Can Art Save Us?

I’m raising the first national and international conversation about the real meaning of courage and curiosity and why it makes a big difference to our mental, societal and democratic health. I talk to award-winning, diverse, national and international artists about the role of curiosity and courage in their lives and work with lessons in wellbeing for all of us. I’m exploring why we need these qualities to help change the global epidemic of mental illness, loneliness, polarization of our communities, and even global conflict. Are we sure these qualities of curiosity and courage are flourishing and especially as the digital world drives dis-information and pushed content? Since the arts cultivate courage and curiosity, I’m asking the question Can art save us? Be curious! SEASON ONE includes hip-hop poetry, graffiti, Islamic art, tap dance, filmmaking, music, drag, surrealism, photography and performance. The settings for this work include explosive protests in Istanbul, end of life, the Vatican, boy band tours, the WWII frontline, taking the stage, Egypt, museums, schools and the streets. SEASON TWO includes Islamic architecture, photography and protest, Syrian music, inclusive theatre, community arts, plays, installations and Windrush culture, ceramics and the Art School for the Homeless. The settings for this work include the war in Syria, the UK’s, 1985 Miners Strike, aristocracy and domestic abuse, the city of Brighton’s divisions and destiny, the 1970s West Indian Front Room, the body and pushing the boundaries of movement.

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Can Art Save Us?

I talk to diverse and award-winning artists about the role of curiosity and courage in their lives and work with benefits and learnings for all of us. Season one includes hip-hop poetry, graffiti, Islamic art, tap dance, filmmaking, music, drag, surrealism, photography and performance. The settings for this work has included explosive protest in Istanbul, end of life, the Vatican, boy band tours, the WWII frontline, taking the stage, Egypt, museums, schools and the streets. Being vulnerable is core to the artistic expressions of courage we discuss whilst honesty and openness often drives the artist's curiosity.

Episodes

Saturday Jul 30, 2022

Dr Michael McMillan is an artist, author, playwright and curator. His plays and performance pieces have been produced by the Royal Court Theatre, Channel 4, BBC Radio 4 Drama and across the UK. He’s a Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at the University of the Arts, London and an Associate Lecturer, teaching Cultural & Historical Studies at the London College of Fashion. Michael was born to immigrant parents from St Vincent and the Grenadines and his work explores family, identity and generation in a migrant context. His curation and installation of a 1970s West Indian Front Room at the Geffrye Museum had more than 35, 000 visitors and has since become a permanent exhibition at the now Museum of the Home. A new iteration of this 1970s interior was recently included at Tate Britain’s landmark exhibition; “Life Between Islands,” exploring Caribbean-British art over four generations. Amongst the 5 star reviews, The Guardian described the exhibition as ”a mind-altering portrait of British Caribbean life through art.”  We talk about the struggle behind rich cultural exchange, the political fear of art, the vital integrity of an artist, courage when your identity is made a target and the experience that changed Michael's life when he was only 16. Michael is a true educator. Series Audio Editor - Courtesy of Joey Quan. Images: The Museum of the Home Closed Captions are added to all interviews in this series. Read only, text versions of every interview can also be found here: www//canartsaveus.com/ Discover Dr. Michael McMillan's Front Room here: www.museumofthehome.org.uk/whats-on/rooms-through-time/a-front-room-in-1970/      

Saturday Jul 30, 2022

Daryl Beeton is a kind of acrobatic superhero. He flies on top of sway poles which includes 25 meters across London's Olympic Stadium. H’s trekked 228 miles across Nicaragua, filmed by the BBC, requiring armed soldiers due to the dangers of bandits and kidnappers. He also performs with the trapeze and could probably hang upside down longer than Batman and he's the creator of joyful and highly imaginative, inclusive theater. Daryl Beeton creates accessible theater for everyone. He's a performer with a disability. And he shows the joy of creating alternative and imaginative ways of performing. If you want to see how many ways a wheelchair can spin, striking, acrobatic shapes, and unexpected choreographies, he's your man. We talk about social disability, taking risks as part of exploring friendship and self-development, owning your identity and not being mis-represented, pushing boundaries and expectations, with plenty of mischief, merriment and fun. Assistant Audio Editor - Enric Thier Closed Captions are added to all interviews in this series. Read only, text versions of every interview can also be found here: www//canartsaveus.com/ Discover Daryl Beeton: www.darylandco.com  

Saturday Jul 30, 2022

Tarek Zaidieh is an exceptionally talented violinist and member of the outstanding Orchestra for Syrian Musicians. The orchestra is described as a celebration of Syrian culture with contagious rhythms, soaring vocals and genius musicianship. Tarek has performed with the orchestra across Europe and at major festivals, including Glastonbury. You may have discovered the orchestra performing with Damon Albarn, famously known as the frontman of Blur, and co-founder and lead singer of the virtual band Gorillaz. Tarek has described some of these experiences as once in a lifetime and that the mission of the orchestra is showing the world that Syrians speak the language of peace. We talk about the violin as his second heartbeat, music as an injection of life when threatened by war and a connection to home when displaced by conflict. Tarek and the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians let the music do the talking, sharing messages of peace across the world. Series Audio Editor - Courtesy of Joey Quan. Closed Captions are added to all interviews in this series. Read only, text versions of every interview can also be found here: www//canartsaveus.com/ Discover The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians here: www.facebook.com/syrianorchestra/        

Saturday Jul 30, 2022

Joe Howell, also known as Maverick Beyond is a photographic artist working with an alternative cyanotype process from which she also creates sculptures. Her identity is firmly rooted in Sunderland, loyal to her working class roots, Jo is standing up to arts elitism by staying put. Despite the barriers against her as a working class woman in the arts, Jo not only supports community groups into creative practice and learning, but she foregrounds women lost in history. We talk about the 'Sad Countess' as both a victim of shocking domestic abuse and as a ground breaking victor of sexist law. Jo also amplified and made visible the significance of the Countess as a botanist in the Bowes Museum collection. We talk about the contribution of women to the 1985 Miners' Strike and the role of art in banners which she is also making visible again today. Jo talks about the pain she lives with, fibromyalgia, alongside the social wounds in society today but, just like her nana did, with every intention of getting on. Series Audio Editor - Courtesy of Joey Quan. Closed Captions are added to all interviews in this series. Read only, text versions of every interview can also be found here: www//canartsaveus.com/ Discover Jo's work here along with free, creative workshop videos, get curious! www.maverickbeyond.com          

Saturday Jul 30, 2022

Maya Youssef is known as the Queen of the Qanun, a virtuoso and composer of this beautiful Middle Eastern instrument described as a flat harp with 78 strings and possibly a descendant of the Egyptian harp. Maya honours Arabic classical music traditions with pathways into Western classical, Latin and jazz music. Her music responds to her vivid dreams and spiritual awakening, war and domestic abuse, love and separation. Maya's music is a prayer for peace and healing which she consciously shares with her audiences. In Maya’s words the act of playing music is the opposite of death and destruction; it is a life- and hope-affirming act and an antidote to what is happening, not only in her home of Syria, but in the world. We talk about how she became Queen of an instrument deemed only for men, music and heartbreak, surviving her personal war and finding the universal home.  Series Audio Editor - Joey Quan. Closed Captions are added to all interviews in this series. Read only, text versions of every interview can also be found here: www//canartsaveus.com/ Discover Maya Youssef: www.mayayoussef.com

Saturday Jul 30, 2022

Bobby Brown is a creative producer, artist, manager and rising architect of community arts and equal access, based in the city of Brighton. He's a game changer in youth work supporting creative projects, including music and radio that changes the lives of disadvantaged and excluded young people. He describes himself as a dream weaver, a bridge builder, an optimist and as someone who relied on youth services growing up to make sense of conflict and creative energy. He's an artist manager for rap duo Frankie Stew and Harvey Gunn and he's already been behind R&B singer Elli Ingram, a household name. We talk about identity, why multi-cultural cities are still ghettoised, Black Lives Matter and cultural spaces, fear and internal faith. Bobby is a game changer in the city of Brighton responding to the ever deepening gap between rich and poor. He shares his ideas and vision for building a society where democracy, equality and a collective voice can flourish together.  Series Audio Editor - Courtesy of Joey Quan. Closed Captions are added to all interviews in this series. Read only, text versions of every interview can also be found here: www//canartsaveus.com/ Discover Bobby Brown here: www.lighthouse.org.uk/projects/public-art-strategy    

