Showing posts with label activist. Show all posts
Showing posts with label activist. Show all posts

Thursday 29 June 2023

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed


This is one of the best films about the power of art.

Art as protest!


She went to war for the people she loved and who loved her back – the bowery junkies, the late-night queens, and the forgotten. Nan Godlin spent three decades photographing the low life – the jagged, raw, scary company. And she nearly died herself from an over dose of opioids. 


Artist Nan Goldin set up an art activist group called PAIN - 

She campaigned to force the Sackler name removed from art galleries –

 “Hear us Roar!”


At the Guggenheim museum New York – with blood red banners they all chanted …

.”400,000 dead/ 200 dead each day / shame on Sadler / take down their names." 


They roar to blow the roof off! As white papers fall like snow…with the words

“if only Oxy-Contin is controlled how substantially would it improve sales?”

In the Sunday Times 15th January 2023 and the art critic Wlldemar Januszczak says this art film is the best art film he’s seen. “For her art is a friend, a refuge, a family. When she and her buddies stormed the Guggenheim - they weren’t looking for easy publicity. They were hoping to rescue art from the Sacklers.”  


ART as protest

Picasso - Guernica

Goya – Third of May 1808

John & Yoko – Bed ins for Peace

Suffragette Mary Richardson – Slashed a Velazquez at the National galleries



Worth watching 


Thursday 13 September 2018

Gina Miller Edinburgh book festival 2018

Miller received a standing ovation! Clearly there was huge support and powerful emotions for her standing up for Parliament having a say in the shambolic Brexit process. 
This is ‘no time for silence, time to rise’ Miller claimed.  
If you fail to make your voice heard, it will be drowned out by those who shout the loudest. Miller is a very articulate, forthright and determined lady! 

There was a petition online against her book, Rise, and a threat of mass burning, even before she had written it! She warned she felt there were throw backs in history that we cannot ignore today. She hoped change is happening – against the fringes not getting their way and that determined ideological voices of reason are rising up.  

She spoke of her case being fourth on the day and that it purely focused on the letter of the Law of the UK, and not on the politics. She was shocked by the language and vitriol that followed - when she was subjected to violence and not only by individuals online. The abusive mail was even worse and the premeditated nature of posting a letter. She didn’t know that we lived in a country like this. 

“Its important to understand the other point of view – to reach out and engage. But there was no reasoning behind it all, only pure hatred. Their hope was to destroy me, to destroy the case.” But she said, “I cannot sit back and watch people hurting. I’d never stop. I’m supposed to be doing this. It is easier to be resilient and a campaigner – to be honest to who you are. I can’t be anyone else. She was also shocked at the level of smears, and casual stereotyping in the mainstream right wing media. I need to absorb that energy. They can’t find fault in my argument.”

Gina spoke of how much she learned from her father. He started out at the petrol pump, got a law degree and became attorney general, in Guyana. Her father was eloquent. Words can bring people together or words can create barriers. She quoted John Mortimer, ‘Words into the courtroom are soldiers into battle.’  We must know our place in the world. – the role of law, and civil justice. We must fight to being back democracy to our country.” 

She said, “These are dangerous times and we are not walking on stable ground, on values and principles, respect for each other. Today the ground is rocking with weak foundations. Some are exploiting divisions in a systematic and cultish way. People are defined by how they voted in a destructive way. There are politicians with a hidden agenda, which can lead to an authoritarian society with less choices. A deliberate re-alignment.” 

She says our politicians are arrogant and lazy with a zombie parliament and with no written constitution. We have two leaders, who are not states people and have no plan. 
A People’s Vote? The politicians don’t want to get their hands dirty – so give it back to the people. Miller advocates three choices for a People’s Vote – Mrs Mays deal/ a Canada style deal / no deal. Around 73% now are in favour of a vote. 

For the younger generation, she feels they don’t teach what the EU is really about in schools. 
It is cheaper to join a club, with the EU we share – medical agency, open skies, legal, environmental agency, infrastructure, research, just in time manufacturing, and much more. Miller wondered, how do we get out of this mess and all the divisiveness.
She spoke of moving past divisions – and I agree – but moving past wealth divisions will not be so easy. The system needs changed through independence.

PS  I don’t want an indy Scotland building walls with its neighbours or with Europe. Indy is not about borders for me. We must speak with both national and international voices. Change can only happen in small places: that's where the creative, innovative, individual voices happen.

I feel the world has tilted off its axis for a while – I can hope it will correct itself! I remember the Berlin wall coming down and we seem to be building too many walls today.  

Thursday 29 May 2014

Maya Angelou: Birds that fly from poverty

Maya was best known for her book ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’, 1969, which brought her international acclaim. She died yesterday May 28 2014 and I was sad to hear of her loss. 
Her books centre on themes such as racism, identity, family, and travel. Angelou is best known for her autobiographies, but she was also an established poet.  She inspired many. 

