Libyan artists in danger


This video says about itself:

Tadrart Acacus, UNESCO World Heritage Site

21 July 2009

Tadrart Acacus is a desert area in western Libya and is part of the Sahara. It is situated close to the Libyan city of Ghat. Tadrart means ‘mountain’ in the native language of the area (Tamahaq language). It has a particularly rich array of prehistoric rock art. The Acacus has a large variation of landscapes, from differently coloured sand dunes to arches, gorges, rocks and mountains. Major landmarks are the arches of Afzejare and Tin Khlega.

Although this area is one of the most arid of the Sahara, there is vegetation, such as the callotropis plant. The area is known for its rock-art and was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 because of the importance of these paintings and carvings. The paintings date from 12,000 BC to 100 AD and reflect cultural and natural changes in the area. There are paintings and carvings of animals such as giraffes, elephants, ostriches and camels, but also of men and horses. Men are depicted in various daily life situations, for example while making music and dancing.

Now, four years after the making of this video, both this ancient Libyan art, and today’s Libyan art and its makers are in danger.

After George W Bush invaded Iraq, 90% of that country’s artists were killed or fled to other countries.

Something similar happens now as the consequence of another so-called ‘humanitarian’ war, the NATO war on Libya in 2011.

From Magharebia (Washington DC, USA):

Libya Chaos Impacts Artists

By Asmaa Elourfi, 17 April 2014

Interview

Benghazi — With Libya’s capital of culture facing daily bombings and assassinations, artists are left in a perilous position.

To get a handle on the situation, Magharebia met in Benghazi with Ahmed Bouakeula al-Obeidi, a 42-year-old actor, playwright and songwriter. He began his theatre career in the ’90s, before later performing at events in Tunisia and Morocco.

As al-Obeidi explains, Benghazi’s “chaos and insecurity” is taking a toll on the city’s famed cultural and literary activities.

Magharebia: As an artist, how do you see the situation in Libya now?

Ahmed Bouakeula al-Obeidi: Writers, poets and intellectuals fully realise the deteriorating security situation and have their own visions about it. They only wait for calm to prevail to present their ideas on how to deal with these issues.

This is because artists are the closest ones to the street; in my opinion, they are the real mirror of the street.

Magharebia: What’s keeping writers and actors from proceeding with their careers in Libya?

Al-Obeidi: There are many obstacles, but the fact that theatres are not fully prepared for theatrical troupes is the main obstacle.

Writers have their own very profound imaginations, but the entities concerned with writers are not playing their roles as they should. For example, Benghazi, which is the cultural capital, has its own literary experiences and elements, and is known for its art, creation and culture, but its literary production is very modest.

Magharebia: What are your latest works?

Al-Obeidi: I’m now writing another play titled “I’m without Address”, a monodrama depicting the condition of Arab citizens following the revolutions, the ambiguity they live in, the concepts that have changed and the schizophrenia they live. The play is being rehearsed now by al-Mashhad al-Masrahi theatrical troupe in Morocco. I’ve also released, at my own expense, my first collection of lyrics and popular poetry.

Magharebia: What do you see for your country’s future?

Al-Obeidi: Building Libya is not an impossible wish. We have to reach national reconciliation and put aside hatreds and clean our hearts before we can talk about building the state or institutions.

We as Libyans are Arabs, and we depend too much on traditions, habits and tribes, and this is a double-edged weapon.

If we can utilise all of these capabilities, we’ll reach the shore of safety and the country and future generations will rest. However, if we proceed with retaliations, hatred and double standard policies, we’ll continue in this dark tunnel.

Magharebia: What part does an artist play in this?

Al-Obeidi: Their role is important and vital. They have to work day and night to get their ideas across using all peaceful means. They have to embody their visions through their works of art because the street is now looking for an alternative to solve the crisis, and here comes the role of the pioneering artist who can reach all categories of society with his/her distinguished style.

This is because the artist is loved by all, and stands at the same distance from all; therefore, the artist shouldn’t deal lightly with his assigned role in society, as he is responsible before history.

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Bahraini photographer gets ten years jail for photography


This video says about itself:

France 24: Bahrain Juveniles Under Crossfire & Toxic Gas

23 April 2013

Program produced by France 24 Arabic Channel about what minors in Bahrain suffer from, it shows how security forces storm schools and arrest students. It also highlights the story of a 5-years-old boy who had been shot with a shotgun which struck his eye. Ahmed Al-Nahham’s eye was removed, his testimony about what happeded to him.

