Resilient Cities

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.

Despite the repression, his government prioritized religious tolerance. His resignation in 1998 ushered in a new era with a more liberal socio-­political environment, opening up spaces for different groups to organize. Conservative groups took advantage of this change and in recent years, a growing Islamist movement and a new wave of conservative populism are  threatening the identity of Jakarta’s religious and ethnic diversity. The impact has been particularly grave on LGBTQ communities, secular groups, women, and other marginalized people.

This episode features: Ari Bayuaji, an Indonesian-­Canadian visual artist whose sculptures address the problem of censorship; Kartika Jahja, a singer whose music contains strong messages for gender equality; Sakdiya Ma'ruf, a Muslim stand-­up comedian whose controversial performances urge people to engage in dialogue about taboos in Indonesia; and Tamara Pertamina, a transgender performance artist whose practice questions notions around religion and sexual identity and orientation. Each is daring to push the boundaries of their own craft, widening the space to tackle controversial subjects in a place where artists are becoming increasingly suppressed.

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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. 

  • 2018-12-11T23:00:00-08:00
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Kiev: Art As Protest

In a city on the divide between Russia and Europe, the art of protest stands against war and corruption. Kiev has a government that ignores its citizens and responds to demonstrators with violent measures. Now, artists and activists are spearheading the fight to claim Ukrainian cultural identity. 

Athens: Art As Solace

Amid the chaos and confusion from Greece's financial meltdown, artists from all corners of Athens are gathering to protect Athenian culture through the power of their art. In this episode, four artists show how they are fighting to counteract the bleak outlook of their urban landscape: iNO, the city's only incognito graffiti artist; photographer Panagiotis Maidis; electro-pop group Kid Flicks formed by Nickos Dervisis; and film and television producer Theo Simantirakis. 

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.