Arts

Social Distance, Science and Fantasy

In these times of COVID isolation, social distance get on the nerves of several of us and the effects may be long-lasting, even endemic. Many schoolchildren have interacted and still meet with their teachers through computer networks, while the same phenomenon applies to their contact with others. Technical devices are with an ever-increasing scope becoming an integral part of all communication, teaching, and entertainment, in short – of social interaction. When it comes to education, given all the poor and even harmful educators we are forced to encounter during our lifetime, mechanization of education might be perceived as a step forward. Nevertheless, too much dependence on the internet might undoubtedly have its pitfalls; contributing to an abstraction of our existence where real adventures and life-changing encounters with other human beings become all the rarer. The world may be demystified, losing its wonder and magic.

The Squid Game: The Story about Losers in the Shadow of Glory

Immediately after its release, the Squid Game went viral, grabbing the attention of the world's entertainment stage. The grotesque and hyper-violent thriller has reportedly become Netflix's biggest show, the world's most-watched and the most-talked-about streaming entertainment. Is it a case of art imitating life?

FRANCE: Translating a Harlem Renaissance Writer

By SWAN
Claude McKay is having something of a rebirth in France, thanks to independent publishers and to translators such as Jean-Baptiste Naudy.

Artist Asks Uncomfortable Questions at Paris Fair

By SWAN
How does injustice make you feel? Do you see yourself as a perpetrator, or as a victim? Is there any such thing as neutrality? These are some of the questions that Dorian Sari asks through artwork, which includes blurry photographs with violently shattered glass frames.

Mexican Illustrators Blur Art Lines in Paris Show

By SWAN
So, what’s the difference between illustration and “art”?  When asked this question, Maru Aguzzi replies with a wry smile: “Perhaps the price?”

A Film Challenging Religious Norms

When Turkish- Norwegian writer and filmmaker Nefise Ozkal Lorentzen heard about Seyran Ates’ mixed gender mosque in Berlin, Germany, she immediately decided to make a film on Seyran’s life. It took three years to produce the film, ‘Seyran Ates: Sex Revolution and Islam’ a portrait of a female Imam and her struggles in activating revolution within Islam.

Sacred Words


 
Forgive me,
is all that you can't say.
Years gone by and still
words don't come easily,
like forgive me, forgive me.
              Tracy Chapman
The World Press Freedom Day on the 3rd of May is an occasion for celebrating humanity. Language enables us to transmit our thoughts in sound – a means of communication developed through our unique brain, combined with our capacity to control lips, tongue and other components of the vocal apparatus. Over time, humans have also acquired skills to commit our language to writing.

Wilde Side of Life: Readings from “Oscariana”

So, who or what was Oscar Fingal Flahertie Wills Wilde? Was he a poet, a prose-smith, a playwright, a classicist, a raconteur, a poseur, an aphorist, or simply a sensation for his, or may be for all, times? He was all of those, and much else besides. He was a lord of language, known for his bitingly witty dialogue and epigrammatic banter, flamboyant dress and glittering conversation. To London’s Victorian society he was both a bright boy in a man’s body, albeit with an intellect of stupendous heights, as well as a thoughtful prophet wrapping profundity in dazzling verbal giftwrap. To discuss his writings, the Dhaka -based “The Reading Circle” held a Webinar ably moderated by Professor Niaz Zaman. The participants -Syed Badrul Ahsan, Tazeen Murshid, Nusrat Haque, Ameenah Ahmed, Tanveerul Haque, Zakia Rahman, Zobaida Latif, and myself -all of us drawn from such different corners of the globe as London, Brussels, Singapore and Dhaka, made presentations. This article is based on my remarks made on that occasion.

High Tech, Low Labour?

In the glitzy Dolby Theater in Hollywood Heights, with stars dressed in hundred thousand-dollar garbs, Parasite—a film about inequality, class tension and the fault lines of capitalism—won big. I couldn’t help but recall South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s earlier 2013 film, Snowpiercer.

Music Collective ‘Megative’ Dubs Out the Negative

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.

