Grand Rapids, Oct 6 (AP/UNB) — A performance about identity and race and a series of photographs about humanity's shared connections won grand prizes in a popular art competition in western Michigan.
New Jersey-based Le'Andra LeSeur's "brown, carmine, and blue" performance won the $200,000 juried grand prize at the 10th international ArtPrize in Grand Rapids.
"I'm really a loss for words," LeSeur said afterward.
She described her work as primarily about identity, and the way people navigate their lives and ultimately how they find joy. The work has a performance piece, video work and an installation element.
LeSeur said she performed on stage for 13 days carrying, at times, a cinder block representing the weight and pain we carry in life. The video work showed clips of her and members of her family interacting. And for the installation segment, the cinder blocks were merged with neon and other lighting to create a mood.
"This will definitely put me in the space of creating more work," she said of the prize. "It will also allow me to help other black, female artists get their voices out there."
Photographs by Indiana-based Chelsea Nix and Mariano Cortez won the $200,000 public vote grand prize for "THE STRING PROJECT."
"Tears came first and words came later," Nix said afterward, noting she and Cortez came out on top because their message was executed in such a simple way that even a child could understand it quickly.
"It made people feel something they haven't felt in a while," Nix said. "It made them feel vulnerable."
The grand prize winners were announced Friday night in the competition which featured more than 1,260 artworks displayed at over 160 venues. Eight other entries each won a $12,500 award.
Artists from around the world vied for $500,000 in cash prizes.
ArtPrize started last month and spans 19 days. It wraps up Sunday. The public votes on the artwork using mobile devices and the web. A group of international art experts determines the winners of the juried awards.
Photos in "THE STRING PROJECT" were taken across five continents.
"The string that runs through each portrait underscores that our similarities are greater than our differences, and what unites us is stronger than what divides us," ArtPrize Executive Director Jori Bennett said of the entry.
Lauren Haynes, curator of Contemporary Art at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas, said "brown, carmine, and blue" is about "what it means to be black, what it means to be a woman, what it means to be queer."
Michigan winners include "PULSE Nightclub: 49 Elegies" by John Gutoskey of Ann Arbor; "The Phoenix" by Joe Butts of Oxford; "Moving Experience" by #shangled of Sparta; "Sonder" by Megan Constance Altieri of Grand Rapids; and "Heidelbergology; 2+2=8" by Tyree Guyton Heidelberg Project in Detroit.
Following this year, organizers plan to hold ArtPrize every other year instead of annually.
Dhaka, Oct 5 (UNB) – Master painter Shahabuddin Ahmed has urged everyone to contribute to the making of a real-life feature length film on the best of Bangladesh.
In a video message, Shahabuddin has requested all to donate as little as Tk 10, which will be used to film ‘High Tunes, Bangladesh DNA’ by French filmmaker Isabelle Antunès.
“The role of artists, such as me and director Isabelle is to portray the realities of life and bring a positive change in people and society,” the master painter added.
“We saw Satyajit Ray make several films with minimal funds, such as Pather Panchali, which had taken the world by storm. Real artists who are immensely talented and strive to bring about that positive change often fall short of accumulating the funds required to make a film. If everyone contributes Tk 10 each that would help a lot,” he said.
Shahabuddin said Isabelle loves Bangladesh. She has been to Africa, Indonesia and many other countries but she fell in love with Bangladesh and now wants to show the world its beauty.
Isabelle, who first visited Bangladesh in 2011, came to love everything about Bangladesh – its people, culture, natural beauty and such.
This is going to be Isabelle's second movie on Bangladesh. Her first film on Bangladesh was ‘Happy Rain’, an inspiring story about the development of fish farming in the flooded rice paddies during monsoon or portraying how thousands of farmers turned the floods into fish farm venture and changed their lives. The film was shown at the United Nations COP21 conference on climate change and on French Television in December 2015. Happy Rain won an award at Ekotop Film Festival in 2016 and qn azqrd qt IOFF Festival that same year.
“As I began to learn more about the culture, I discovered a profoundly artistic country where music and singing are the DNA of its people,” Isabelle observed, “So, I began to explore the work of architects, artists and musicians to see how their work is inspired today by Bangladeshi philosophers, poets and musicians. There was a high tune, resolutely modern and courageous, a tune connecting people.”
She decided to crowdfund the film by demonstrating the high demand for positive films portraying a good image of our humanity and progress because it seems essential in today's world and the dominant narratives that this High Tunes to be carried by a movement that will inspire and in turn encourage other filmmakers from all over the world to echo Bangladesh with their good stories because good stories can connect people.
More information about the film and procedure to contribute can be found at http://hightunes-thefilm.com.
Filming will take place in Dhaka and rural Bangladesh, while post-production will be done in Paris.
According to the filmmaker’s schedule, the post-production of the film will be completed by April 2019, just in time to showcase it at the Cannes Film Festival later in May.
French producing house, La fabrique du géographe is partnering with Cosmos Foundation and PayWell to make this pioneering movement a success.
Oslo, Oct 05 (AP/UNB) — An Iraqi woman who became a global advocate for victims after being raped and tortured by Islamic State militants and a Congolese surgeon who has treated countless rape victims in his war-torn nation won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for fighting to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.
Dr. Denis Mukwege was in surgery — his second operation of the day — at the hospital that he founded in 1999 in Congo's eastern Bukavu region when the announcement came Friday that he and Nadia Murad had won the prestigious prize. He learned of it because he heard colleagues and patients crying.
"I can see in the faces of many women how they are happy to be recognized. This is really so touching," the 63-year-old gynecological surgeon told the Nobel Prize organization.
"Dr. Mukwege brings smiles and helps repair women from the barbaric acts of men in Congo," said Solange Furaha Lwashiga, a Congolese women's activist.
Murad was one of an estimated 3,000 Yazidi girls and women kidnapped in 2014 by IS militants in Iraq and sold into sex slavery. At 19, she was raped, beaten and tortured before managing to escape after three months. After getting treatment in Germany, she chose to speak to the world about the horrors faced by Yazidi women, regardless of the stigma in her culture surrounding rape.
At 23, she was named the U.N.'s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking.
This year's peace prize announcement comes amid a heightened attention to the sexual abuse of women — in war, in the workplace and in society — that has been highlighted by the "#MeToo" movement.
"We want to send a message that women who constitute half the population in those communities actually are used as weapons and that they need protection, and that the perpetrators have to be prosecuted and held responsible," said Berit Reiss-Andersen, chairwoman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
"#MeToo and war crimes is not quite the same thing, but they do, however, have in common that it is important to see the suffering of women," she said.
Many of the women treated by Mukwege were victims of gang rape in the central African nation that has been wracked by conflict for decades. Armed men tried to kill him in 2012, forcing him to temporarily leave the country.
"This particular type of war crime has been more invisible, because the victims have such a stigma and no one is willing to speak up on their behalf," Reiss-Andersen told The Associated Press.
Both honorees are the first from their countries to receive a Nobel Prize and will split the award, which is worth 9 million Swedish kronor ($1.01 million).
After the announcement, mobile phone footage showed a smiling Mukwege jostled by dancing, ululating medical colleagues in scrubs in the hospital's courtyard.
Eastern Congo has seen more than two decades of conflict among armed groups that either sought to unseat presidents or simply grab control of some the central African nation's vast mineral wealth.
"The importance of Dr. Mukwege's enduring, dedicated and selfless efforts in this field cannot be overstated. He has repeatedly condemned impunity for mass rape and criticized the Congolese government and other countries for not doing enough to stop the use of sexual violence against women as a strategy and weapon of war," the Nobel committee said.
Murad's book, "The Last Girl," tells of her captivity, the loss of her family and her eventual escape.
The Yazidis are an ancient religious minority, falsely branded as devil-worshippers by Sunni Muslim extremists. IS, adopting a radical interpretation of ancient Islamic texts, declared that Yazidi women and even young girls could be taken as sex slaves.
Iraqi President Bahram Saleh praised the award for Murad, saying on Twitter that it was an "honor for all Iraqis who fought terrorism and bigotry."
Congo's government congratulated Mukwege while acknowledging that their relations with him have been strained. Government spokesman Lambert Mende told The Associated Press that Mukwege did "remarkable" work, though he claimed the laureate tended to politicize it.
"(Still) we salute that a colleague is recognized," he said.
"I am proud to be Congolese," said the country's top opposition leader, Felix Tshisekedi, in a Twitter post. "Good done for others always ends up being rewarded."
In the United States, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg tweeted a link to the Nobel announcement, commenting that "the timing of this topic is extraordinary as we fight for the end of #ViolenceAgainstWomen."
Last year's Peace Prize winner was the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
In other Nobel prizes this year, the medicine prize went Monday to James Allison of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Tasuku Honjo of Kyoto University, whose discoveries helped cancer doctors fight many advanced-stage tumors and save an "untold" numbers of lives.
Scientists from the United States, Canada and France shared the physics prize Tuesday for revolutionizing the use of lasers in research.
On Wednesday, three researchers who "harnessed the power of evolution" to produce enzymes and antibodies that have led to a new best-selling drug won the Nobel Prize in chemistry.
The winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, honoring Alfred Nobel, the founder of the five Nobel Prizes, will be revealed on Monday.
No Nobel literature prize will be awarded this year due to a sex abuse scandal at the Swedish Academy, which chooses the winner. The academy plans to announce both the 2018 and the 2019 winner next year — although the head of the Nobel Foundation has said the body must fix its tarnished reputation first.
