Resilient Cities

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.

In response, artists in Warsaw are confronting the tide of right-­wing nationalism, forcing the city’s residents to look in the mirror at this precarious period in time. In this episode, we encounter Maria Peszek, a singer­songwriter whose lyrics are sexually liberated and anti-religious; Liliana Piskorska, a performance artist using her body to challenge society’s discrimination of LGBTQ communities; and Michael Rubenfeld, a Polish-Canadian theatre artist; in their unique ways, these artists are battling the aggressive nationalism that threatens to take over their city.

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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.

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.