13-16 October 2016

Antigone is a well-known character from Greek myth. She is a teenage girl who sets out to do what she believes is morally right. She does not aspire to be a rebel or a hero, but through her actions she becomes a threat to the state. During her prosecution she discovers the power of her voice. When she speaks, the world is willing to listen. Her fight is personal, but its enduring significance is far-reaching and universal.

This is the narrative of Sophocles’ play from 2,500 years ago, but it also echoes the real-life story of contemporary Pakistani activist and Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai. The spirit of Antigone is a symbol for countless young women in the world today whose acts of heroism never reach our ears, partly because the threat they are facing is too great or they are silenced too soon. And yet they are bringing forth change, real and meaningful. Together they form an active, rising force, one that deserves to be acknowledged and honored. As Nicholas Kristof wrote in the New York Times, “sometimes the most effective weapon against terrorists isn’t a drone but a girl with a book.”

The 2016 Onassis Festival of Arts and Ideas, Antigone Now, will celebrate the work of these modern-day Antigones and explore the many ways in which an individual can take a stand to affect positive change in the world, by promoting open dialogue and unity.

Olympic Tower, 645 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10022

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Carrie Mae Weems is an UC San Diego Department of Visual Arts MFA Alumna. For more about her work, please visit: