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Art in Times of Adversity

Art in Times of Adversity is a short documentary about a ground-breaking book, Contemporary Artists of the Sudan, Art in Times of Adversity. The brainchild of Sudanese arts patron Lina Haggar, the collection is a coffee-table book with beautiful spreads of Sudanese art and the first of it's kind. Artists in Sudan with incredible talent have long-suffered from a lack of exposure. This book aims to change that unfortunate reality - instilling an appreciation for Sudanese fine art within the country's borders and beyond.

 

 

The Sufis of New York

A short documentary on the Burhani Sufis of New York and their mystical gatherings. Dawud Surillo, a Puerto Rican convert from Brooklyn, talks to us about the Burhaniya Sufi centre on the border of the Bronx and the deep healing powers of their chosen form of worship.

Take a moment to delve into the hadra, a spiritual dance circle of Godly remembrance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diaries of Excellence, Episode 1 - Henry Louis Gates, Jr (Part I)

In our premiere episode of Diaries of Excellence, a web-series that profiles awe-inspiring and influential individuals, we sat down with Henry Louis Gates, Jr - world-famous Emmy and Peabody award-winning broadcaster, author, historian and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.

His ground-breaking documentary, Wonders of the African World (1999), saw him traveling across the continent, unveiling the gems of African antiquity. Back to his old stomping grounds, we caught him fresh from filming in Meroe, Sudan for his new documentary "The Great Civilisations of Africa".

A fascinating interview about the importance of re-writing the popular narrative of African civilization and diversifying world history.

 


 

What is Beauty? - Nuba Beauty Queen and Contestants

We addressed the age-old question by talking to Nuba Beauty Queen Natalina Yaqoub and the girls vying for this years' title. At a time when skin-bleaching is becoming a norm in Sudan, these natural beauties tell us what makes them beautiful. 

Learn more about Natalina's story in this piece in the Guardian (read here) by our Content Manager, Yousra Elbagir.

Music from Beats of the Antonov soundtrack. Recorded by Al-Sarah 5000 in the Nuba Mountains. Song: Christina - Jodah (listen here).

 

 

Published Work

For CNN Africa: Trump travel ban: For Sudanese-Americans, this humiliation is not new

It's hard to translate my mother's words. The Arabic word is more than just frustration - it's closer to dejection. Since Trump signed his Executive Order banning green card and visa holders from Sudan from entering the United States, it's been difficult for me to call my family.

I don't have the words to comfort my parents, permanent US residents now effectively trapped in the country. My father has not been back to see his family in Sudan in almost a year; for my mother, it's been two years.

I don't know what this will mean for my brother, who himself is awaiting permanent resident status and cannot travel. 

Read the full story on the CNN Africa website (here)

 

In The Guardian: Patients over politics: Sudanese breast cancer clinic that beat sanctions

For many women living in Sudan, breast cancer means certain death. Treatment is too expensive or they simply feel too embarrassed to seek help.

But until recently, yet another obstacle was seriously hampering efforts to cut breast cancer deaths in Sudan. Since the early 1990s, the country has been on theUS blacklist for state sponsors of terrorism – imposed for human rights violations and for harbouring Osama Bin Laden.

Even the Khartoum Breast Care Centre (KBCC), the Horn of Africa’s first and only dedicated breast cancer clinic, has been hit by the sanctions, with a ban on international money transfers and the restriction on imports of medical equipment and spare parts.

Founded by British-trained Sudanese radiologist Dr Hania Fadl, the KBCC offers hi-tech digital mammography screening for a fraction of the usual price elsewhere. Since it opened in 2010, it has treated more than 18,000 patients from across the region and has received widespread acclaim and international support.

Read the full story on The Guardian website here.

 

In The Guardian: #SudanUnderSanctions: young people describe life on the blacklist

It was Osama bin Laden who first earned Sudan a place on the US blacklist for state sponsors of terrorism.

The al-Qaida leader had been living in Khartoum for five years when America imposed a trade embargo and froze the government’s assets in the US in 1997.

Nineteen years later, Sudan remains on the blacklist alongside only two other states: Iran and Syria. A whole generation has grown up knowing nothing else, and while political analysts argue over whether sanctions help or hurt the current government, the crippling effect on the local population is undeniable.

As part of a debate on Twitter curated by @Sudan_Voices, hundreds of people have been sharing their experiences of #SudanUnderSanction, showing how the restrictions affect their lives.

Read the full story on The Guardian website here.

 

 

In The Guardian: How Sudan’s diaspora uses social media to marshal Ramadan meals

In an abandoned school in Khartoum, men and women rush around in the sweltering sun gathering dried onion, lentils, tomato paste, dates, salt and cooking oil into thousands of bundles to distribute to families in need.

This flurry of activity usually starts a week before Ramadan, the holy month when healthy and able Muslims around the world abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. Hussein Ali, a volunteer working in the 47C heat, says: “We started [years ago] with around 350 Ramadan meal packages; this year we are reaching 10,000.”

As the UN is criticised for its high administrative costs and a crippling bureaucracy of its humanitarian efforts, local initiatives such as the Sadagaat project are filling the gap and combating the stereotype that African countries are always the passive recipients of international aid.

With nearly half of Sudan’s population living below the poverty line and the government hampering the work of foreign NGOs, grassroots initiatives and local NGOs have become more crucial.

Read the full story on The Guardian website here.

 

In The Guardian: In Sudan, communities are finally seeing the value of educating girls

Balad Al-Nabi Hamad, nine, left school after a household accident.

“I was at home on sick leave but I wasn’t sure when I’d be going back. Then I started hearing from the girls in my village that our school had become so beautiful and I decided to finish the school year,” says Balad.

The school had received a grant from the UN children’s agency, Unicef, for improvements, which prompted the board of education, the local council and families in the area to raise 20,000 SDG (around £2,300) and implement extensive plans to expand and renovate Um Al-Gura girls school, Nahr Atbara, Kassala state. The school currently has 605 girls enrolled.

“I have 101 girls registering for first grade next academic year but I can only accept 50 students,” says principal Iman Hassan.

Sudan has one of the highest rates of out-of-school children in the entire Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, with more than 3 million children aged from five to 13 not enrolled. More than half of those out of school are girls, mostly from rural areas where the female literacy rate is as low as 39% (pdf) and primary school completion is only 26.1%, according to Unicef.

Read the full story on The Guardian website here.

 

In The Guardian: Art against the odds: new book showcases Sudan's isolated creatives

In a time of war and economic austerity, when making art has become deemed a luxury, a new book is showcasing Sudan’s artists in a bid to celebrate this struggling community.

Launched in Khartoum, Art in Times of Adversity presents the work of 30 artists and documents how the country’s increased isolation has contributed to Sudan’s vibrant and distinctive style.

Produced and published by collector Lina Haggar, all proceeds from book sales will go to buying art supplies and funding scholarships for young local artists.

For Haggar, who moved to Khartoum more than 20 years ago and has since set up the country’s first commercial gallery, the book is a way to bring local talent to an international audience.

“The major problem is that there is no national museum of modern art to collect, document or showcase Sudanese artists, which is sad when we compare this to the situation in other Arab and African countries,” says Haggar.

The country was once renowned for its bustling cultural scene, and Khartoum painter Ibrahim El-Salahi was recently the first African artist to stage a solo exhibition at London’s Tate Modern.

Read the full story on The Guardian website here