Following the protests that accompanied the initial installation of Shahzia Sikander’s exhibition, Havah… to breathe, air, life on the University of Houston campus, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) expresses its relief that the Public Art of the University of Houston System plans to complete the exhibition display. While acknowledging this positive development, NCAC maintains concerns that Public Art UHS’s initial response—delaying the installation and its events, and publishing a FAQ without consultation of the artist—cast doubt about the program’s support of the exhibition. 

However, NCAC is optimistic that these remaining issues can be addressed, offering its expertise and resources to assist Public Art UHS in navigating these challenges effectively. 

Additionally, NCAC urges Public Art UHS to facilitate a campus-wide discussion on the crucial intersection of public art and free expression in today’s polarized political climate. Such a dialogue will foster understanding and underscore Public Art UHS’s unwavering commitment to artistic freedom. NCAC stands ready to provide any necessary assistance to support the success of such an important initiative.

In extending this offer of support and encouragement, NCAC reaffirms its dedication to protecting artistic expression and promoting robust dialogue within educational institutions. Public Art UHS can seize this opportunity to enrich the campus community’s appreciation for diverse perspectives and creative expression by engaging in constructive discourse.

“We commend Public Art UHS for its commitment to showcasing Shahzia Sikander’s thought-provoking exhibition,” stated Elizabeth Larison, Director of NCAC’s Arts and Culture Advocacy Program. “We are confident that by addressing concerns and fostering open dialogue, Public Art UHS will affirm its role as a champion of artistic freedom within the academic community.”

Read NCAC’s full letter to the Public Art of the University of Houston System here:
Click here for a full-screen view: