Public Art

Activist Performatives: Theater as a Practice of Hope and Transformation in the United States

In recent years, especially since the 2020 uprisings across the United States intensified after the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and far too many other Black Americans across history at the hands of the police, I’ve noticed an increased tendency among activists on social media to use the terms “performative activism” or “performative allyship” …

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Sari as a Form of Public Art

My paternal grandmother, my Dadi, Ruby used to paint saris. She would buy yards of beautiful, hand woven-cotton, pencil a design at the border, and get to work painting the cloth using stiff, acrylic paint. It wasn’t easy locating proper fabric paint in commercial stores in Dhaka, Bangladesh at the time – still isn’t all …

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A Spotlight on Singapore’s Theatre Scene

Theatre is one of those artforms that transcends boundaries. When Thespis first took to the stage enacting his poetry for an audience, he formalised a style of entertainment that parents and children had been experimenting with for generations. In doing so, for more than two millennia, he has enabled the likes of us to search …

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Waiting for Godot in Vietnam

It began, as these things tend to, with me dressed as an American GI, under a black umbrella in 42-degree heat and surrounded by a burnt-out battlefield in the Madagui jungle, talking to the first Mormon I’d ever met. But maybe I should back up for some context. For as long as I can possibly …

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The Art of Pride Flags and Individual Identity

A google search with the words “types of pride flags” will offer hundreds of articles by newspapers, journals, and blogs often titled along the lines of “12 different pride flags and their meanings” or “9 of the most iconic and inclusive pride flags explained” or “All 20+ pride flags explained!” These pride flags have origins …

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Street Life Is Art, Street Art Is Life

Street life is art. Our intertwined ways of being intersect as we move through our communities, cities and regions. Everyday movement through public space creates a complex network as people walk and roll, traveling and interacting with different destinations and intentions, in close proximity to one another and yet without, most of the time, collisions …

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The Progressive Power of Public Art

Public art has a vital and moving, though at times paradoxical, role. It reflects the circumstances and truth of the moment or era in which it exists. Undeniably, this art form can enchant its audience by reflecting a never-to-be-forgotten past, or it may alert its audience to the present, allowing viewers to recognize themselves and …

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Plywood and the Pandemic:  Street Art in San Francisco

What I like about street art are the stories it tells. They inform, educate, inspire, and uplift. They interject and connect. They render the invisible, visible, and make the ugly, apparent. They reinterpret, decenter and protest. They appeal to the unknowable. I’m not an artist, an art critic, or even a visual anthropologist, but reading …

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After the Fall: An Art of the Commons 

When the statue of the British colonialist and mining magnate, Cecil John Rhodes (1853-1902), created by Marion Walgate in 1934, was hauled away from its Cape Town public university site to an undisclosed location, it left a poignantly empty plinth behind. This disruptive act, which turned into a political watershed, followed a durational performance art …

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Power in Lyricism: The Uncontested Significance of Spoken Word

I remember the first time I transformed one of my poems into a spoken word piece. It was an evolutionary moment in my life. It was the summer of 2016 and one of my friends, and fellow activist, convinced me to get on stage at an open mic and perform one of my pieces of …

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