From the Bahrain Center for Human Rights:

15 April, 2014

Bahrain: 10 Years in Prison for Photojournalist Ahmed Humaidan after an Unfair Trial

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its deep concern about the Bahraini authorities’ continued practice of arbitrary arrests and excessive use of force against journalists, photographers, and human rights activists. On Wednesday, 26 March 2014, the Third High Court issued a 10-year prison sentence against photographer Ahmed Humaidan [1] in a trial that lacked due process.

A reputed freelance photographer, Humaidan has won 163 awards internationally for his contributions to the field. After his arrest for alleged arson in December 2012, he stated that he suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of the torture he was reportedly subjected to by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) [2]. Humaidan was reportedly subjected to various methods of torture, including being forced to stand in a cold room for hours whilst handcuffed and blindfolded. Humaidan informed his family that while he was blindfolded and handcuffed at the CID, he was reportedly forced to carry an object that his interrogators told him was a live bomb. He was made to hold the object for several hours under duress and strict surveillance. Additionally, Humaidan stated that he was psychologically intimidated during questioning in order to extract a false confession. Interrogators reportedly threatened to bring charges against his siblings on fabricated crimes if he refused to confess.

Fadhel Al-Sawad, Humaidan’s lawyer, stated that no incriminating evidence was presented in court against Humaidan, except for the confessions that were reportedly extracted under torture and reports from anonymous sources from within the CID. Humaidan was subjected to an unjustified delay in his trial that continued for more than a year because key witnesses from the Ministry of Interior evaded and declined to attend the court proceedings for six months. There were numerous inconsistencies in witness testimony throughout the trial, particularly in regards to the location of the alleged crime [3]. Although Al-Sawad submitted substantial evidence in support of Humaidan’s innocence during the year-long trial, the court delivered the maximum sentence against Humaidan, whilst simultaneously acquitting two fugitive defendants that lacked defense and proof of innocence [4]. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights considers the decisions of this court to be arbitrary, and politically motivated.

The BCHR has documented attacks on photographers and journalists since the beginning of the pro-democracy movement in 2011. More than ten members of the media have been sentenced to prison [5]; some of them were reportedly subjected to torture. The blogger Zakariya Al-Ashairi [6] was documented in the BICI report as having been tortured to death. Others have faced extrajudicial killings, including photographer Ahmed Ismail Hasan [7]. During the three-month state of emergency in 2011, several photographers and members of the media were documented to have been summarily dismissed from their jobs and arrested during house raids; their families were reportedly intimidated, and some of their personal photography equipment was reportedly stolen. The government has failed to independently investigate these incidents, and has failed to hold the perpetrators of these acts accountable. On the contrary, in a recent case, the police officer Sara Al-Moussa [8] was acquitted of all charges in which she reportedly tortured the journalist Nazeeha Saeed (see: http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/6260).

The authorities in Bahrain continue similar practices today. Many members of the media, including photographers such as Ahmed Fardan and Jaffar Madhoon, are subjected to enforced disappearance and reportedly tortured in order to extract false confessions [9]. Others, such as photographer Hussein Hubail and blogger Jassim Al-Noaimi, are reportedly subjected to torture, and then denied access to adequate medical attention [10]. The Bahraini authorities also target specific members of the press, such as journalist Mazen Mahdi and photographer Mohammed Al-Sheikh. On 26 February 2014, Mahdi was shot directly in the leg with a tear gas canister while filming a protest. The angle at which the shot was fired and the deliberate aiming of teargas directly at photojournalists confirms that the targeting was specific and intentional [11].

International human rights institutions and organizations have condemned the practice of targeting photographers and members of the media and subjecting them to enforced disappearance and torture. Reporters Without Borders has condemned the government’s practice of using arbitrary arrests as a means of intimidation to restrict the flow of information out of Bahrain [12].

Based on the above, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, United Nations and all close allies to the government of Bahrain to pressure Bahraini authorities to:

Immediately release Ahmed Humaidan and all other arbitrarily arrested members of the media and photographers;
Uphold Article 19 concerning the freedom of expression as a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
End the systematic targeting of photographers, journalists, and bloggers, and allow all members of the media to carry on their work free from restrictions and harassment;
Commission an independent investigation into the allegations against those implicated in human rights violations and acts of torture against imprisoned photographers, journalists, and bloggers.

