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Middle East & Africa

Ahmet Ögüt
Li Wenliang (Bronze, Plinth 1), Monuments of the Disclosed

Monuments of the Disclosed by Ahmet Ögüt is an NFT series of digital monuments to whistleblowers. As part of the drop of Augmented Reality sculptures, Ögüt invites the public to participate in populating public space with AR monuments, honoring those who have stood up to corrupt power. Each monument is dedicated to a different individual who stood up to protest systems far larger than themselves.

Following the toppling of racists monuments in 2020, activists and artists have asked the question who should be honored via permanent monument? Traveling the world, one finds city-parks and squares with statues of military heroes, explorers and colonizers, merchants and politicians cast in bronze, marble and stone. Their larger-than-life figures anchor cultural narratives, and tell a story of who and what gets remembered.

In 2015, three anonymous activists (later identified as Jeff Greenspan, Andrew Tider, and Doyle Trankina) installed a bust of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn. While their intervention on the top of an empty doric column was removed only hours later, their monument to “those that sacrifice their safety in the fight against modern-day tyrannies,” was covered in the press and signaled a shift in the public opinion about whistleblowers.

Inspired by this guerilla act, Ögüt collaborated with Artwrld to create a collection of digital monuments to lesser-known whistleblowers. Individuals who, often at tremendous personal sacrifice, exposed the fraud, over-reach and wrongdoing of unrestricted power; and who, more often than not, remain under-appreciated for their acts of courage.

Each bust hovers just above each plinth, defying gravity, or perhaps suggesting they are about to land or be removed. As a result, they are in a perpetual state of tension.

A portion of sales go to The National Whistleblower Center, a tax-exempt, non-partisan organization based in Washington, DC whose mission is to support whistleblowers in their efforts to expose and help prosecute corruption and other wrongdoing around the world.

Ahmet Ögüt’s multidisciplinary and conceptual practice prods cultural norms, and his projects combine criticality with humor. He often collaborates outside the art world in order to “create shifts in the perception of the common.” Ögüt's work has been exhibited at the New Museum, Asia Society, Stedelijk Museum, and Nam-Seoul Museum of Art, as well as in the Liverpool, Istanbul, and Berlin Biennials. Ögüt co- represented Turkey at the 53rd Venice Biennale. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Visible Award for his project The Silent University, an autonomous knowledge-exchange platform by and for refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants.