Resilient Cities

Beirut: Art As A New Narrative

Beirut is a battle-­scarred city that has survived military invasions and civil war. Currently it struggles with a Muslim and Christian divide, the influx of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and has Isis looming over their country’s northern border. Still, Beirut is considered the cultural hub of the Middle East. Reverberating with the sounds of musicians, performers and activists as well as hosting one of the best nightlife scenes in the world, Beirut is an enigma. 

The city’s resiliency is in large part defined by artists and activists who help to carve out a distinct culture in spite of the surrounding chaos. In this episode we follow one Canadian ex-­pat and four local artists: Nasri Atallah, a writer; Gaafar Touffar, a rapper; Yazan Halwani, a graffiti artist; and Alexandre Paulikevitch, a male belly dancer. They all use their art to express their struggles, their hopes and their vision for the future of the city.

Available until
2019-12-31T00:00:00-08:00

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Jakarta: Art Defying Moral Conservatism

Indonesia, where the national motto is “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” or “Unity in Diversity,” is home to both the world’s largest Muslim majority as well as six additional religions. The country has had a difficult history under the 32-­year dictatorship of General Suharto whose repressive and corrupt militarized rule led to the deaths of hundred thousand.

Chicago: Artists Fighting Segregation

Chicago is a city that ranks as one of the richest and most productive in the United States, yet it has a deeply segregated urban landscape and a high murder rate. In its south and west sides, impoverished housing blocks sit beside affluent homes, universities and city stadiums. The year 2016 was the city’s most violent in over two decades with a record of 762 homicides, an increase of 58 percent since 2015.

Karachi: Creating Art Amid Terror

Target killings, terrorist attacks and a skyrocketing crime rate: these are the words usually used to describe Pakistan’s megalopolis Karachi. And up until recently it was considered a lawless land, taken over by gangsters and terrorist groups like the Taliban who assassinated intellectuals and artists.

One of the most significant target killings was the assassination of Sabeen Mahmuud, a feminist and intellectual who founded T2F, one of the few spaces dedicated to creation in Karachi. The case of her assassination remains unsolved.

Warsaw: Art Fighting Ultranationalism

Since the democratic election of the Law and Justice Party in 2015, Poland is divided between liberals and ultra-­conservatives. The country is moving away from the orbit of Western Europe and returning to a past defined by family, church and home.

In some instances, it is also moving towards a future that echoes elements of its dark history. Antisemitism on the rise and a wave of ultranationalism is sweeping the country.

Beirut: Art As A New Narrative

Beirut is a battle-­scarred city that has survived military invasions and civil war. Currently it struggles with a Muslim and Christian divide, the influx of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and has Isis looming over their country’s northern border. Still, Beirut is considered the cultural hub of the Middle East. Reverberating with the sounds of musicians, performers and activists as well as hosting one of the best nightlife scenes in the world, Beirut is an enigma.