Sudanese Australians use music to reflect on their war experiences. This group performed for the Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS) in Western Sydney. One performer says:
When you’re happy, you sing it out; when you’re sad, you sing it out… You talk to people, you make an announcement – anything at all, you make a song.
Another singer says:
It looks like fun, but it’s not fun… I’m not a young woman, I’m an old woman. I can’t come if it’s [just] fun. We want the people that doesn’t know what happened a long time in the past, and that is why we are here.
STARTTS Chief Executive says:
Dance brings people together, but also brings people together in a way that turns thoughts and feelings into action, and that’s tremendously therapeutic.
Source: SBS News.
Margaret Mead (December 16, 1901—November 15, 1978) intended to make a life out of painting. Instead, she became the world’s best-known cultural anthropologist, becoming the discipline’s most revered patron saint.
A 1959 audio interview captured Mead’s deceptively ordinary extraordinariness:Doctor Mead is of small build, she has blue eyes, she’s plain folks — there are no wares about her. You get the impression that she’d be at home anywhere — in an igloo, a native hut, or a Park Avenue penthouse.
And, indeed, she did. Mead dedicated her life to the study of indigenous societies and the translation of those observations into invaluable insights on Western culture. Through her tireless work and its eloquent articulation in her books — including her now-legendary volumes Sex and Temperament and Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilization — as well as in her mass media appearances, she popularized modern anthropology, giving it shape and cultural credibility both as a field of practical study and as an area of intellectual inquiry.
Mead is credited as the originator of the viral aphorism “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Though the authorship of the now-ubiquitous quote has never been ascertained, it endures as a beautiful and fitting meta-testament to Mead’s studies of how ideas spread and are assimilated in a culture.
Mead opposed the over-academization of anthropology and its preoccupation with terminology rather than crisp, plain insight. She wryly admonished in her 1979 volume Some Personal Views:If one cannot state a matter clearly enough so that even an intelligent twelve-year-old can understand it, one should remain within the cloistered walls of the university and laboratory until one gets a better grasp of one’s subject matter.
Both her anthropological observations and her personal experience led Mead to defy a number of Wester conventions, instilling in her the conviction that one’s sexual orientation can evolve over the course of a lifetime and that it is possible for a person to have more than one beloved at the same time. In a collection of Mead’s letters, published in 2006 with her daughter’s permission, she writes:[I believe] that one can love several people and that demonstrative affection has its place in different types of relationship.
Mead also objected to the limiting social structures and labels of Western society, especially those that confined sexual identity and behavior to artificial categories, including those of “heterosexual” and “homosexual.” Mead herself had three marriages to men — all anthropologists — and a daughter with her third husband, the renowned British anthropologist Gregory Bateson. She also had two long-term romantic relationships with women: One with her mentor Ruth Benedict, fourteen years her senior, who died in 1948, and another with the prominent anthropologist Rhoda Metraux, thirteen years her junior, who edited much of Mead’s work and with whom Mead spent the last 23 years of her life.
Several weeks after her death, in January of 1979, Mead was posthumously awarded the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom, which cited her far-reaching and inextinguishable legacy:Margaret Mead was both a student of civilization and an exemplar of it. To a public of millions, she brought the central insight of cultural anthropology: that varying cultural patterns express an underlying human unity. She mastered her discipline, but she also transcended it. Intrepid, independent, plain spoken, fearless, she remains a model for the young and a teacher from whom all may learn.
- Reblogged from thereconstructionists
Exhibition view – Peter De Potter’s I Am An Image Machine in-situ installation during the Transmission 1 – The Avant garde Diaries event, curated by Raf Simons. Berlin, 14-17 July 2011.
32 works from the series I Am An Image Machine (2010) installed on the 4 metre-high windows of the Berlin BCC Centre using the building as a lightbox.
Artist on Tumblr.
