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Culture from Home! #2 - Black Art Matters

Even though those of us in Europe are lucky that government responses have helped flatten the curve and the COVID-19 pandemic is more under control than it was a couple of months ago (it’s in no way over), thereby allowing many of us to safely enjoy this summer after months of being confined, we know that not everyone is as fortunate. We therefore wanted to share more cultural and artistic activities that anyone with a smartphone (or a computer) and a decent internet connection can do from home. These come from the “Culture from Home!” emails that we started sending to our young members when confinement started back in March, continue to send over the summer. Considering everything going on, including the international art world finally waking up to the vast gaps in racial recognition and representation in global art institutions, this list will focus on Black art.

Art & culture (music, visual arts, cultural festival):

Today is the final day of the Notting Hill Carnival. It’s the first time in 54 years that the largest street festival in Europe, showcasing Caribbean sounds, flavors and moves, has been canceled. In an effort to keep everyone safely dancing from home, the organizers have made it possible to livestream the festival. You can also choose a variety of pre-recorded events here.

Photo © Toby Melville / Reuters

The Importance of Ear Piercings In Kenyan Communities is a virtual exhibit showcasing Kenyan ear piercings.


Alicia Keys' NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert showcases her talent and is an uplifting musical moment.

The online exhibit, Richness of Black Art, is a collection of paintings that portray Black life.

"I chose pictures that show a view of Black people in many forms... We love our family, and we enjoy life no matter what our situation is. The pictures I chose in my gallery shows the artist portraying such strength, hard working, and unity towards one another. I hope you enjoy what you see." - Lenora Hall

The Gordon Parks X Muhammed Ali photo exhibit showcases the talent and work of both of these influential people. Ali was not only a world champion boxer, but he was also an activist and a philanthropist, and he spoke out regularly against racism. Parks was a trailblazer in his own right. He was the first African American to produce and direct major motion pictures and is well-known for his photos of poor Americans in the 1940s.

Kick Eat is a Paris-based creative project, linking gastronomy and hip-hop, namely beatbox.

The virtual portrait exhibit of African Americans now only showcases the work of several talented artists, it also highlights the careers of many remarkable African Americans.

Language learning:

ENGLISH

Jean-Michel Basquiat was a talented contemporary artist. Watch this animated video that shows his work and try to understand the English. You can add subtitles if you need them. 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian author. Here you can practice your English comprehensive skills while listening to her interesting TED talk about changing stereotypes about Africa and Africans. You can also read some of her work here.

FRENCH

Practice your French comprehension skills with this episode of Kiffe Ta Race podcast. The discussion is on the cultural appropriation of music. Other episodes (also available on music streaming apps), confront issues such as being Black and Asian in France, Roma rights, what it means to be mixed, racism in the media, issues facing children who are adopted by people of a different cultural and ethnic background, racism in the UK, and the legacy of colonialism in Belgium. The conversations are always honest, informational and riveting. A few episodes are in English.

This video by the artist Seumboy Vrainom :€  is about the history of French colonialism, and why it's important to talk about it. It's short and creative. You can add French subtitles. On his Instagram page and YouTube channel, Histories Crépues, you will find other videos that explore issues like racist French colonial monuments and police violence against minorities in France.

Discovering new artists and art institutions around the world through online exhibits and virtual tours has been one of the few positive aspects of the pandemic situation for us. We hope this list serves as an enjoyable distraction!

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