Israeli artist refuses to open Venice show in war protest
ROME: (Reuters) The artist chosen to represent Israel at the prestigious Venice Biennale art fair said on Tuesday that she was refusing to open the national pavilion until there was a ceasefire and hostage release deal in Gaza.

“I feel that the time for art is lost,” Ruth Patir wrote in a statement on Instagram, explaining why she and the exhibits’ two curators had decided to shutter the show.

“And so if I am given such a remarkable stage, I want to make it count,” she said.

Almost 9,000 people, including artists and museum directors, signed an online appeal in February calling for Israel to be excluded from the Biennale art fair and accusing the country of genocide in Gaza during its war against Hamas.

Israel rejects any accusation of genocide and both the Biennale organisers and the Italian government dismissed the petition, saying it was vital for Israel to be given space at the show.

Dubbed the “Olympics of the art world”, the Biennale is one of the main events in the international arts calendar. This year’s edition, “Foreigners Everywhere”, is due to host pavilions from 90 countries between April 20 and Nov 24.