art

Forced marriage is still an issue that affects more than 700 million women globally – a third of them are less than 18. In order to raise awareness of this issue, the UNICEF partnered with major African artists to write a song against child marriage.

In Central and Western Africa, 41% of the girls above 18 are married (illustrative photo, source: UNICEF)
In Central and Western Africa, 41% of the girls above 18 are married (illustrative photo, source: UNICEF)

In Central and Western Africa, 41% of the girls above 18 are married – in countries like Benin, one in ten girls is married under the age of 15. More than depicting a social issue, these statistics are alarming from a health care standpoint as many of these girls are not able-bodied for childbearing and could face permanent physical and psychological damage.

As part of the Zero Tolerance Campaign against child marriage that the government launched last June, nine artists from Benin committed themselves to breaking the silence around child marriage. UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassadors Angélique Kidjo and Zeynab Abib, supported by Danialou Sagbohan, Kalamoulaï, Don Métok, Sessimè, Dibi Dobo, Norberka and Olga Vigouroux, gathered to craft a deeply moving song and a video that call the population to act.

“A little girl is still a child. She cannot be a mother or a bride. Let her grow up to live a fulfilling life. Say NO to child marriage!”; so goes the song, co-written by Angelique Kidjo and Zeynab Abib.

The artists sing in a variety of languages, including Fon, Mina, Mahi, Sahouè, Yoruba, Goun, Bariba and French in order for the message to spread throughout the country and neighbouring countries.

Artists from Benin are engaged in the cause
Artists from Benin are engaged in the cause

“The impact on these girls is terrible. Once married, they no longer go to school, they are raped, they get pregnant, which puts their health and that of their baby in danger. We artists are saying NO to all these injustices! Girls are not the property of anyone; they have the right to choose their own destinies”, says Beninese pop star Zeynab Abib, who was able to mobilise Benin’s greatest artists around this cause.

Early marriage prevents girls from getting proper education and leads them to poverty, while enforcing the prevalence of traditions and belief systems that are tied to the continued practice of child marriage.

“We need all the strength and weapons we can muster to fight the scourge of child marriage. Art, especially music, is a powerful weapon. As Nelson Mandela said, ‘politics can be strengthened by music, but music has a potency that defies politics’. This power must be harnessed!” says Dr Claudes Kamenga, UNICEF Representative in Benin.

Watch the video [English subtitles] [SAY NO TO CHILD MARRIAGE]1 Watch the video [French subtitles] [DISONS NON AU MARIAGE DES ENFANTS]2

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

What do alternative sources of energy, cooking workshops and a virtual reality device to make people feel like refugees have in common? Cultural innovation and the will to change positively the world we live in. Last month, the Center for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona hosted a round of conferences and a prize for social innovation, gathering specialists in such topics as sustainable cultural management and climate change in a two-day row of interesting debates about the challenges of our times.

Cultural Innovation International Prize
Cultural Innovation International Prize

The pannels started with Laura Pando, an experienced cultural manager who strives to help the cultural sector to adopt more sustainable practices. In the last 10 years, Laura helped museums, music festivals and governments to opt for clean energy solutions, calculate their carbon footprint and develop leadership in the industry. «In a recent poll, we discovered that 50% of people don’t remember ever having a conversation about climate change. Art and culture have a great responsibility on promoting this debate. If we don’t talk about it, it won’t exist in people’s minds», she said.

The following conference was presented by Laura Faye Tenembaum, science senior editor for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. In a passionate talk, she engaged the audience on the idea that climate change is a «fascinating challenge». «You can’t see countries’ political divisions or boundaries from the space. We’re all facing the climate change and have to work together», she said. Laura warned that the effects of carbon pollution might be invisible on earth but are becoming more visible from space. Climate change, she says, is not a topic of the future. It’s already been happening for decades now and affecting our daily lives. «We need to transform how we live. Society is resistent to change, and has a negative feeling about it. I dare you to face the challenges as exciting”, she concluded.

Laura Faye Tenembaum
Laura Faye Tenembaum

Laura Tenembaum was also a member of the jury for the Cultural Innovation International Prize. In its second edition, the competition gathered 228 projects from 59 countries, mainly developed by young researchers, artists and entrepreneurs. The 10 finalists presented their projects in Barcelona and the winner was The Newton Machine, a battery prototype that stores renewable energy using gravity. The prize also gave an audience award to Neighbourhood Upcycling, a locally based project for plastic recycling that can be replicated to promote circular economy worldwide.