The man at the center of the Swedish Academy scandal, Jean-Claude Arnault, a major cultural figure in Sweden, was sentenced Monday to two years in prison for rape.
Dhaka, Oct 4 (UNB) - A five-day film festival titled 'Dhaka Korean Film Festival 2018' will begin here on October 12.
The opening ceremony of the film festival, to be hosted by South Korean Embassy in Dhaka, will be held at 4pm at Bangladesh National Museum in the city.
South Korean Ambassador-designate in Dhaka Hu Kang-il will attend the opening ceremony which will be followed by the premier of opening film ‘The Admiral’.
This year’s opening film ‘The Admiral’ is the most watched and highest grossing domestic film of all time in Korea.
Including the opening film, four of eight movies presented for this year’s film festival are ranked among 10 highest-grossing films in Korea.
The eight films are - The Admiral (opening film), A Taxi Driver, Train to Busan, Veteran, I Can Speak, Finding Mr. Destiny, Midnight Runners, The King of Jokgu and The Tower.
Genres ranging from comedy and drama to crime and action, the movies well represent Korea’s history, society and culture, said the South Korean Embassy in Dhaka.
The film festival is open to all and is free of charge.
San Carlos, Oct 4 (AP/UNB) — Brandon Alexander would like to introduce you to Angus, the farmer of the future. He's heavyset, weighing in at nearly 1,000 pounds, not to mention a bit slow. But he's strong enough to hoist 800-pound pallets of maturing vegetables and can move them from place to place on his own.
Sure, Angus is a robot. But don't hold that against him, even if he looks more like a large tanning bed than C-3PO.
To Alexander, Angus and other robots are key to a new wave of local agriculture that aims to raise lettuce, basil and other produce in metropolitan areas while conserving water and sidestepping the high costs of human labor. It's a big challenge, and some earlier efforts have flopped. Even Google's "moonshot" laboratory, known as X, couldn't figure out how to make the economics work.
After raising $6 million and tinkering with autonomous robots for two years, Alexander's startup Iron Ox says it's ready to start delivering crops of its robotically grown vegetables to people's salad bowls. "And they are going to be the best salads you ever tasted," says the 33-year-old Alexander, a one-time Oklahoma farmboy turned Google engineer turned startup CEO.
In this Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, photo bok choy is seen growing in the foreground at Iron Ox, a robotic indoor farm, in San Carlos, Calif.
Iron Ox planted its first robot farm in an 8,000-square-foot warehouse in San Carlos, California, a suburb located 25 miles south of San Francisco. Although no deals have been struck yet, Alexander says Iron Ox has been talking to San Francisco Bay area restaurants interested in buying its leafy vegetables and expects to begin selling to supermarkets next year.
The San Carlos warehouse is only a proving ground for Iron Ox's long-term goals. It plans to set up robot farms in greenhouses that will rely mostly on natural sunlight instead of high-powered indoor lighting that sucks up expensive electricity. Initially, though, the company will sell its produce at a loss in order to remain competitive.
During the next few years, Iron Ox wants to open robot farms near metropolitan areas across the U.S. to serve up fresher produce to restaurants and supermarkets. Most of the vegetables and fruit consumed in the U.S. is grown in California, Arizona, Mexico and other nations. That means many people in U.S. cities are eating lettuce that's nearly a week old by the time it's delivered.
There are bigger stakes as well. The world's population is expected to swell to 10 billion by 2050 from about 7.5 billion now, making it important to find ways to feed more people without further environmental impact, according to a report from the World Resources Institute .
Iron Ox, Alexander reasons, can be part of the solution if its system can make the leap from its small, laboratory-like setting to much larger greenhouses.
The startup relies on a hydroponic system that conserves water and automation in place of humans who seem increasingly less interested in U.S. farming jobs that pay an average of $13.32 per hour, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Nearly half of U.S. farmworkers planting and picking crops aren't in the U.S. legally, based on a survey by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The heavy lifting on Iron Ox's indoor farm is done by Angus, which rolls about the indoor farm on omnidirectional wheels. Its main job is to shuttle maturing produce to another, as-yet unnamed robot, which transfers plants from smaller growing pods to larger ones, using a mechanical arm whose joints are lubricated with "food-safe" grease.
It's a tedious process to gently pick up each of the roughly 250 plants on each pallet and transfer them to their bigger pods, but the robot doesn't seem to mind the work. Iron Ox still relies on people to clip its vegetables when they are ready for harvest, but Alexander says it is working on another robot that will eventually handle that job too.
Alexander formerly worked on robotics at Google X, but worked on drones, not indoor farms. While there, he met Jon Binney, Iron Ox's co-founder and chief technology offer. The two men became friends and began to brainstorm about ways they might be able to use their engineering skills for the greater good.
"If we can feed people using robots, what could be more impactful than that?" Alexander says.