Stories from Quick Reads and Arts & Culture
Traveling duo Jürgen Horn from Germany and Mike Powell from the United States wander around the world by picking a country and staying there for three months, or about 91 days. During their three-month stays, the two globe-trotters attempt to experience life in their new location more thoroughly than a regular tourist and relate their experiences in a blog, saying they plan on eventually authoring e-books on the subject.
Horn and Powell have visited lands on different continents, from Japan to Yucatan, from Idaho to Iceland and Istanbul, with Sri Lanka and many others in between. Currently, they are exploring and writing about Macedonia, providing multimedia notes on the small southeast European country's cities and towns, places related to culture, history and nature. The duo's journey can be followed on social networks and their blog
— For 91 Days (@for91days) September 1, 2014
Blogger Passang Tshering, a high school teacher from Wangdue, Bhutan, wrote in his blog on 31 August, 2014, about an image of Lord Buddha's face formed out of natural rock located on the elephant shaped hill on which the famous Wangdue Dzong is built. He posted photos of the site and wrote:
I don't understand how this place is not recognized as one of the holy Buddhist sites, though some people already knew about it.
Tshering writes in a follow-up post that his post about the face of Buddha has become popular and many are flocking to the site:
It was on Sunday I posted the story and by Monday I started receiving pictures from people who went there to see for themselves. By Wednesday the site was crowded with people, and that evening authorities decided to put fence around it. Today when I went there I could see long queue of people across the river, and many breaking through the fence already. On the other side of the river cars and people are causing traffic jam on the national highway. This is more than the attention one can ever ask for.
The way people dress offers a glimpse into the culture of a place; Maya Cozier manages to capture the urban vibe of Trinidad's capital city in a short video which interviews several fashion forward young people who live and work in and around Port of Spain. Blogger Ceola Belix is one of those featured and she notes:
Kudos to Maya for great production quality, fab story-telling and a cast of super interesting subjects, all of whom I respect for having a distinct sense of style that I think is very true-to-self. I feel very honoured to have been considered along with these fab folks…
You can watch the video here:
Over the last month, the National Gallery of Jamaica's executive director's leadership was the target of criticism, first via an anonymous letter written to the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper, and then in a blog post written by blogger Annie Paul, which she prefaced by saying:
I’ve been closely involved with the Gallery, serving on its Exhibitions Committee for the last few years and before that its PR Committee. In these capacities I’ve been privy to some of the internal workings of the institution and have experienced at first hand some of the problems I will be detailing in this post.
Now, a different perspective has come to light, in the form of a letter to the editor from Jamaican artist Jacqueline Bishop, who writes “about the Veerle Poupeye I know”:
I have never known anyone to champion Jamaican art and Jamaican artists as tirelessly as Veerle Poupeye does.
Consequently, I have watched with growing alarm and dismay as her name has been maligned, and someone of great integrity and generosity is consistently caricatured in, among other places, The Gleaner.
The ‘Concerned Visitor’ of the July 19 letter is right to point out the lack of financial and other support to the National Gallery of Jamaica. And I, too, wonder about the alignment of ‘youth’ and ‘culture’ under a single government portfolio. However, there is more than enough for Jamaicans of all shades, stripes and kinds to discuss and critique and try to understand and work against and through and towards in Jamaican art and visual art culture, without resorting to name-calling and character assassination.
The National Gallery of Jamaica will launch an exhibit to celebrate its 40th anniversary on August 31.
The Smithsonian Channel has uploaded a video showing a digital reconstruction of Cambodia's Angkor Wat using 3D image technology. Angkor Wat (Temple City) is a popular tourism destination in Cambodia which used to be the capital of the Khmer Empire in the 12th century. It is also a massive religious monument, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia.
As has happened every September 5 since the year 2000, Buenos Aires celebrated the Day of Lunfardo, a dialect that originated and developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the lower classes of the city. From there, it spread to other cities nearby.
Originally, it was slang used by criminals and afterward by other people of the lower and lower-middle classes, but later, many of its words and phrases were introduced in the vernacular and disseminated in the Castilian of Argentina and Uruguay.
The tango “Mi noche triste” (My sad night), written by Pascual Contursi and popularized by Carlos Gardel, was the first song to use Lunfardo on its lyrics.
Twitter users remembered the date:
Hoy 5 de Septiembre se celebra el Dia del Lunfardo. pic.twitter.com/UmMNEOowNx
— elrincònderosiano (@Rinconderosiano) septiembre 5, 2014
Today, September 5, we celebrate Day of Lunfardo.
@lalybuss mi vieja lo hablaba con una facilidad asombrosa, probablemente se debía a que lo aprendió a usar de muy chica.
