Art & culture

Ms Saffaa is a Saudi artist currently studying in Australia. As part of her practice, she creates murals championing the freedom of women in Saudi Arabia — in particular drawing attention to the prohibitive “guardian­ship” laws.

Under these laws, women must be accompanied by a male “guardian” to do many every day activities — laws the Saudi regime slightly relaxed last month in a sign of pressure from campaigners.

Via Twitter, Saffaa’s work was taken up by a grassroots movement in Saudi Arabia and is now synonymous with the struggle to end these laws.

Because Green Left Weekly is taking a break for the summer, it asked staff, contributors — or just people it likes — to name the best books published this year. Here are their suggestions. Tim Dobson, Green Left journalist and blogger at Press Box Red A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke by Ronald Reng Yellow Jersey Press, 2011
United States Republican representative from Ohio John Boehner is feeling pretty full of himself nowadays. Little wonder. With the Republicans winning back in control of the House of Representatives in the November 2 elections, Boehner looks set to be the next Speaker. And like any pompous career politician who fancies himself cock-of-the-walk, he seldom lets facts get in the way.
Maya M.I.A. N.E.E.T. Recordings www.neetrecordings.com Big Day Out tour January/February 2011 www.bigdayout.com It created a buzz well before its release date. For months, every pop music outlet speculated on its content. It provoked fervent anticipation among fans, censorship from the internet, and derision from elitist establishment journalists. When Sri Lankan-born Tamil musician M.I.A.’s Maya finally arrived in July, it predictably polarised critics.
The Live Red Art Awards and Festival is taking place on October 17 at the Addison Road Community Centre in Marrickville, Sydney. The day will feature an exhibition and live performances. Submissions for the multi-disciplinary competition, which was open to anyone, closed on October 1. As well as the winner announced by the judges, there will be a “people’s choice” award. For more information on Live Red Arts, visit here. Below is a run-down on some of the artists whose work will be on display at the festival. * * *
One of the greatest living exponents of Peruvian musica criolla (creole music), Eva Ayllon, performed at the Sydney Opera House on September 25. Finding my seat, I felt as if I’d walked into an exuberant family gathering full of animated conversation, laughter, waving and group photography.
“I want to make films with a social purpose”, Newcastle-based film maker and activist Simon Cunich told Green Left Weekly. “I think every one has got a responsibility to persuade people and to inspire activism.” Cunich, a member of Socialist Alliance, is completing a certificate in Screen and Media. Newcastle is the largest exporter of coal in the world and Cunich said this “environmental destruction” has led to a hub of activism in opposition.
artRiot September 11-26 Upstairs at the Annandale Hotel, 17 Parramatta Rd, Annandale, Sydney Sydney is currently swathed in artist run spaces and ecologically concerned art. The Museum of Contemporary Art’s latest show, In the Balance — Art for a Changing World, is just one of a range of recent exhibitions that explore climate change and community involvement in solutions. It’s in this context that artRiot has emerged. artRiot is a new art collective comprised of Sydney and Newcastle artists whose mandate is to combine art and activism.
The use of art as a commentary on social and political injustice is becoming increasingly innovative. Artists are embracing their varied mediums to share stories and ideas calling for a challenge to the status-quo. From radical independent art, to mainstream artists using their influence, the fusion of social justice and art has been embraced by photographers, musicians, painters, filmmakers, fashion designers and more. Many commercial artists who have enjoyed mainstream success have used their reach to convey messages of protest and encourage social change.
September 18 marks the 40th anniversary of the death of US musician Jimi Hendrix, widely regarded as one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time. Hendrix’s identification with progressive politics embodied the ferment of the late 1960s, with songs like “If Six Was Nine” (“I’m gonna wave my freak flag high”), “I Don’t Live Today” (about the plight of Native Americans) and the visceral anti-war tone poem “Machine Gun”.

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