What if the War on Terror is like using dynamite to eradicate the family of mice living in your walls? A recently launched campaign, The War on Irrational Fear, doubts that the actual threat of terror warrants the massive public expenditures and suspended articles of the constitution that it results in today.
Taien Ng-Chan is a writer and multidisciplinary artist living in Montréal, Québec. Her work as an artist and scholar has taken her into territory that challenges how governments, institutions and societies ought to be.
Juliane Okot Bitek knows the power of narrative. An award winning writer living in Vancouver, Canada, Okot Bitek is also an Acholi woman who calls Gulu in Northern Uganda home. Considering the civil war (1986- 2006) that plagued northern Ugandans, it’s no wonder much of Okot Bitek’s passionate writing focuses on social and political issues. In the last decade, through her poetry, essays, fiction, nonfiction and opinion pieces, Okot Bitek has fought both to make sense of, and to expose the tragedies of her homeland.
Speaking to Jennifer Herszman Capraru in Toronto, Canada, it is impossible not to be warmed by her passion for the work she does and the people it brings her close to. Born in Montréal, Québec, Capraru is the daughter of a mother who was a child survivor of the Holocaust, and a Romanian father, both of whom emphasized the importance of human rights and provided Capraru with the gift of creativity that she exercises with such love and intelligence today. As an adult, Capraru received an MA in Theatre Studies from York University and also trained as a director in Germany; it has been through the medium of theatre and directing that she has always seen the opportunity to create a whole world – a world where real change could transpire. In her role as Artistic Director of the award-winning Theatre Asylum in Toronto, Capraru premieres thought-provoking plays by and about women and humanist issues. In 2006, Capraru was asked to be 2nd Script Supervisor on the Canadian feature film Shake Hands with the Devil about the experiences of Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire during his tenure as UN Force Commander during the Rwandan Genocide of 1994.
Some of today’s most interesting, socially engaged, controversial, and occasionally even blasphemous artists are working in the mediums of spoken word, video and performance art. I’m excited to be joining Tikkun Daily as a blogger on the multi-media arts beat. All of the artists I plan to present here are working out of the belief that through their work they have the capacity — even the obligation — to ask the questions that light the spark of change. Whether they are examining issues of social justice, feminism/gender politics, the environment versus consumerism, Israel/Palestine or any other of today’s most complex problems, these artists are trailblazing their way to the cutting edge of both politics and artistic representation. The first artist featured here is Lisa Vinebaum of Montréal, Québec.