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Art

A Space to Practice Practicing Space

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A Space to Practice Practicing Space

By Sheila Murray

In her latest report for our Weaving the Streets project, Sheila Murray takes us to Practice Space, an innovative Boston space that focuses on "rigorous self-care" in order to "weave through its locality to strengthen a community."

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Calling Boston Artists to Action

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Calling Boston Artists to Action

By Sheila Murray

As a transplant to the Boston area, it’s been interesting to familiarize myself with the city through the lens of current politics and social movements.  Unlike my years growing up in a small New Hampshire town and my time at university in upstate New York, Boston is positively bursting with events. That said, event spaces are not always conventional.  Here, a friend’s apartment is the scene for a “Women’s Brunch;” there, breweries become writing labs, bouldering gyms host “postcard parties,” and a tattoo parlor converts into a local artist marketplace.  In the past few months, my eyes have been on community engagement and the spaces that crop up as hosts.

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A Different Kind of Resistance at Bittersweet Farm

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A Different Kind of Resistance at Bittersweet Farm

By Andrew Watson

It is the morning of January 16th, four days before Donald J. Trump is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. It is, coincidentally, four days before many believe the end of the world will begin. For Brian Bennett, his wife Ann, and his daughter Catherine, it is just Monday. The Bennetts, owners and operators of Bittersweet Farm in Heuvelton, New York, are resistance fighters. However, they do not fight with guns, uniforms, or marching orders; their fight requires hand tools, a 1958 International Harvester, and an extensive knowledge of heritage breed ruminants and poultry.

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Weaving the Past and the Present in Beirut's Public Spaces

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Weaving the Past and the Present in Beirut's Public Spaces

By Bridget Ireland

One of the best parts of studying in Jordan, a centrally located Middle Eastern country, is the ease of travel around the region. I was lucky enough to travel to Beirut, Lebanon, over a break in the semester at AMIDEAST to experience a new city and new culture. Beirut has significantly more street art than Amman at the moment, partly because of the consistent political turmoil and lack of stability in the government. Street art is a way to express political activism and culture, which Beirut is not lacking. Colorful word art and unique designs adorn the city, a way of distinguishing itself as an independent city.

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"Do It Arabic": Interacting with Palestine in Jordan

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"Do It Arabic": Interacting with Palestine in Jordan

By Bridget Ireland

A very large part of Jordanian culture today is interwoven with the effects of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Jordan is a nation of about 10 million people, and almost 2 million are here as refugees from Palestine or descendants of these refugees. It is not abnormal to see the Palestinian flag flying alongside the Jordanian flag, and Palestinian food and dress are common. Many generations of families who live in Jordan identify as being Palestinian and speak of their roots. Tragically, it is rare for those living in Jordan to be able to return to their homeland or even visit relatives in Palestine as Israel controls the visa process. Part of a recent art exhibit at Darat Al-Funun named “Do It in Arabic” I attended helped to include visitors in the art as a way of conveying the realities of the Palestinian struggle.

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Posters and Politics: A Report from Amman Design Week

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Posters and Politics: A Report from Amman Design Week

By Bridget Ireland

Created by Wael Morcos of Lebanon, the poster to the left highlights an important characteristic of Jordanian culture in stunning simplicity. Surprisingly to many Westerners, English is very prevalent in a Jordanian’s everyday life. When I arrived in Amman, I was caught off guard by the amount of English present. Street signs, restaurant advertisements and storefronts almost always display both the Arabic and English names. Looking into the history, I have learned that the use of both languages is is in part due to the historical occupation by Great Britain until 1946. However, English is also becoming more popular in media, music and of course, art (check out Majed Mohamed Hasan Drbseh’s comments in this article from the International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications for more information on both languages in Jordan) for the general population. My initial impression of this poster was that the bold English text was targeting the Western world and urging English speakers to be aware of civil liberties. However the subtle and more graceful Arabic script suggests that it is a better representation of the blending of both languages in political life. This poster is a very accurate representation of life in Jordan, where a globalizing world has led to a need to advertise messages and communicate in both English and Arabic.

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Reflections on the Murals of Gonzalo Borondo

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Reflections on the Murals of Gonzalo Borondo

By Rebecca Clayman

Since returning from Rome, where I reported for the Weaving the Streets and People’s History Archive (WSPHA) project this past spring, I find myself closing my eyes and allowing a wave of visual memories to wash over my mind. After living in such a visually captivating place there are an endless number of picture perfect moments to recall, but the images I am most enchanted by are ones that surprised me. Instead of reminiscing about the Pantheon saturated in afternoon sunlight, I think back to the images I felt most challenged or shocked by.

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Public Art in Rome: William Kentridge's "Triumphs and Laments"

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Public Art in Rome: William Kentridge's "Triumphs and Laments"

By Rebecca Clayman

On the night of Friday April 22nd crowds gathered along the banks of the Tiber River in anticipation of the evenings performance. While on a typical Friday night the surrounding neighborhood would be filled with pedestrians filtering their way to and from popular bars in the lively neighborhood Trastevere, but on that particular night crowds gathered waiting to witness the unassuming walls of the Tiber River transform into a once in a life time theatrical experience.

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