She was a journalist, activist, novelist and poet as well as many other things. I was reading her Wiki page, goodness!  She was also a dancer, actress, singer, composer, screen writer, professor, lecturer, traveller and more. Angelou (not her real name) was also a mentor to Oprah Winfrey. In 2011 she received the Presidential medal of honour.

She used elements of the Blues, including the act of testimony when speaking of one's life and struggles, ironic understatement, and the use of natural metaphors, rhythms, and intonations. Angelou, instead of depending upon plot, used personal and historical events to shape her books. She considered herself a teacher who writes and she found relief in "telling the truth." Gillespie spoke of the breadth and depth of Maya Angelou's spirit and creative genius" 

Maya wrote one of my favourite poems. She lived through hard times and her spirit won through. Who's to say that those same struggles too are what defines us?

Love builds up the broken wall
and straightens the crooked path,
love keeps the stars in the firmament
and imposes rhythm on the ocean tides
each of us is created of it
and I suspect
each of us was created for it.'  

'I believe the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare.' Maya Angelou

‘The most noble cause known to man is the liberation of the mind and spirit. ‘
‘All my work, my life, everything I do is about survival, not just bare, awful, plodding survival, but survival with grace and faith. While one may encounter many defeats, one must not be defeated.’  Maya Angelou

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Eve Ensler One Billion Rising

Eve Ensler (born May 25, 1953) is an American playwright, feminist, activist best known for her play The Vagina Monologues. I was inspired last night on BBCs Hardtalk by writer and feminist Eve Ensler who works against violence towards women. Certainly when I listen to the news it is often about violence towards women ( just today in the UK DJ Dave Lee Tarvis and Rolf Harris are both in court for charges of sexual assaults on young women) 

She says women need to break the silence - and that most women keep quiet about their problems.  Violence towards women occurs in all countries worldwide - there is still incest, bullying, sexual harassment in the developed world - 1 in 5 women in UK are attacked, 1 in 3 in the US, 1 in 5 women on college compasses US are attacked.  Violence against women is what maintains Patriarchy. 

Her play The Vagina Monologues makes it OK for women to speak out. She heard women talk of these issues and stories that upset her.  One older woman spoke of being assaulted as a young girl and after this experience she never had sex. Eventually all the women's stories were made into her play The Vagina Monologues which is now performed world wide in 140 countries. She said the storied are universal and that all women understand them.  She claims that the violence perfumed by men against women can lead to depression, suicides and eating disorders.  She says women need to break the silence. She said that the threat of violence and daily terror leads to a siege mentality and that this existence of fear leads to depressions, destroys self esteem, confidence and sense of worthiness. 

Ensler stated that her feminism motivates her art and that they drive each other.  Eve was bullied by her own father and she said often these men are spilt personalities projecting one normal image to the outside world another violent one indoors. 
Writing was the one experience where she was able to make sense of her environment and have  a persona that wasn't being drowned. 

Of course we tend as women to blame ourselves - that is that we are somehow the cause of these attacks by our own behaviour.  I remember watching the movie Goodwill Hunting when the therapist says to Will - Its Not Your Fault, Its Not Your Fault over and over. I find it very hard not to believe it is not somehow my fault.  
Perhaps this book on art and words and music is about my journey to make sense of it all.  Music has been my escape route to a better place. When I was very young I started to write poems and  to draw. 

Ensler started the campaign One Billion Rising for Justice. She says this is a grassroots campaign organised worldwide. In 2013, One Billion women and men shook the earth through dance to end violence against women and girls.  She called on women to dance outside police buildings. Dance is a powerful expression of breaking free; tell stories, organise.

We write to you one month before 14 February, the actual day we will rise and dance for Justice. But we all know One Billion Rising for Justice is clearly not just a day. It is a campaign, a strategy, a determination, a new energy. It is months of preparation, investigation, and collaboration. It is the careful, conscious work of building a coalition, inviting new activists, and acknowledging those who have been on the frontlines for years. It is envisioning and writing new laws and legislation. It is breaking the silence, releasing our stories, naming and identifying injustices, creating demands, organizing forums and panels and events, as well as writing songs and poems and plays, and making videos. It is identifying the places where we will rise. It is learning about our sisters’ struggles around the world and making them our own. It is bringing the most marginalized to the front. It is the grassroots leading the way. It is men joining and standing with us. It is acknowledging the places of intersection. It is a decision, a vision of the world where the bodies of women and the body of our mother earth are honored and cherished and safe and held sacred. It is trust. It is expanding our identities and wounds to include the others. It is a fierce refusal to undermine or attack or diminish, but to take the time to find the language to express our grievances and frustrations, with the belief that each one of us in this struggle is on a path of evolution and revolution, wounded, broken, and doing our best. It is a wild energy that says Yes. Freedom is possible. Unity is Possible. Everything is possible. It is a Rising – dissolving borders, edges, separations. It is love, an unstoppable wave of love and justice.
This year, on 14 February 2014 we are calling on women and men everywhere to harness their power and imagination to rise for justice. Imagine, One Billion women releasing their stories, dancing and speaking out at the places where they need justice, where they need an end to violence against women and girls.  Join us!