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Erdem Gunduz

Turkish performance artist and dancer

Erdem Gunduz, also known as the “Standing Man,” is a performance artist who rose to prominence during the 2013 anti-government protests in Turkey. On June 17, 2013, after the Turkish state issued a ban on demonstrations in Istanbul, Gunduz stood silently on the sealed-off Taksim Square for more than six hours, between the times of 6 p.m. and 2 a.m., staring at an image of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. As Gunduz’s peaceful protest circulated on Twitter, other individuals began to emulate him. The Turkish police tried to provoke a response out of the motionless Gunduz, unfazed by such provocations. Inspired by his act of civil disobedience, hundreds of protesters joined him, becoming a powerful symbol of the protests. In 2013, Gunduz was given the M100 Media Award by the International Potsdam Media Forum due to his “courageous commitment to freedom of expression and human rights.”

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