Tag Archives: government

war dance and dangerous territories

18 Apr

So it’s with a little trepidation that I’m going to write this post as, to be frank, the intention of the His and Hers was never to wade into geopolitics or issues of a  contentious nature but to write about stuff that’s interesting and (hopefully) informative.

Now having been laid up for the last few days with a rather weird ear infection which made leaving a prone position seem like I had been instantly transported back to Friday night, I thought I might as well use the opportunity to binge view old DVDs.

If you haven’t heard of the #Kony2012 campaign and the associated repercussions in the last month or so, it’s likely you haven’t logged on to Twitter or Facebook for a while, and probably don’t know any teenagers.

Through the whole Kony /Invisible Children media furore I was surprised that the documentary War Dance wasn’t widely referenced.

Released in 2007 and nominated for an Oscar, it tells the stories of Dominic, Nancy and Rose, three children of the Acholi tribe in Northern Uganda, which is one of the worst areas affected by the Civil War / LRA.

Disarmingly beautiful, but covering some absolutely harrowing stories that are impossible not to be moved by, re-watching War Dance in light of recent events made me feel as though I should share this other perspective of recent history in Uganda.

Being a bit of a music nerd, the joy and cathartic benefits that music and dance brought these children and their wider community was pretty powerful. I’m not going to question the “awareness” or “education” benefits of students in the West buying Stop Kony packs and arranging rallies, but witnessing the difference that owning a simple xylophone made to Dominic, I couldn’t help question the focus of those efforts.

Frustratingly, War Dance is practically impossible to get hold of in the UK. I have, however, found a YouTube channel which has uploaded it in ten parts, the first of which is below (if you click on their channel you’ll see the others). If you have chance, please take the time to watch it.

say what you see

28 Mar

Last night we had the pleasure of attending the opening of Gillian Wearing’s new exhibition at the Whitechapel gallery covering an array of the Turner prize winning artist’s video and photographic work.

I’ll happily admit that I sometimes find video pieces a little difficult to get my head round, and some of these definitely fell into this category for me. “10–16”, where adults lip synch to children’s voices, is entertaining and slightly sinister in equal measures..

What I was really looking forward to was her photography work – especially the series “Signs that say what you want them to say, and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say“.

Photo: Gillian Wearing

These photographs taken in 1992 cover a whole spectrum of characters across the capital. The contrasts and unexpected nature of individual thoughts are really engaging, and now 20 years later also provides a really interesting piece of insight into the “state of the nation” at that time.

The contrasts of the actual and the presumed also made me think of this video from last year, where a team stopped Londoners in the street and asked them what they were listening to.. also pleasing that on the whole the music listened to by Londoners is of a reasonably high standard (in my humble opinion!)

The other reason you should visit the gallery is to see the Government Art Collection – this 4th display from the 13,500+ pieces that the government owns has been curated by members of staff (PAs, cleaners, IT managers etc.) from No.10 Downing St. who experience the art every day. And I have to agree with Diane, a PA at No.10, that this piece by John Virtue in the display really does stop you in your tracks.

Whitechapel Gallery 28 March-17 June 2012