Ecuador’s entry for the 2021 Academy Awards’ International Feature section is a surprising movie, highlighting a story that up to now has been little-known. Titled Vacío / Emptiness
and directed by self-taught filmmaker Paúl Venegas, the work focuses on how increasing numbers of Chinese migrants have ended up in Latin America over the past 15 years, and it features a cast of mainly non-professional actors – speaking Mandarin, Spanish, English and some Cantonese.
Even as their income dries up and their touring opportunities disappear because of the Covid-19 pandemic, some artists are using their work to call out injustice, criticize inept leaders and spark social change.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has announced it is “launching initiatives” to support cultural industries and cultural heritage, sectors hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID-19 has put many intangible cultural heritage practices, including rituals and ceremonies, on hold, impacting communities everywhere,” the organization stated April 9. “It has also cost many jobs, and across the globe, artists … are now unable to make ends meet.”
With the spread of the Covid-19 disease, the arts and culture sectors have seen a flood of cancellations and postponements, affecting artists around the world and putting the global 2,000-billion-dollar creative industry at risk.
When Jean-Michel Basquiat’s paintings were shown in France a few years ago, a visitor overheard a teenager remarking that the artwork seemed to have come from “a very angry little boy”.
The 2018 Paris Book Fair (Livre Paris
) took place against the backdrop of demonstrations in Mayotte that echoed similar protests a year ago in French Guiana, putting the topics of literary activism and popular disaffection high on the agenda at the March 16-19 event.