—-

[1] http://www.alwasatnews.com/4219/news/read/870181/1.html

[2] http://bchr.hopto.org/ar/node/5608

[3] http://manamavoice.com/news-news_read-19338-0.html

[4] http://www.alwasatnews.com/3803/news/read/735384/1.html

[5] http://bchr.hopto.org/ar/node/6771

[6] http://bchr.hopto.org/ar/node/5737

[7] http://bchr.hopto.org/ar/node/5143

[8] http://www.alwasatnews.com/3943/news/read/787380/1.html

[9] http://bchr.hopto.org/ar/node/6683

[10] http://bchr.hopto.org/ar/node/6609

[11] http://www.bahrainpa.org/?p=199

[12] http://en.rsf.org/bahrain-news-photographer-gets-10-years-in-26-03-2014,46046.html

[13] http://www.alwasatnews.com/3773/news/read/728056/1.html

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Graffiti artist Banksy against spying on citizens


This video from England says about itself:

14 April 2014

Banksy linked to new street artwork in Cheltenham

Mysterious street artist Banksy appears to have unveiled his latest creation – targeting the issue of government surveillance. The artwork shows three 1950s-style agents, wearing brown trench coats and trilby hats, using devices to tap into conversations at a telephone box. It appeared overnight on a street in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, just a few miles from GCHQ, where the UK’s surveillance network is based.

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Bowerbird bowers inspire artist


This video is called Life – The Vogelkop Bowerbird: Nature’s Great Seducer – BBC One.

From Audubon Magazine in the USA:

Incredibly Elaborate Homes of Bowerbirds Inspire New Art Exhibit

Janelle Iglesias reimagines the birds’ creations with a mix of locally sourced natural and recycled materials.

Todd Petty

Published: 03/26/2014

The male Vogelkop bowerbird goes to incredible lengths to attract a mate. With the creativity of an artist and the industry of an architect, he collects both natural and manmade materials found nearby to create an elaborate nest. He’ll incorporate everything from twigs and grasses to bottle caps and string into his masterpiece, all in the hopes of wooing a lady. Now, art is imitating this incredible behavior seen in life.

The remarkable bird inspired New York-based artist Janelle Iglesias’s new exhibit, In High Feather, at the University at Buffalo. The immersive, two-story bower in the style of the Vogelkop bowerbird, isn’t intended to be an exact replica of the bird’s home, Iglesias says, but rather an artistic reimagining.

Iglesias recently visited the Arfak Mountains in Indonesia in search of what she calls “the most advanced avian architecture on earth.” Her trip was made possible with the help of a Jerome Foundation travel and study grant.

Iglesias says that the kinship she felt for the Vogelkop bowerbird extends beyond an appreciation for their constructions. She and the birds use locally sourced material, often repurposing discarded items, she says. “I felt like I needed to make some decisions about my practice that would align my [environmental and political] philosophies,” she explains.

The bowerbird uses the space they create for seduction, luring females to visit and check out what they’ve created, in much the same way an artist seeks an audience. In fact, Iglesias invited the public to watch her build the exhibit, which opened February 27.

The two-story installation in the Lightwell Gallery will also include images and field recordings from her trip, as well as discarded items she picked up, including Christmas trees and cereal boxes. Just like the bowerbirds’ creations, her invention is a wonder to behold.

In High Feather runs until May 10.

This video says about itself:

Documentation of Janelle Iglesias’ installation at BCA Firehouse Gallery, “Draw Back the Bow (or Kill Your Darlings),” 2010. Video & music by Jin Kim.

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Painter Gerrit Dou exhibition in Leiden, the Netherlands


This video about the present exhibition in Leiden, the Netherlands is called Gerrit Dou. The Leiden Collection from New York.

From Museum De Lakenhal in leiden, the Netherlands:

Sunday March 09 2014 till Sunday August 31 2014

Gerrit Dou. The Leiden Collection from New York

The largest collection of works by world-renowned 17th century Leiden painter Gerrit Dou is not to be found in one of the big museums, but in a private collection in New York.

The works by Dou from the exquisite ‘The Leiden Collection’ are on display in The Netherlands for the first time. This exhibition features both the results of recent material-technical research and a unique display of the stunning oeuvre of this painter, full of genre scenes and portraits, and in the typical style of this father of the Leiden Fijnschilders (fine-painters).

This painter is also known as Gerard Dou.

This video shows a preview of the Gerrit Dou exhibition.

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Fallen tree becomes crocodile sculpture


On 28 October 2013, unfortunately, the biggest tree near Doodemanskisten lake on Terschelling island in the Netherlands was blown to the ground by a storm.

Then, warden Pieter Schaper made this 90-year old black pine tree into a crocodile sculpture.

This video shows how that happened.

See also here.

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