Sunday, 14 March 2010


What if the world paid attention before it was too late?

What if we start to fight injustice and raise awareness of social issues using the arts? What about taking arts back from pure commoditisation to their political and social purposes?
These are the questions and aims of the Artivist Collective, an American born group of concerned global citizens which combines visual arts and activism in the belief that the arts can change the world. It may sound overwhelming or the dream of a bunch of old-fashioned hippies, but it is a real project, which has taken concrete forms like the Artivist Film Festival.

Showcased in London at the Shawn Theatre, the festival was an international occasion to raise public awareness of human and animal rights and ecological issues and it truly represents an invaluable chance to watch independent films, meet socially conscious artists, have your say and shed some light on the hottest issues of our contemporary world.
Since its first iteration in 2004, the festival has travelled all around the world, representing over 45 countries, reaching and connecting millions of people.
In two days of screenings the festival displayed numerous films by international filmmakers, plus discussions with a number of filmmakers and community leaders, from “Children on War” by Brian Single, a unique documentary on child soldiers in Uganda, to “Ice Bears of the Beaufort” by Arthur C. Smith III, on polar bears that face being left homeless because of the harm caused to their arctic ecosystem.

Also worthy of mention is “Sweet Crude”, the stunning documentary of the Seattle based filmmaker and video artist Sandy Cioffi who spent 4 years documenting the tragic situation in the Niger Delta. A whole region devastated by oil exploitation, a whole population poisoned and deprived of their freedom, an open wound in our consciences.

Due to the content of the festival, I left with a weird mix of powerlessness, frustration and anger, but with the example of Ken Saro Wiwa to enlighten my way.
Do you remember Ken Saro Wiwa? The Nigerian poet sentenced to death and hanged by the Nigerian Government for his involvement in MOSOP, the movement which defends the civil rights and the environment preservation of the Niger Delta. A hero of our times.
They killed the poet, but art can’t be killed. It is everlasting.
Viva Ken Saro Wiwa! And thanks to the Artivist group for all their effort.

Puff-Puff ( Traditional round doughnuts)

250g/8oz plain flour
pinch of salt
7g fresh yeast
45g sugar
25g butter
2 egg yolk
150 ml water or palm wine
drop of vanilla essence
fat for deep frying

Sift the flour into a clean bowl. Rub the butter the flour and make well in the centre. Cream together the yeast and the sugar, mix in the eggs,. the water or palm-wine and vanilla essence. Pour this into the well in the flour. Using the finger mix together gradually drawing in the surrounding flour.Using the finger tips, mix well into a dropping consistency. Scoop a little at a time in the hollow of your fingers and fry in hot oil on moderate heat. Depending on the pot ,fry up to six puffs at a time . Serve hot or cold.


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