Saturday Jul 30, 2022

Dr. Marwa Al-Sabouni is an award-winning architect considered to be one of the top 50 global thinkers around the world. Marwa elevates the critical role architecture has to play in building peace and preventing conflict through segregation and isolation. She is the author of ‘The Battle for Home’ and ‘Building for Hope' and an international speaker. She also recently co-directed the Brighton festival. We talk about 'uglification' and how badly built environments result in loneliness, violence, suicide and war. We talk about inhumane architecture as a form of siege on our human experience. We talk about hope, how we can re-build for peace and where those examples of architecture have been found historically. Marwa's hometown Homs was destroyed during the Syrian war and she and her family lived as prisoners for 2 years with daily, deadly threats. She chose to stay, to rebuild peace. Her courage is as humble as it is huge, practical, spiritual and very inspiring for a world in desperate need of peace. During this recording, Marwa had low bandwidth in Syria, very special thanks are owed to the audio editor Barry J. Gibb to make the quality the best it could be.  Discover Marwa Al Sabouni here:  www.facebook.com/people/Marwa-Al-Sabouni/100001576481506/ Closed Captions are added to all interviews in this series. Read only, text versions of every interview can also be found here: www//canartsaveus.com/

Saturday Jul 30, 2022

Marice Cumber is one of the UK’s most compelling ceramic artists. She presents her own emotions, fears and vulnerabilities in her work and even cowardice shows up, no doubt  kicking and screaming. Her large, over-sized, ceramic cups hold and display her raw  emotions. They share the edgy qualities of German Expressionism by showing inner feelings and embracing the alternative but keeping a healthy focus on individual strength too. Marice is also the founder and director of Accumulate, the Art School for the Homeless and she has been committed to creativity as a way of empowering people who are homeless to move forward positively in their lives – you could say helping to re-fill their own cups with possibility and opportunity. We talk about cowardice, courage, mental health, purpose through crisis and how we can change adversity in our lives through creativity. Series Audio Editor - Joey Quan. Closed Captions are added to all interviews in this series. Read only, text versions of every interview can also be found here: www//canartsaveus.com/ Discover Marice Cumber: www.instagram.com/maricecumber    www.accumulate.org.uk  

Thursday May 05, 2022

Antony Penrose, is a photographer, author, rewilder and Co-director of The Penrose Collection and the Lee Miller Archives at Farleys House & Gallery, his childhood home in Sussex. Antony conserves and shares the extraordinary work of his parents. His father Sir Roland Penrose was a surrealist painter, poet, biographer and a major collector of modern art. His mother, Lee Miller, moved from being in front of the camera as a Vogue super model by today’s standards, to behind it as both a surrealist and highly significant WWII frontline war photographer. Oscar winner, Kate Winslet, will play Lee Miller in the forthcoming film, 'Lee.' Antony talks about biting Picasso, the courage of conviction and we discuss how 'curiosity is the most important thing in the world.' We discuss how surrealism and Lee's WWII war photography championed honesty and truth, however brutal. Images by permission only: ‘ Antony Penrose, Farleys House, Sussex, England’ by Tony Tree / ‘Dining Room, Farleys House, Sussex, England’ by Tony Tree Audio edit courtesy of Joey Quan. Closed Captions are added to all interviews in this series. Read only, text versions of every interview can be found here: www//canartsaveus.com/

Thursday May 05, 2022

Eve Horne, is a singer, songwriter, producer, author, award winning mentor and activist. Eve's journey is a roller coaster from being in 90s 'girl groups' touring with major boy bands, a No. 1 single and millions of streams on Spotify, to a major life change dealing with depression then re-emerging as a producer and co-writer for major artists. Black, gay and a single mum, Eve is also a campaigner for gender equality in the music industry with her campaign 'The Unheard.' This year she is recognised as a Future Leader with Keychange, a global movement for equality. Eve talks about early trauma from feelings of rejection to racially motivated murder. She talks about life extremes from private jets to driving trains and onto the loneliness of leadership. Struggle has built her resilience and her commitment to justice is brave and unwavering. Closed Captions are added to all interviews in this series. Read only, text versions of every interview can be found here: www.canartsaveus.com/ Images: Courtesy of Eve Horne / Peak Music UK. Audio edit: Courtesy of Joey Quan. Discover Eve: www.peakmusic.uk

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