Arts and Entertainment

Saving Tanzania’s Underground Hip Hop Scene

Inside a dark, cramped, music studio on Arusha’s hillside slum of Kijenge Juu, a thumping hip hop beat rattles the window-less room.

New Feminism Tears Down Walls in Brazil

Anarkia Boladona has turned the streets of Brazil into billboards against domestic violence. As a self-titled feminist political graffiti artist, she represents a new trend in women’s rights that seeks less academic and more daring and popular avenues of expression.

Latin America Hosts Artists-in-Residence

Artists-in-residence, once found only in the industrialised North, can now be found throughout Latin America, which is hosting artists from different parts of the world to produce and exhibit their work. There are also opportunities for visiting artists simply to seek inspiration.

Untitled photo, evoking water torture. Credit: Courtesy of Shahidul Alam

Paramilitary Killings in Bangladesh Dragged into the Light

What is a journalist to do when simply providing information is not enough to bring about the desired change? Why, turn to art, of course.

Chinese Dissidents Silenced for London Book Fair

A dissident Chinese author has expressed dismay at the lack of independent and exiled authors represented at this year’s London Book Fair (LBF), where China is guest of honour. An ensuing public spat, revolving around accusations that the Fair’s organisers have bowed to Chinese authorities, has thrust the thorny issue of censorship to centre-stage.

Rehearsing at Sachal Studios in Lahore. Credit: Zofeen Ebrahim/IPS.

Pakistani Jazz Touches New Chords

The silencing of music in the name of Islam led Pappu to give up the cello and set up a tea stall. But Pappu and other musicians survived the Islamist regime for former dictator Zia ul-Haq and the recent ways of the Taliban to return to the most surprising group of musicians to have emerged over years – on a dusty little street in the Pakistani city Lahore.

Israel-Iran Matters Get Worse in Verse

A lyrical attack by Germany’s acclaimed novelist and essayist Günter Grass in which he labelled Israel’s alleged atomic arsenal and looming pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear installations a threat to world peace has triggered fury and controversy amongst Israelis.

After the Murder, a New Act at Freedom Theatre

Actors, musicians, activists and friends gathered in various locations throughout Israel and the West Bank this week to commemorate the life of actor and theatre director Juliano Mer-Khamis.

A replica of the Tower of David at the Ice City in Jerusalem. Credit: Pierre Klochendler/IPS.

China Puts Middle East Differences on Ice

In a first in years, snow blessed the Holy City last month. For a moment, hail metamorphosed into a paltry three-millimetre layer of white, liquid, light. Children and parents and snowmen relished the wonders of an almost real, though usually ephemeral, winter. But then, the Ice Age befell Jerusalem...

Fans defy the Taliban to attend a music concert at Nishtar Hall in Peshawar. Credit: Ashfaq Yusufzai/IPS.

Taliban Face the Music in Pakistan

Not so long ago, Gul Pana’s pursuit of a career as a professional singer in Khyber Pakthunkhwa (KP) province would have invited certain death at the hands of the Taliban.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. Credit: Bina Khan/IPS.

Saving Face for Pakistan

By winning an Oscar at this year’s Academy awards, filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy has brought home the genius of Pakistan’s women as well as the extreme violence they often suffer in a male-dominated society.

A cinema hall in Peshawar. Credit: Abdul Majeed Goraya/IPS.

Porn in the Land of the Pure

Dark and smoky, the cinema hall reeks of hashish. An overly made-up woman on screen in provocatively figure-hugging clothes dances suggestively to the beat of loud music. The audience, all men, cheer and whistle. The music stops, the scenes get racier and sexually titillating. The crowd abandons all caution. The whistles turn to grunts and growls, chairs begin to bang.

The film follows Dr. Jawad and two of his patients, 39-year-old Zakia and 23-year-old Rukhsana, both disfigured by their husbands. Credit: Courtesy of "Saving Face"

Acid Survivors Fight Back: A Story of Hope Amidst Despair

When the Oscar-nominated film "Saving Face" won an Academy Award in Hollywood for Best Documentary (Short Subject), it was the triumph of several "firsts": the first time ever that a Pakistani filmmaker had won an Oscar; Pakistan's first Oscar winner was a woman; and it was the first time that an American and a Pakistani had co-directed an Oscar-winning film.

Nadia El Fani. Credit: Daan Bauwens/IPS.

Arab Women Bring Spring to the Screen

Women have been at the forefront of each uprising in the Arab world. Last week, the ‘8 Arab Women Filmmakers’ festival offered a platform to Arab women directors to give their perspectives on the future of the region.

Festival Brings Human Drama from Headlines to the Screen

The often heroic struggles of some of the world's human rights victims and advocates are on full view at the Toronto Human Rights Watch Film Festival, which runs through Friday at the TIFF Bell Lightbox theatre.

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