Evolving Street Art

“Evolution is not about design or will; it is the outcome of constant endeavors made by organisms that want to survive and better themselves. The collective result is intoxicatingly beautiful, rife with oddities, and surpassingly brilliant, yet no agent is in control. Evolution arises from the bottom up – so too does hope.” -Paul Hawken, Blessed Unrest

Wonderful street art animation by BLU

Related posts: Political Street Art and Toronto Street Art Part 5

Home (2009)

Home (2009) features wonderful aerial photography from Yann Arthus-Bertrand shot in 54 countries over 217 days. The documentary highlights humanity’s role in disrupting the ecological balance of the planet and inspires action. We have less than 10 years to change our patterns of consumption before we cause irreversible damage.

Watch the full documentary online here

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Related Post: Waste Land (2010)

Nepal In Need – A Tribute to My Dad

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My dad, Dr. David Ellis, is a wonderful inspiration to myself and everyone he knows. He has inspired me to always to my best and to love the work I do. He has taught me the importance of having a strong and loving family and maintaining a strong sense of integrity.

He has treated thousands of patients in Norfolk, England during his 25 years as a consultant physician at the James Paget Hospital.

Now he is to face an entirely different challenge. Today he is flying to the mountainous country of Nepal with his local charity, Nepal in Need, and a team of medics to set up a tented hospital.

Eleven experts are to set up the temporary hospital in the district of Sankhuwasaba, and in a week they hope to treat more than 1,000 patients.

David is a consultant physician whose specialty is respiratory medicine. He trained in Edinburgh and Newcatle upon Tyne then worked as a consultant at the James Paget Hospital in Great Yarmouth for 25 years. He is now retired. Since then he has done occasional work at the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital and in Inverness but now has time to focus on helping to improve health care in Nepal. He has visited the health centre in Yaphu and is working on improving the diagnostic facilities.

The region has a population of 150,000 but is served by only two doctors. If people fall seriously ill and cannot walk to a health centre, death is probable. My dad is expecting people to flock to the hospital from across the region.

“We expect people to walk up to three days to get to our health camp,” he said. “We won’t turn anyone away.”

To get to the region his team must take a twin-engine plane to a remote air strip an hour from the capital of Kathmandu. It is a further two days’ journey by off-road vehicle to the nearest town, and then a day’s walk to where they are setting up camp.

Dad first carried out aid work in Nepal in 2010, and says the change is noticeable already.

“We have made a difference,” he said. “The health posts we’ve set up have made a real improvement to local people’s access to health care provision.”

On dad’s first trip to Nepal he was very touched when he met 13-year-old Ejina, who could not walk due to a severely fractured leg caused by a congenital bone abnormality. Her left shin was folded at nearly a right angle. He decided to personally pay for her to fly to the Katmandu where she had surgery.

ImageWhen he returned in 2011 she was able to walk unaided, and her leg is held together by a metal pin.

Nepal in Need provides primary health care in remote villages, buys school textbooks, installs clean water supplies and purchases solar power systems.

The current project is being funded by a £5,700 grant from London-based The Funding Network. It will pay for a consultant gynaecologist, radiologist, X Ray technician, lab assistant, GP, staff nurse, two health care assistants, record keeper, medical equipment and costs of setting up the hospital.

For information about Nepal In Need or to donate, see nepalinneed.org

Great Quotes By My Favourite Authors

1. “You need to keep finding yourself, a little more each day, that real, unlimited Fletcher Seagull. He’s your instructor. You need to understand him and to practice him.” -Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

2. “The soul has no culture. The soul has no nations. The soul has no colour or accent or way of life. The soul is forever. The soul is one. And when the heart has it’s moment of truth and sorrow, the soul can’t be stilled. It’s the river of the heart, and the heart’s desire. It’s the pure essential truth of what each one of us is, and can achieve.” -Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

3. “But love is much like a dam; if you allow a tiny crack to form through which only a trickle of water can pass, that trickle will quickly bring down the whole structure and soon no one will be able to control the force of the current.”  -Paulo Coelho, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

4. “To measure you by your smallest deed is to reckon the power of the ocean by the frailty of it’s foam.” Kahil Gibran, The Prophet

5. “Evolution is not about design or will; it is the outcome of constant endeavors made by organisms that want to survive and better themselves. The collective result is intoxicatingly beautiful, rife with oddities, and surpassingly brilliant, yet no agent is in control. Evolution arises from the bottom up – so too does hope.” -Paul Hawken, Blessed Unrest

6. “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” -Oscar Wilde

7. “All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” -T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom

8. “Life is a series of pulls back and forth… A tension of opposites, like a pull on a rubber band. Most of us live somewhere in the middle. A wrestling match…Which side win? Love wins. Love always wins” -Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

9. “If your work has a positive impact on five or ten people, you have invented a seed. Now you can plant it a million times.” -Muhammad Yunus, Building Social Business

10. “You can only ever be yourself. The more you try to be like someone else, the more you find yourself standing in the way.” -Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

Related Post: Shantaram, Paulo Coelho and Jonathan Livingston Seagull

The Peace Train

Street art is becoming increasingly popular with stunning installations being created all over the world. These works of art are increasingly being used to portray a political message or promote human rights. The street has become a natural outlet for artist, empowering their freedom of speech and bringing people together.

This is a brief introduction to the stories that have caught my eye recently.

“White Walls Say Nothing” is a feature-length documentary about art and activism in the streets of Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires is a complex, chaotic city. It has European style and a Latin American heart. It has oscillated between dictatorship and democracy for over a century, and its citizens have barely known political or economic stability.

Throughout Buenos Aires’ turbulent history, successive generations of activists and artists have taken to the streets to express themselves. This has given the walls a powerful and symbolic role. They have become the city’s voice.

This powerful tradition of expression in public space; of art and activism, has turned the streets of Buenos Aires into a riot of colour and communication.

In a second story featured on NPR this week Kenyan graffiti artist, Swift9, has gained permission from authorities to spray paint a commuter train with peace messages and icons with the goal of promoting a peaceful presidential election on March 4.

Kenya

Kenya 2

The train will travel through the massive Nairobi slum of Kibera, one of the largest in Africa, where young gangs torched, looted and killed in the spasms of violence that followed the 2007 Kenyan presidential election.

Listen to the story here.

Finally Street Artist, JR, is using street art to promote human rights and empower people all over the world. In his latest TED talk he shows how giant posters of human faces, pasted in public, are connecting communities, making change, and turning the world inside out.

Related Posts: Toronto Street Art Part 5 and Evolving Street Art

Waste Land (2010)

I briefly mentioned this documentary in a previous post but as I begin to focus this blog on the interaction between art and the environment I wanted to revisit this documentary.

WASTE LAND follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys to his native Brazil and the world’s largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. There he photographs a group of “catadores”—self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz’s collaboration with these inspiring people as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both the dignity and despair of the catadores as they begin to re-imagine their lives. In the end, this documentary offers stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit. The film portrays an important message of finding happiness and true value in the life you live.

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have a favourite artistic documentary.

Related Post: Home (2009)