#99RedBalloons was a Protest art installation standing in solidarity with persecuted atheists and blasphemers from across the globe, involving notable atheists including David Silverman of American Atheists.
The first of her protest installations, Victoria Gugenheim wants to carry on making bigger and bolder works of art in solidarity with those persecuted simply for nonbelief.
Each blood red balloon in the installation had the name of an atheist who had been persecuted or killed simply for their nonbelief, along with their reason for conviction and death or persecution date; akin to a toe tag on a cadaver.
The meaning of this was to bring an immediacy to the fact that atheists are persecuted, punished, taken away from their families, and killed accross the world, notably in Islamic states. But when a problem happens overseas, it's all too easy for people to see the problem as problem "over there". When one is holding something linking them to the event, it creates an immediacy; evidenced by one of the attendees breaking down crying at the "power of the protest". Another ended up holding a balloon with the tag of his friend on it: he found out on that night, that his friend had been assassinated.
Victoria believes that these pieces of work are vital in creating empathy and solidarity with those suffering under oppressive regimes, and that they encourage others to take action in fighting for the rights of people to not believe in any religion, with much more of her works coming up relating to this.
See her personal account of the work over on her instagram.
Watch the video here, or check out the photo's of the event below.