ryoji Ikeda (Japan).

The General Assembly also selected few other names to honor. Rosa Maria Burillo Velasco, the ex-President from Mexico and ex-executive Committee Member Anders Liden from Sweden were given the title of “Honorary President”.

Three other names, became Honorary Counselors. Those are, Grete Marstein (Norway, ex-Vice President), Kaan Irie (Japan, ex-Executive Committee Member), Anton Loubser (South Africa, ex- Coordinator for Africa).

As the General Assembly went on after the elections under the Presidency of Baykam, five new resolutions were accepted. Among them, the resolution proposed by Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland, concerning the remuneration of artists whose work were exhibited in public spaces, raised a lot of interest.  

Other important resolutions also passed, concentrating their efforts on the ‘rights of artists’, such as the one put forward by Slovakia “The Status of the Artist” or the one by Cyprus “Every artist has the right to belong to a legal artist’s organization”. Germany, Sweden and Mexico passed a resolution on the striking importance of art education, based on the book of Anne Bamford from 2004 (The Wow Factor). Another very interesting resolution was the one of Sweden, which asks all the National Committee to encourage in their countries all the cities that could join this program of giving shelter or a “Safe Haven” to visual artists and intellectuals at risk like the ICORN Residency Program supported by the Swedish Arts Council. All the Resolutions will be published at the IAA Web site:
The European General Assembly was also held in Pilsen. The German delegate Werner Schaub was elected as the President and the other members of the executive Committee were Anne Pourny (France), Maria Moroz (Poland), Francis Desiderio (Belgium), Elena Gryanova (Russia), Anders Werdelin (Denmark), Pontus Raud (Sweden).

IAA/AIAP's origins
The origins of IAA/AIAP (International Association of Art) can be traced to the Third General Conference of UNESCO, held at Beiruth, Lebanon, in 1948. The Director-General was charged with enquiring into 'ways in which artists might serve the aims of UNESCO', and to discover what obstacles of a social, economic, or political order lay in the path of artists in the practice of their art. He was charged, too, with recommending measures by which artists working conditions could be improved and their freedom assured.

The UNESCO Conference, at its sixth session, in 1951, empowered the Director-General to organize an International Conference of artists to study the actual conditions of artists’ freedom in various countries and to enquire into the means to associate them more closely with UNESCO’s work. Accordingly, in 1952, at a conference of artists held in Venice, 23 governments and 48 associations of artists in 19 countries, declared themselves in favor of the formation of an international association of painters, sculptors and engravers. A provisional council was formed under the chairmanship of Gino Severini (Italy), and a secretariat was opened in UNESCO House in Paris.

In 1954, in Venice, the General Assembly of the fully constituted Association was summoned for the first time and declared the basic aims of IAA/AIAP. At this first Assembly, 18 countries (with National Committees already formed) took part, with observers from another 22 countries. Artists like Miro, Braque, Delaunay, Pasmore, Hartung, Laurencin, Matta, Lurçat, Masson, Vasarely, Moore, Soto, Cesar, Calder, and many others left their print at IAA/AIAP.

Since its creation, UNESCO gave to IAA/AIAP the status of UNESCO partnership NGO with the status of consultative Association. The headquarters of IAA/AIAP are at the UNESCO Building in Paris.

The new World President of UNESCO–IAA/AIAP, Bedri Baykam was born in 1957 in Ankara, Turkey. He studied at the Sorbonne University in Paris between 1975-1980 and got his MBA. He later studied painting and filmmaking at the California College of Art and Crafts between 1980-1984. He has had 134 solo-shows and has participated in several group shows. He has 26 published books and is one of the big defenders of secularism and democracy in Turkey.

He survived a terrorist attack in 2011 by Islamic fundamentalists after having been stabbed after a press conference, about a sculpture/monument in danger.
He had been defending “the Monument of Humanity” of sculptor Mehmet Aksoy that was under the threat of Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdoğan. In spite of resolutions from IAA/AIAP World and Europe, that monument in Kars has been destroyed with the orders of the ex-Turkish Prime Minister.

One of the founders of the Turkish National Committee (UPSD) in 1989, Baykam has been the President of UPSD since 2006. He was an executive Committee member in the previous term both for IAA/Europe and IAA/World.

He also had instigated the World Art Day (WAD) in Guadalajara/Mexico at the 17th General Assembly in 2011, after the resolution of Turkey that he presented was unanimously accepted by the General Assembly. Since that day, the 15th of April, the birthday of Leonardo da Vinci, has been celebrated as World Art Day. This year around 40 nations celebrated were around the world.

Baykam writes for the renowned Turkish daily Cumhuriyet. He has an art Center in Istanbul, Piramid Sanat.

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