Resilient Cities

Artist Profile: Rapper Gaafar Touffar of Beirut

Gaafar Touffar is an Arabic rapper who voices his concerns about Beirut’s political and social issues.

“I had three choices growing up in the northeast area of Lebanon: joining the Lebanese army, joining Hezbollah or becoming a drug dealer.”

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Upcoming Airdates

Port-Au-Prince: Art As Rebirth

In Port-au-Prince; a radio host, a photographer, a Rabòday singer and a creole rapper showcase the emerging and subversive sounds and images of Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake.

Medellin: Art As Remembrance

After two decades of violence and corruption under the reign of the largest cocaine drug cartel operation in history, Medellín, Colombia awakens to the sights, sounds and colors of an urban renaissance crafted by a group of creative entrepreneurs, artists and visionary city planners defying street wars.

Moscow: Expression in the Face of Suppression

Moscow is a city where dissidents live in fear. After emerging from a decade of post-­Soviet economic and political turmoil, the country, under Putin’s rule, is a place where authorities have tightened control over the media and stifled the opposition. The government maintains a narrative that insists on the country’s unique power in contrast with the rest of Europe. In 2011, thousands of protestors gathered in Moscow to protest electoral fraud – it was the biggest show of protest since the fall of the USSR.

Jerusalem: Artists Fighting for Their Own Truth

As one of the oldest cities in the world and of significance to followers of all three major religions, Jerusalem is constantly on edge. It is segregated into two distinct parts, East and West. In the streets, 18-­year-­old soldiers patrol the city with guns. Artists in both parts of the city are using art to find and fight for their own truth and bring about peace amid the regular eruptions of violence.

Lagos: Artists Provoking Debate

Lagos, the largest city in Africa and an economic powerhouse, is characterized by extreme social inequalities, frequent power cuts and a rapidly increasing population. In the rest of Nigeria, political upheavals, including the militant insurgency of Boko Haram and a drop in oil production in the country’s oil sector, are among some of the challenges facing the government of Mohammadu Buhari, elected in 2015. Lagos, and its exploding art scene, is where these realities are brought to the fore of people’s consciousness.