By Prarthana Mitra
The recently concluded MET Gala, which combined fashion with Catholic symbolism, saw musicians, actors, designers, and sports icons, bring the medieval ages back to life. Our very own Priyanka Chopra also showed up in her Sunday best. Meanwhile, Spotify’s ban-hammer on artists with a history of sexual abuse marks the beginning of #TimesUp in the music industry. In other news, at Cannes, Nandita Das and a group of artists down at the Bombay Sassoon Docks are making us proud.
Starry affair at the MET Gala 2018
The Metropolitan Museum hosted its annual MET gala with a little more than the usual pomp and show. With this year’s theme being “Heavenly Bodies“, it was no surprise that the evening turned out to be a star-studded affair, and celebrity A-listers brought their best fashion game to the red carpet.
It took curator Andrew Bolton several years to convince the Vatican to give him their blessings, but, this year will go down in history as the MET Gala that gave us Rihanna as the pope, Katy Perry as Gabriel, and Frances McDormand as a pagan. The proceeds from the gala will go to the Metropolitan Museum of Arts Costume Institute.
Spotify bans abusive artists from their platform
Spotify leads other music streaming platforms into the #MeToo crusade, as it clamps down on artists with proven records of sexual harassment, abuse, and misconduct. Beginning with the removal of R Kelly, who had been charged with child pornography, and has allegedly routinely preyed on young and underage women, Spotify responded to the #MuteRKelly campaign that has steadily gained ground on social media, by banning him. Shortly afterward, they banned another rapper, XXXTENTACION, accused of murdering and beating up his pregnant girlfriend.
While this move is laudable, it brings Spotify’s selective removal of artists from their platform into scrutiny, as innumerable predators in the music industry continue to get a free pass.
Musician-actor Donald Glover’s This is America has broken the internet
Donald Glover is a man of many talents. He was a stand-up comedian, screenwriter, and actor ,before he created his own series, Atlanta, based on the contemporary black man’s experience in the US. In a multi-layered video directed by Hiro Murai, Glover dances, and caricatures his way through a parking lot, rapping about what the land of the free and the home of the brave has now become.
He shakes the audience out of their complacency by sending powerful messages through the juxtaposition of his seemingly meaningless choreography, which takes your attention away from all the horrific racial crimes taking place in the background—a telling sign of how we choose to consume media today.
The race for the Palme d’Or is on at Cannes
The 71st Cannes Film Festival kicked off this week in France, as filmmakers, critics, and actors congregated from all corners of the world to celebrate cinema. Works of notable directors like Turkey’s Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Poland’s Pawel Pawlikowski, Iran’s Jafar Panahi and Asghar Farhadi, have been nominated this year, alongside Nandita Das, the only nominee from the Indian subcontinent this year. Das submitted her biopic based on Sadat Hassan Manto for the Un Certain Regard section.
Amidst the controversy surrounding the ban on Netflix from participating in the competition, despite allowing the VoD service to screen their film Okja last year, the festival authorities continue to be tight-lipped about their exclusive stance.
Ruben Ostlund’s The Square and Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake have won the Palme d’Or in the past two years.
Flyposting the fisherfolk community at Mumbai’s Sassoon Docks
Earlier this month, Strong Inside Out, in association with Start India, took to the famous Sassoon Docks in Mumbai, to represent the thriving fisherfolk community around the area. Documenting the first inhabitants of the city, the project takes a leaf out of last year’s Agnes Varda, and JR’s Netflix documentary, known as Faces Places. By flyposting their portraits on the walls of the dock, the artists’ collective aims to amplify, and celebrate these disappearing voices, and the ethnic tribes, for the first time.
The indigenous tribe became invisible and isolated, their homes encroached, and the community marginalised to these little nooks, as gentrification and urbanisation took over Mumbai. This symbolic gesture will serve as a visual reminder of those that the city has forgotten.
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Strong Inside Out action in Mumbai, India, led by @startindia to represent the fisherfolk community of the Sassoon Dock. They are 'not only one of the indigenous tribe in the modern city, but they were also the first inhabitants of it. Over the years, as the urban landscape of Mumbai grew, the community became isolated and almost invisible. While many had their homes encroached by the growth of the real estate, the cosmopolitan city made the entire tribe disappear into little hidden nooks such as Sassoon Dock. The aim of this project was to amplify and celebrate these disappearing voices by the means of emblematic portraits, which would also put together all the different ethnic tribes at the dock together for the first time. Pictures by @_tahska and @pranavgohill
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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