Resilient Cities

Havana: Art from a Disconnected Island

Cuba is a multi-layered, complex, culturally-rich island, known primarily for the 1953 revolution of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. The revolution, America’s subsequent trade embargo and the economic struggles that the island faced has had a notable impact on the kind of art that was created. Much of it was inspired by a sense of cohesion and unity, with Cuban artists promoting the belief that socialism would work. More recently, and in the context of renewed normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, a younger generation of artists are creating works that focus on individual survival. But they feel marooned on their island, forced to navigate challenges like basic access to Internet, power outages and ongoing censorship. 

In this episode, we follow the following artists as they struggle to get their voices out and establish a connection with the rest of the world: Miguel coyula, a multi-skilled maverick filmmaker; Sheila San Martin, a choreographer who dances and teaches children; Isnay Rodriguez, AKA DJ Jigue, a DJ whose musical roots began in an extraordinary but under-resourced underground scene; and Lou Piensa, a Canadian nomadic hip-hop artist 

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

Havana: Art from a Disconnected Island

Cuba is a multi-layered, complex, culturally-rich island, known primarily for the 1953 revolution of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. The revolution, America’s subsequent trade embargo and the economic struggles that the island faced has had a notable impact on the kind of art that was created. Much of it was inspired by a sense of cohesion and unity, with Cuban artists promoting the belief that socialism would work. More recently, and in the context of renewed normalization of relations between the U.S.

Manila: Creating In Spite of Fear

Manila, a giant Asian metropolis with traffic-laden roads, towering skyscrapers and sprawling informal settlements, has become a dangerous place. Rodrigo Duterte was elected president of the Philippines in June 2016, vowing to crack down on the drug trade. Since then, extrajudicial killings have led to the deaths of over 3500 people by vigilantes; his approach is reminiscent of the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled from 1965 to 1986.

Mexico City: Artists Breaking Apathy

Mexico City, a massive, sprawling metropolis and home to over 21 million inhabitants, is the capital of a country that has become notorious for drug-­‐related violence. The ‘drug war’ as it is widely known, officially launched in 2006, had initially the support of communities who were tired of gun battles, execution-­style murders and police corruption.

Nairobi: Art Disrupting Corruption

Kenya is well known internationally for its sandy beaches and wide‐open savannahs that attract foreign tourists every year. But behind the picture perfect postcard hides a bleak reality.

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.