We are honored to share this collection of relevant work by artists who create music and art in response to oppression, fight persecution through cultural expression, embrace identity, and preserve memory.
HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR BAND
This short documentary profiles two elderly Holocaust survivors in Florida who recently formed their own Klezmer band. Produced by: Joshua Z Weinstein Read the story here: http://nyti.ms/1BDwzYv
A PRAYER FOR MARTA
In the spring of 1968, people in Czechoslovakia enjoyed a loosening of political and cultural restrictions, a time known as the Prague Spring. Unfortunately, the Prague Spring lasted only a few months. 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, a movement that restored freedom and democracy to Czechoslovakia in 1989. The song A Prayer for Marta, written by singer and freedom fighter, Marta Kubišová, became the anthem of occupied Czechoslovakia. Marta helped lead the Velvet Revolution and sang her famous ballad A Prayer for Martha on November 21st from a balcony above Wenceslas Square on November 21, 1989 (documented in the video above). Thousands gathered to hear Marta sing the song of freedom, which also marked her return to stage. To learn more about Marta, click here.
ANA FI CAMP
Written by artists, Ougly Facile & Tonic Y4, this is a well-known inspiration song in South Sudan that talks about how people are suffering in the refugee camp. Produced by 5ve Make Visio Media (2017).
Written by Tom Minter, directed by Dione Joseph, and produced by JK Productions: He Korero Ngā Tahi, AMERICA REX is a story about power, politics and personalities colliding in an epic drama that calls for a return to indigenous ways of knowing and belonging. Led by a diverse cast of New Zealand talent this is multi-disciplinary collaborative production that invites the audience to imagine a different present — or relinquish ourselves to an inevitable future.
This important project recognizes our communities need to come together to grapple with a changing landscape, to understand our responsibility to Papatuanuku and to respectfully filter the wisdom of the ages to our present. Our change is present, our power is now, and our future is here. As citizens who believe in endless possibilities — it is our time to speak out.
Directed by Sundance award-winner Rob Fruchtman, MOVING STORIES follows six diverse dancers from Dancing to Connect to India, Romania, Korea, and Iraq, documenting their process of teaching choreography and collaboration for performance within a week, while capturing the struggle, frustration, determination, and transformation of students and teachers.
Battery Dance Company, founded by Jonathan Hollander, created Dance to Connect, in which his dancers travel around the world to encourage youth who experienced war, poverty, sexual violence, persecution, and severe trauma to express their feelings and stories through dance.
ANATABAN'S BLACK TIDE official music video launched on April 23, 2019 to raise awareness on the disadvantages of oil pollution in South Sudan's oil drilling sites. Children are born without limbs, others with three legs while others extremely deformed.
ANATABAN is a campaign and movement started by young South Sudanese creatives to support the 'taban/tired' people of South Sudan.
CAMERA KIDS, a documentary film currently in production by GroundTruth Films, tells the story of Gadi Habumugisha, Bizimana Jean, and Mussa Uwitonze, three orphans of the Rwandan genocide. While growing up in the Imbabazi Orphanage, they learned from David Jiranek, along with other kids, how to take photographs . Today Gadki, Bizimana, and Mussa are professionals photographers. When they are not taking photographs, they work with Through the Eyes of Children to teach vulnerable kids how to express themselves through the camera lens.
CAMERA KIDS was featured on PBS News Hour on April 5, 2019 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide when nearly 800,000 people were massacred, leaving just under 100,00 children without parents. Nearly 75% of the Tutsi people were killed. According to the Washington Post, Rwanda's third and smallest ethnic group, the Twa were also victims of the genocide. About 10,000 Twa people were killed and another 10,000 became refugees.
MASS FOR THE OPPRESSED
MASS FOR THE OPPRESSED was written by Alaskan composer Emerson Eads in response to the release of four Native Alaskans, known as The Fairbanks Four, from prison after eighteen years of wrongful incarceration. They were released in December of 2015 with no chance to seek any reparations from the state of Alaska.
When accepting our request to share "Mass for the Oppressed" with us, Emerson wrote, "Indeed oppression is oppression, no matter if it is in Alaska, or in Eastern Europe, and any attempt to draw attention to marginalized groups, combines the voices of oppressed and makes them harder to ignore."
“THROUGH THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE” explores the capacity of the human heart to heal. It is a story about Esther Nisenthal Krinitz resilience and response to persecution during the Nazi occupation in Poland and the preservation of memory through her art. The Art and Remembrance Foundation, founded by Esther's daughter, Bernice Steinhardt, helps us remember that "genocide and other acts of baseless hatred are still with us, and that Esther’s story, and those like hers, compels us to build a just and peaceful world for all".
WHAT DOES "THE RIGHT TO PEACE" MEAN TO YOU?
To UNMAS (United Nations Mine Action Service), peace is achieved by creating a safe environment for people to live in, without the threat posed by explosive hazards.
Arts, especially in the form of music, is another way of promoting peace. Maestro Karim Wasfi and UNMAS in Iraq (September 2018) joined efforts to promote explosive violence reduction and reconstruction. Maestro is playing the cello in the destroyed buildings of Al Shifa Hospital Complex where approximately 2,000 explosive hazards were removed by UNMAS.
Patricia Hall, a music theory professor at the University of Michigan, unearthed music manuscripts arranged and performed by prisoners at Autschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. The full story was published by NPR on December 2, 2018.
COMING FULL CIRCLE
Margot S. Neuhaus shares tells us about COMING FULL CIRCLE, an exhibit of her artwork in two series, "In Memoriam" and "Light Motives". "Coming Full Circle" was exhibit at the Galicia Museum and the Jewish Community Center in Krakow, Poland as part of the Jewish Culture Festival, June 23-July 1, 2018.
Pittsburgh producer Jose Muniain shared with us his story of poet Huang Xiang, considered to be the pre-eminent post cultural revolution poet of China.Huang Xiang was born in Hunan Province, China, in 1941. His unceasing bravery, in the face of sure re-imprisonment, and further torture, forced him to leave his homeland.
Huang began writing poems in the 1950s and has been imprisoned repeatedly for his work. In 1978, he founded “Enlightenment,” the first underground writers’ society, and started a literary magazine with the same title. In exile in the United States since 1997, he was also a resident poet in Pittsburgh under the Cities of Asylum program for writers.
TODAY WE SING
Produced in 2016, TODAY WE SING is a music video, directed by Yousef Nateel, that shows us the realities of life in the Gaza Strip. As described by teifidancer, the music video shows us a place "where electricity flows for just eight hours each day, in this open prison where 1.8 million Palestinians are now contained. Many young Gazan musicians and singers are starved of permanent performance spaces, but despite bombardment, explosions, rockets, violence, struggle, terror, borders, all these restrictions, increasingly many are now using the internet to display their talents and share their messages of hope, peace, and freedom to the world."
Sweden's Riksteatern Värmland (the Rik), the National Touring Theater of Sweden, implemented the project to teach 17 participants music theory and music production. These young musicians who are unable to find jobs in the Gaza Strip, paid with the little money they had for their musical efforts. Thanks to the support of the Rik who provided the project with portable studios, these young musicians can share music on social media so that others may hear their songs. This documentary tells their story.