Venice Biennale: Is exhibiting tragic migrant ship distasteful? By BBC 5/16/19


If the purpose of art is to elicit a strong reaction then exhibiting a shipwreck at one of the world's biggest art exhibitions has passed the test. But has it overstepped the boundaries of taste? Critics have hit out at the use of the hull of the ship, in which hundreds of migrants drowned, at the Venice Biennale. The fishing vessel sank on its trip from Libya to Italy in 2015 and at least 700 people, many from Africa, died as a result.

Swiss-Icelandic artist Christoph Büchel brought the boat to the Biennale which opened to the public at the weekend. He said that his exhibit, Barca Nostra (Our Boat), was intended to be “a monument to contemporary migration”. It was the Mediterranean’s deadliest shipwreck in living memory and happened in the middle of the European migrant crisis, which peaked in 2016 with an estimated 5,096 people dying or going missing trying to cross the Mediterranean — the highest number ever recorded.

Afro-Colombian journalist facing abuse over her hair by BBC Minute 5/23/19

Racism in Colombia

Afro-Colombian news presenter Mábel Lara was abused online after she stopped straightening her hair. The journalist says she feels Colombia is a “classist society” which thinks “curly hair is tasteless”.

The first time she appeared on TV without straightening her hair she received online abuse saying she looked ugly and “vulgar”. She told BBC Minute she made the stand to help inspire young women to feel comfortable in their own skin.

An exclusive Interview with Abigail Mallia, Director of ‘Limestone Cowboy’ featured at 2019 Panorama Europe at MOMI, 5/8/19

2019 Panorama Europe

Director Abigail Mallia

NYIHA MEDIA Group Publisher Dr. Steeve Coupeau spoke with Abigail Mallia, (pictured). The following has been edited for brevity and clarity.

The film is partially based on a true story. Could you talk about the story? When did you decide to transform the story into a feature film?

We were inspired to make the film following the 2013 General election when an independent candidate proposing himself under a self-created party of one named 'the Party of the eagle' came to prominence. He soon became the target of popular ridicule but thousands flocked to his rallies. He was convinced he might be elected only to have his hopes shattered after the results were announced and he received a meagre 43 votes. A picture of him staring heartbroken at the ballot box inspired us to research the phenomenon. We quickly discovered that this happened at every election, an independent candidate proposing himself with a bogus agenda and becoming the object of public derision. Here, we asked ourselves what his family must be feeling. That was the inception of our story.

Could you talk about the history of the labor party and the Catholic Church in Malta?

The labor party and the church have had a very questionable history with opposing views on many things. The film touches on one of the major showdowns that took place during the early 1960's where, as a result of their political convictions, Labor Party affiliates were not given the last rites and were buried on unconsecrated grounds known back then as the Rubbish Dump.

2019 Panorama Europe

Lead Actor Paul Portelli

An exclusive Interview with Olivia Luengas Magaña, Director of 'Away from Meaning' featured at Havana Film Festival in NY, 4/29/19

Havana Film Festival

Director Olivia Luengas Magaña

NYIHA MEDIA Group Publisher Dr. Steeve Coupeau spoke with Olivia (pictured). The following has been edited for brevity and clarity.

What was the development origin of your film?

The closing of two private hospitals in Mexico, where Liliana, our protagonist, was hospitalized during her crisis. Her friend Carlos also lived there for more than 20 years. The few options that exist for mental health treatment, coupled with this fact, were the reasons to make this documentary.

What drove your decision to focus on a character with mental illness?

The film was born out of a need to talk about the issue of mental health, which to this day suffers from a lot of stigma. Individuals and families living at home or in the family, a case of psychiatric disorder, live in silence, which makes the emotional burden heavier. Because of the stigma that exists in society, there is no adequate attention to the disorders.

Both in the family of Carlos, as in mine, as I am Liliana's sister, there was some openness towards the subject. For a long time we wanted to be discreet with the diagnosis of Liliana. But one day my father decided not to hide it anymore. I think it helped a lot to make the situation more bearable. This does not mean that the weight is shared among more people and the solutions can be found more easily.


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