Category: Philosophy & Society

Authors Oprah Winfrey, Jane Goodall Included in Activist Art Installation

Equal rights activists, artists, and married couple Gillie and Marc Schattner are bringing gender-balanced public art to global cities with their new initiative, “Statues for Equality,” which aims to introduce statues of living women to cities that favor statues of male figures (so, most cities). New York will be the first city to display 10 of the artist-couple’s statues, all of which will pay tribute to living women. Authors among these women will include renowned public figures Oprah Winfrey (author of What I Know for Sure) and Jane Goodall (author of In the Shadow of Man).

According to the couple’s website, fewer than 3% of public statues in New York depict women, and even fewer depict historical women who made or are making significant contributions to society—as opposed to children’s book characters. Writers, world leaders, researchers, and more will debut at 1285 Avenue of the Americas on August 26th, 2019.

 

A statue of Eleanor Roosevelt sits at West 72nd Street and Riverside Park. Image Via Wikipedia Commons.

 

Gillie and Marc are perhaps best known for their widely popular sculpture The Last Three, a massive work featuring three life-sized northern white rhinos stacked precariously on top of one another that was installed at Astor Place and which was intended to immortalize the three remaining northern white rhinos in the world. (Since the statue’s debut, the last male northern white rhino has died while two females are still alive; all three are depicted in the sculpture.) The statue is now located at the San Antonio Zoo in Texas. According to their website, Gillie and Marc have nicknamed themselves “the world’s most loving artists” due to their tendency to focus on humanitarian causes in their work.

 

Gillie and Marc’s Astor Place installation ‘The Last Three.’ Image courtesy of Gillie and Marc Schattner.

 

In addition to Goodall and Winfrey, the summer installation will also feature Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, P!nk, Tererai Trent, Janet Mock, Tracy Dyson, Cheryl Strayed, and Gabby Douglas. You may recognize Harriet Tubman (St. Nicholas Avenue and West 122nd Street) and Joan of Arc (West 93rd Street in Riverside Park) as two of the existing five statues of historical women figures in the city—sculptures depicting fictional figures include Alice from Alice in Wonderland and Fearless Girl.

There are no plans for the statues to remain permanently at 1285 Avenue of the Americas after the exhibition closes, but the team’s website emphasizes that Statues for Equality is a global initiative, and the sculptures will likely travel. Gillie and Marc will expand their initiative to other cities after the New York launch and are still accepting nominations from the public for future statues.

 

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons.

Behrouz Boochani, author in exile

Detained Asylum Seeker Wins Australia’s Biggest Literary Prize, Remains Imprisoned

The winner of Australia’s most esteemed literary prize could not attend the ceremony.

Today, Kurdish Iranian writer Behrouz Boochani won the Victorian Prize for Literature for his book, No Friend But the MountainsComposed one text message at a time from an offshore detention center in Papua New Guinea, the novel has won a $25,000 and $100,000 prize in a country that denied this author refuge and continues to detain him.  One of Behrouz Boochani’s greatest achievements should highlight what many perceive as present-day Australia’s greatest shame.

 

Boochani looks out through a fence towards the open ocean

IMAGE VIA SBS NEWS

The experimental format of Boochani’s book was not an artistic decision—it was a necessity. While seeking refuge in Australia, the author was detained on Manus Island, a notorious offshore detention facility. Since he feared for his safety and the safety of his work, he wrote his novel entirely over WhatsApp messenger—and over the course of five years. He was right to be afraid: during his time at the detention center, he witnessed suicide attempts, riots, and murders. His phone was taken twice. “Imagine if I had written this book on paper,” Boochani said, “I would definitely have lost it.”

 

Boochani's novel, 'No Friend But the Mountains'

IMAGE VIA BLANK GC

Boochani might have won a significant sum, but money was never his aim in writing the book. Instead, he sought to share his experience of immigration and detention:

My main aim has always been for the people in Australia and around the world to understand deeply how this system has tortured innocent people on Manus and Nauru in a systematic way for almost six years. I hope this award will bring more attention to our situation and create change.

 

Image Via MO MAgazine

 

Although the detention camps have been legally closed, their continued existence bodes ill for Australia as a nation and for the people still left inside. LGBT+ people particular have suffered in these camps: in Papua New Guinea, homosexuality is still a crime. Gay men in the immigration detention facility can face up to fourteen years in prison. Boochani describes the camps as “barbaric.”

Boochani may have written the book to spread awareness of these cruelties, but, he admits, there was also another reason. Writing helped him to keep his humanity, his identity, he said. Writing was the thing that allowed him to survive.

 

Featured Image Via The Guardian

Exhibition Shows 80% of All Surviving Old English Verse Together for First Time in History

The Daily Times reports that “something like 80 percent of all surviving Old English verse survives in four physical books, and for the first time in recorded history they are all together.”

An exhibition in British Library in London, displays an “array of documents, books and archaeological evidence to form a dense picture of the Anglo-Saxon period, including a burial urn with runic inscriptions in early English from Loveden Hill, Lincolnshire, England.”

Medieval historian Mary Wellesley told BBC Culture that “the period that is represented by Old English is about 600 years, which is like between us and back to Chaucer. Imagine if there were only four physical books that survived from that period, what would that say about our literature?”

 

Image Via BBC (Credit: The Trustees of the British Museum)

 

Modern English has its roots in 5th-Century Germany, “from where the Anglian, Saxon and Jute tribes came.” When the Roman legions withdrew around 410AD, the Saxon war bands landed and an era of migration from the Continent and the formation of Anglo-Saxon England began.” The word ‘English’ derives from “the homeland of the Angles, the Anglian peninsula in Germany.”

Early English used the runic alphabet, and was closely related Germanic languages “such as Old Norse, Old Saxon and Old High German.”

 

Image Via BBC (Credit: British Library Board)

 

If you want to know more information about this, I suggest you check out the article written by BBC.

 

Featured Image Via BBC.com (Credit: Reproduced courtesy of the Chapter, Canterbury Cathedral)
Lao Tzu

13 Lao Tzu Quotes You Could Use in This Moment to Find Yourself

Have you ever reached a point in your life when you feel like, for the first time, you can see everything clearly? There’s this feeling when all the little truths you’ve hidden from yourself come into view and you accept them for what they are. They are yours and they make you you.

 

I feel as though you find yourself in this way: bits and pieces at a time, both unexpectedly and while searching high and low. We travel, we meet new people, we pursue the things we love with great passion to find a spot for ourselves in this funny universe. If you’re like me, you’ve been focusing on all the wrong things and it’s taken you a while just to admit it. Like the lyrics from my favorite Eagles song, sometimes you’ve just got to take it easy and don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy. Let life come to you; don’t take anything too seriously.

 

I remember my abuelito once telling me about the great Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. Now, I feel like it’s no coincidence that I’ve come across his name again to share his words with you. I believe we all need these. Here are thirteen quotes on simply finding yourself.

 

1. At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.

 

2. Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.

 

3. A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.

 

4.Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power.

 

5. Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.

 

6. When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.

 

7. Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.

 

8. Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.

 

9. If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.

 

10. Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.

 

11. She does not show herself, and therefore is apparent. She does not affirm herself, and therefore is acknowledged. She does not boast and therefore has merit. She does not strive and therefore is successful. It is exactly because she does not contend, that nobody can contend with her.

 

12. Stop leaving and you will arrive. Stop searching and you will see. Stop running away and you will be found.

 

13. Your own positive future begins in this moment. All you have is right now. Every goal is possible from here.

 

via GIPHY

 

Feature Image Via Love Quotes and Sayings