— Carlos N✌® (@gringodeboedo) septiembre 5, 2014
My mom used to speak it with amazing fluency, probably because she learned it at very early age.
— Foro Prof en Turismo (@PROFenTURISMO) septiembre 5, 2014
Today it's Day of Lunfardo, the language of the port of Buenos Aires.
The National Gallery of Jamaica is in the midst of celebrating its 40th anniversary and the gallery's blog has been sharing information about its history and accomplishments:
When the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) opened its doors on November 14, 1974 it was the English-speaking Caribbean’s first national gallery, and forty years later it is the region’s oldest and largest national art museum. [...] Since 1974, the NGJ has held over one hundred and thirty exhibitions and established an encyclopaedic collection of Jamaican art. Through the process of amassing and exhibiting the art of Jamaica it has done more than preserve and display Jamaica’s artistic heritage. What the NGJ has truly excelled at is telling a story (‘the’ story, the NGJ has at times claimed) of Jamaican art, crafting the raw material of artists, artworks and anecdotes into a coherent narrative that resonates with how Jamaicans see and understand themselves in the world.
What better than the seventh art to mobilize? In another effort to push for Elections in Lebanon and prevent an extension of the Parliamentary term #NoToExtension, Lebanese NGO Nahwa Al Muwatiniya (meaning Towards Citizenship) held an “Election Film Week”.
Six works from Chile, Iran, China, Ghana and the US, varying between documentaries and fiction are being screened between August 28 to September 2 at Cinema Metropolis (a theater promoting indie movies) in collaboration with the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE).
On the Facebook Page of the event, where the programme is listed, the organisers note:
We have been struggling with a fragile democracy in Lebanon, ever since its independence. Today, more than in the darkest days of the civil war, the foundations of our democracy are at risk. But we’re not alone in this. The world is full of stories about the human struggle for self-determination and democratic participation. Broadening our perspective serves our effort to improve the quality of the political system in Lebanon.
The films we picked share stories from different countries, all which portray the election process. Collectively, they reveal a combination of human values and ideals and the efforts politicians make to win an election.
To see a glimpse of the movies, check out the trailer posted on Nahwa Al Muwatiniya Youtube Page.
The current parliament extended its four-year stay for the first time in May 2013. And like a year before, various parties are supporting the move this time around under the pretext of security conditions.
The end of the parliamentary term comes amidst a period of turmoil in Lebanon. The country has lacked a president since May 25 after parliament failed to elect a new head of state and top officials could not reach political consensus. A general strike by syndicates demanding to approve a new enhanced wage scale for civil servants has threatened to paralyze the entire country. Lebanon has experience instability on both Syrian and Israeli borders after soldiers were kidnapped by members of Islamic militant organization ISIS.
Beijing authorities blocked an annual independent film festival from opening on August 23, 2014. The move is seen as a sign that Beijing is tightening ideological controls. According to indie director Huang Wenhai, the shutdown was “the darkest day in the history of Chinese independent film.” Started in 2006 by independent art critic Li Xianting, the film festival is a place for indie filmmakers to share and discuss their work. Although the festivals like this had some trouble with the police over the years, it's the first time the whole festival has been blocked. The police also took away records of the Li's work for investigation.
China Media Project has more details about happenings around the shutdown.
“One thing is that books satisfy users’ curiosity, and a very different one that is that it might represent the identity of the community them belong to”. Argentinian librarian Daniel Canosa questions the role and function of local libraries. On Infotecarios network he writes:
Las bibliotecas indígenas, [deberían] generar conocimiento desde la participación local y comunitaria, ofrecer un modo de entendimiento, que es a la vez una manera de construir identidad. El tema es si lo que ofrece la biblioteca representa lo que cada comunidad sabe y conoce, si lo que construye el bibliotecario con su comunidad permite una genuina afinidad con la memoria histórica del pueblo. No se tratan de ideas nuevas, pero es necesario avanzar interpelando las mismas.
Si las bibliotecas difunden la producción de la gente de su lugar de pertenencia, entonces no sólo las elites tendrán presencia en el mundo de la información.
Indigneous libraries [should] generate knowledge from local and community participation, provide a way of understanding, that in time is a way of building identity. The thing is if what libraries provide represent what each community knows, if what a librarian builds with their community allows a true affinity with people's historic memory. This is not about new ideas, but things should move forward questioning those ideas.
If libraries spread people's production from their own places, then not only the elites won't be then only ones in the world of information.
The author highlights the fact that burning libraries, as happened in the past, eliminates peoples’ memories and therefore their identity. He also highlights the works by Colombia Indigenous Peoples Basic Library, puts into question publications by Abya Yala Ecuadorian publishing house and presents an instance of “social inclusion” with Eloísa Cartonera Cooperative from Argentina.