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The Cultural Frontline

The Cultural Frontline

Podcast The Cultural Frontline
Podcast The Cultural Frontline

The Cultural Frontline

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  • How is the arts world responding to the Ukraine conflict?
    Sanctions, boycotts, bans, cancellations: from the Bolshoi to Eurovision - how the international arts world is responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the tension when arts meets politics. From world leading classical music, opera and ballet, to art, funding, film, pop concerts and streaming - how the international arts world has acted both inside and outside Russia. Peter Gelb of New York’s Metropolitan Opera on the institution’s decision to respond to the conflict. The Eurovision Song Contest: with Russia now banned, and Ukraine performing as favourites – we look at Ukraine and Russia at the world’s biggest televised song contest. We speak to Kalush Orchestra - the all-male band given permission to leave Ukraine to represent their country in Italy – and to Dr Dean Vuletic, leading academic expert on the history of Eurovision. Plus BBC Russian Service Arts and Culture Correspondent Alexander Kan explains the far-reaching scope of measures, and the push against bans. (Photo: The Ukrainian flag outside The Metropolitan Opera. Credit: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty)
    5/7/2022
    27:41
  • Making ballet a stage for all
    Mamela Nyamza has been called a movement maverick and is one of South Africa’s most celebrated dancers. She speaks to Tina Daheley about how she uses dance to tackle the continuing inequality and social division in the Rainbow Nation. French Algerian ballerina Chloe Lopes Gomes made history by becoming the first black female dancer at the Staatsballet Berlin ballet company. In 2020 she spoke out about the racism she experienced, after she says, being told to ‘white up’ and ‘blend in’. Chloe speaks to Anna Bailey about the challenges of making the ballet world more inclusive. When the celebrated Chilean dancer César Morales was a young child, a school excursion changed his life. César was taken to see the ballet Giselle at the Municipal Theatre of Santiago in Chile and he immediately fell in love with the art form. He speaks to us about defying the expectations of his traditional Chilean family by taking up ballet not football. (Photo: Chloe Lopes Gomes. Credit: Dean Barucija)
    4/30/2022
    27:33
  • New global art at the Venice Biennale
    The Venice Biennale was created in 1895 as an international art exhibition and after a year’s delay due to Covid, it’s just re-opened. Artists from across the globe have descended on the enchanting Italian city of canals and churches. There are over 1400 works on display, as well as the Pavilions from 80 countries, which will become part of the landscape of Venice over the next seven months. Finnish performance artist Pilvi Takala has impersonated a wellness consultant, a trainee at a global accountancy firm and even Snow White for her documentary style videos. For her Venice Biennale commission, Close Watch, Pilvi worked undercover for several months as a guard at one of Finland’s largest shopping malls and she explained the thinking behind her project to Lucy Ash. There are 5 countries participating for the first time at the Venice art Biennale - Cameroon, Namibia, Oman, Uganda and Nepal and one of the artists who’s representing Cameroon is photographer Angèle Etoundi Essamba. Angèle tells Anu Anand how she challenges the stereotypes of African women in her work and why it’s important for Cameroonian artists to be part of this Biennale. In the Patagonian region which covers Chile and Argentina are peatlands, a specific type of wetland that’s shaped one of the most remote landscapes in the world. Architect Alfredo Thiermann and filmmaker Dominga Sotomayor are two of the artists who’ve been collaborating on the Chilean Pavilion and working with the descendants of the Selk’nam people, the ancient indigenous group that inhabited that land many years ago. Their immersive video and sound installation “Turba Tol Hol-Hol Tol,” reflects the relationship between this ancestral culture and the landscapes that surrounds it, as they told reporter Constanza Hola. Like Cameroon, Nepal also has its first ever pavilion this year and the artist representing that country is Tsherin Sherpa. The title of the Pavilion is Tales of Muted Spirits – Dispersed Threads – Twisted Shangri-La, created to help dispel misconceptions about the country and to give Nepali artists and the entire country, a new voice in the world. Paul Waters went to meet Tsherin to hear more about his own work as well as the Nepali art scene. Producer: Andrea Kidd Photo: Dominga Sotomayor and Alfredo Thiermann finalising their immersive instillation. Credit: Dominga Sotomayor and Alfredo Thiermann)
    4/23/2022
    27:22
  • What does history sound like?
    Indigenous cultures have been suppressed since Europeans first arrived in Mexico. But increasingly, modern Mexicans want some sort of connection with their indigenous past. At its height, the ancient Mexican city of Teotihuacan had 100,000 citizens and was the largest city in the Western Hemisphere. But the civilisation had no written language, and the sudden disappearance of its population is largely unexplained. Luckily, the civilisation left behind the remains of instruments. Adje Both and Osvaldo Perez are an academic and a potter that are part of a global network of musicians, instrument makers and archaeologists that are piecing these instruments back together and recreating them. In doing so, they can breathe life back into these lost instruments and rediscover the sounds of these ancient cultures. But for the indigenous cultures of Mexico, who are still oppressed, dispossessed and marginalised, these instruments take on a more significant meaning. Xiuhtezcatl is based in LA, but his father is Mexica - an indigenous group that used to rule the Aztec empire - and the instruments are a visceral link to his ancestors. Using the work of Adje and Osvaldo and matching it with digital manipulation, Xiuhtezcatl goes back in time and tries to discover what history sounds like. Image: A collection of instruments (Credit: Tolly Robinson)
    4/16/2022
    27:20
  • Sudan: Art and political change
    Despite Sudan once being at the forefront of African cinema, only eight feature films have been made in the last 70 years. Now a new generation of film-makers has emerged, winning acclaim from audiences and awards at film festivals around the world. You Will Die at Twenty, about a young Sudanese boy, was written and directed by Amjad Abu Alala and became the country’s first Oscar entry. Suzannah Mirghani’s short film Al-Sit follows the 15-year-old Nafisa facing an arranged marriage. They tell us why it was important for them to make their films in Sudan, telling Sudanese stories and of the issues they faced. In April 2019 President Al Bashir was overthrown and then in October last year there was a military coup in Sudan. People have been protesting on the streets and this remains a fragile time for the country. Professor of African and African Diaspora Art History at Cornell University in New York and head of the Africa Institute in the UAE, Salah M Hassan, gives us an overview of the situation and its impact on artistic and cultural life. Artist Reem Aljeally is known for her colourful acrylic works, which unusually for Sudanese artists, sensually depict the female form. As a self-taught artist and with few places to display work, she started the Muse Multi Studios and Beit Al Nissa in Khartoum to encourage other young people, especially women, to take up art and be creative. Since the revolution of 2019 music has started to flourish again in Sudan, including traditional instruments such as the Oud and the 78-stringed qanan. One organisation that is helping young people learn to play, perform and even make these instruments is Beit Al Oud. With one of their videos going viral, qanan player Wafa Mustafa explains why they hope it will be the start of a new era in Sudanese music on the world stage. Presenter: Leila Latif Producer: Andrea Kidd Photo: A still from You Will Die at Twenty. Credit: New Wave Films)
    4/9/2022
    27:15

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