- Reblogged from peterdepotterindex
This Spanish artist describes his art:
I’m interested in organic forms in decomposition, soft and amorphous qualities that accentuate the tactile sense of vision. There is movement and tension, an internal force that pulls things toward the abyss.
I usually work at several works at the same time, with the intention of expanding the possibilities of each theme. I try to make the final effect as something obsessive, repetitive, with a certain tone and atmosphere. The idea is that each image has a temperature, a character like a portrait of an unknown thing until you create it.
- Reblogged from likeafieldmouse
Margaret Atwood's hand-drawn self-portrait, along with those of other famous authors
- Reblogged from explore-blog
Make art and post it on Facebook.
- Reblogged from leithomalley
Melbourne private school teacher and literary curmudgeon Christopher Bantick argues that Gen Y don’t understand “serious” Australian culture. Writing for The Age, Bantick believes that Gen Y’s engagement with popular culture over the classics will lead our nation to decline:
The vanity that is lauded as virtue pervades the culture to a corrosive extent. Young people have lost the capacity to actually know when something is art, and worthy. Instead, they hang on every word of their latest celeb mouthing inanities….
So who’s at fault? Schools need to do more about bringing a little elitism back into the awareness of culture. High culture: fine art, opera, serious drama and music that requires patience and understanding needs to be embedded into the curriculum.
In Australia, elitism is a dirty word. But maybe our jingoistic egalitarianism has gone too far with the sense of cultural equity. Who knows what a sonnet is, a partita, a motet, or who was Goethe or Christopher Marlowe? As for ballet, forget it. There are many other examples.
Bantick celebrates the fact that he teaches “classically demanding literature” at a private school, adding that his course is “elite, consciously so.”
Classical texts are worthy subjects of education for sure. Yet Bantick seems to be wilfully ignorant of the sociology of Australia’s education system. The arts that he celebrates are important, but no less so than newer and alternative modes of literature and art. Bantick gives an off-hand comment that most ballet, opera and theatre performances are less expensive than a Rolling Stones concert. This is totally ignorant of the fact that not all Australians can afford Rolling Stones concerts, let alone young kids from poor or working class backgrounds.
Australian sociologist Raewyn Connell and colleagues have shown the various ways in which the education system is already set up to favour the elite interests of the ruling class. Without a trace of irony, Bantick is claiming to support a better education system to maintain Australian culture, without specifying what this means: largely White, upper class, Anglo-Australian culture. Part of the way in which wealth is maintained is through elite cultural activities that are out of reach for the average, working-class Australian child.
Should the classical arts be made more available to Australian youth? Yes! Should this be at the expense and ridicule of other artistic and literary expressions? No!
Bantick’s elitist rant completely disregards that vapid celebrity culture is not a youth monolith. Adults also participate in this form of entertainment. Yet celebrity culture is not the only type of popular culture that youth participate in and create. Young Indigenous Australians and migrant-Australians from non-English speaking backgrounds do not see themselves in mainstream Australian culture. They find ingenious ways to remix culture, using technology and hybrid expressions of Australian and their minority identities. There are comics, blogs, vlogs, street art, zines and various other elements to youth culture that speak to marginalised youth who currently have no access to nor representation within mainstream culture.
Fellow teacher and writer Craig Hildebrand-Burke argues against Bantick. In a passionate defence of Gen Y’s engagement with literary texts, Hildebrand-Burke sees culture as a fluid and meaningful process.
This rigid, snobbish attitude toward education is damaging our future generations through the stagnancy of curriculum authorities, unable to distinguish the differences and merits between highbrow and lowbrow, new and old. Teachers like Christopher Bantick are indicators that too much of education is populated by those afraid and dismissive of the young and resistant to change. As a new school year begins, we cannot afford to let education in Australia slide back into archaic elitism, nor allow our children be castigated as moronic and uncultured by those charged with the duty to foster and educate the young.
Hildebrand-Burke’s article is thoughtful and inspired. Read it in full on SBS News.