Technology Meets Creativity on Women’s Empowerment Platform

Eight years ago, at the age of eleven, Fuzia co-founder Riya Sinha decided to start a writing club for school girls. Stemming from this initiative a few years later Sinha, along with co-founder Shraddha Varma, decided to start the online platform for women. Their story and Fuzia's DNA are intrinsically wrapped around each other – and highlight how even in the age of feminism where women’s voices tend to be drowned out, a platform for them can become a global success.

To Understand the ”Other”: How Disabilities Define Us

 
You can shine your shoes and wear a suit you can comb your hair and look quite cute you can hide your face behind a smile one thing you can't hide is when you're crippled inside.
                                                                                                               John Lennon

The Fuzia Story: Empowering Women Through the Fusion of Cultures and Ideas

A young and dynamic digital platform, named Fuzia, has attracted millions of women social media followers and 100,000 active global users with its eclectic mix of content. The platform showcases women’s talent and provides a support network.

Somerset Maugham, His Short Stories, and Singapore: Mutual Influences

William Somerset Maugham was already an established author when he began to focus on short stories. His interest in this genre was actually meant to have been a form of relief from novel-writing, but interestingly it was this literary form that rendered him more famous in the East. Though intensely English in attitudes and behaviour, he was not quite a ‘legit Brit’. Born in Paris (in 1874), he learnt to speak in French before he spoke English, spent some time studying at Heidelberg Germany, before continuing further education in England, then settled down in the south of France. Having written a few novels, he turned to short stories. Perhaps due to his cosmopolitan exposure, he was deeply influenced, in his short stories, by foreign writers. In particular, the Russian author Chekov and the Frenchman Guy de Maupassant.

The Music of Madagascar Is Real Star of New Film

The film Haingosoa had barely made it onto screens in France when the government ordered a lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Theatres, cinemas, museums and other cultural institutions had to shutter their doors, leaving the arts world scrambling to salvage numerous projects.

Internal Migration: A Literary/Historical View

It is easy to generalize about migration. Populist politicians often portray migrants as strangers and ”our” homeland as a stable entity, rooted in an old agricultural society. When they do so they tend to forget that most of us are in fact migrants who have left that traditional farming community far behind and if it was not we who did so, it was our ancestors.

Public Health and Epidemics

For some time Wuhan in China and Lombardy in Italy were epicentres of the COVID-19 virus, something that has changed when the contagion is spreading fast in the US. A Lombardy in the grip of a deadly epidemic might among several Italians give rise to memories of their school days. For almost a century, Alessando Manzoni’s massive novel The Betrothed (I promessi sposi) from 1842 has been obligatory reading for all Italians during their last primary school year. A quite impressive endeavour considering that the novel is more than 700 pages long.

Remembering Beethoven – a Genius with a Disability

Do you recognize this man? You do, of course. It is the silhouette of Beethoven, the famous composer and pianist‎, well known all over the world. The year 2020 marks his 250th anniversary and the UN city of Bonn, Germany is very proud of its famous son, born here, next to the river Rhine. The calendar for 2020 shows many festivals, musical events, and exhibitions, attracting tourists and people appreciating classic music from all around the globe. We all immediately recognize his famous Fifth Symphony with the sound known worldwide of ‘da-da-da-daaaa’. As Europeans we honor his Ninth Symphony, this having been chosen as the European anthem.

Arts, Culture – Trying to Keep the Lights on amid Covid-19

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.

Globalization of Indifference: Ai Weiwei and the Refugee Crisis

Humans belong to a species that is constantly on the move . Since some Homo Sapiens 125,000 years ago began to move from the African continent, humans can be found all over the world, even in such utterly inhospitable places as the icebound plateaus of Antarctica. By moving, humans have tried to escape inadequate food-supply or otherwise unacceptable living conditions. Natural forces have forced them to leave, or even more commonly – violent actions by other humans. With them migrants have brought their means of expression and interaction, some of them expressed through their art.

Art Helping Women to Highlight Gender-based Violence at ICPD25

While women find it hard to talk about their painful experiences, some have found a way of expressing themselves through art. Women, trained as artists, from Nairobi’s informal settlements Kibera and Kangemi, have produced a beautiful quilt that tells stories about their daily challenges.

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