The jury gave a special mention for the project Ode for the Future, which used art, installation, and performances to show the effects of climate change in six geographic spots from Catalonia, Spain. All the projects, though, had the opportunity to be presented to a broader audience and to create an impact – the finalists received feedback from the jury, as well as ideas to put into practice.

The projects were exposed at the Centre of Contemporary Culture in Barcelona
The projects were exposed at the Centre of Contemporary Culture in Barcelona

Click here to read more about the 10 finalists and the Cultural Innovation International Prize. (in Spanish)

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

O fotógrafo Tomás Cajueiro tem um projeto ousado – percorrer o Brasil mostrando as diferentes faces do país a seu próprio povo. O projeto Retratos Brasileiros, que faz uma edição especial pelo estado de São Paulo, é resultado de um trabalho de diferentes fotógrafos que viajaram pelo Brasil e pelo exterior desde 2014 em busca de brasileiros. Além das imagens, o projeto também conta com relatos sobre cada personagem retratado, exposições e palestras sobre fotografia. O Horyou blog entrevistou Tomás Cajueiro, que conta sobre a história do projeto e sua inspiração nas causas sociais.

Foto: Tomás Cajueiro
Foto: Tomás Cajueiro

Como surgiu a ideia do projeto Retratos Brasileiros?

Nasce como uma maneira de colocar um pouco em prática, diversas das reflexões teóricas que eu tive nos meus anos de estudo, sobretudo no mestrado, onde estudei muito identidade nacional e a função do jornalismo e do fotojornalismo como instrumentos de formação de identidade nacional. O brasileiro e o latinoamericano em geral tem uma identidade ainda muito fraca, ainda em construção. O Retratos surge como uma utopia de propiciar uma reflexão que faça o brasileiro pensar quem ele é, quem é o povo brasileiro.

Foto; Tomás Cajueiro
Foto; Tomás Cajueiro

O projeto está em fase de curadoria. Quais são os próximos passos e o plano de divulgação?

A edição 2017 do projeto, que é viabilizado com recursos do ProAC (Programa de Ação Cultural – Estado de São Paulo) está na fase final de curadoria para seleção das imagens que irão compor a exposição e seu catálogo. Serão escolhidas 100 imagens. Os próximos passos serão as exposições em si que devem acontecer em Sorocaba, Araçatuba e Santos. A divulgação acontece pelas redes sociais e assessoria de imprensa.

Como continuidade do projeto, o próximo passo é inscrevê-lo na Lei Rouanet, para que aconteça em nível nacional. Nosso objetivo é voltar o Retratos, a partir do ano que vem, para o Brasil todo, que foi como começarmos. Esperamos fazer isso agora com o financiamento da Lei Rouanet. O objetivo é termos um livro publicado com as próximas imagens, até 2019.

Foto: Érica Dezonne
Foto: Érica Dezonne

Você se sente engajado com questões sociais e de meio ambiente?

A fotografia é uma consequência desse engajamento. Meu engajamento se manifestou através de uma série de trabalhos voluntários que eu sempre fiz. A fotografia, na verdade, nos últimos anos tem se transformado num instrumento que dá voz a esse engajamento social, ela é a consequência. E a maneira através da qual eu acredito que eu consigo dar voz a pessoas que são forçadamente mudas. Sobretudo nesse sistema midiático que a gente vive hoje, bastante mercadológico, muita gente que não vende pauta (jornal) não tem voz.

Com quais causas sociais você se sente mais conectado?

Pessoalmente eu me interesso muito por desigualdade social e inclusão social. São duas causas que me interessam bastante. Gosto muito de trabalhar com pessoas marginais à grande massa da sociedade. Eu acho que o que a gente chama de minoria na verdade é a maioria, são pessoas que não estão no centro do debate sócio-político.

Foto; Daniel Arroyo
Foto; Daniel Arroyo

Na sua opinião, como a arte pode colaborar para construir uma sociedade mais justa?

Acredito que a arte empodera as pessoas, pois gera uma visão crítica, a partir do momento que as tira da zona de conforto. Mexe com um lado do cérebro que não é racional. Acho que faz com que a pessoa tenha a capacidade de pensar mais no abstrato, e a pessoa acaba tendo uma visão de mundo diferente, que não teria se ela ficasse vivendo aquele mundo muito cartesiano que a sociedade põe de frente pra gente. Vivemos em uma sociedade muito pragmática. Acho que a arte é uma maneira de acabar com esse pragmatismo. Assim, as pessoas se tornam mais críticas e fazemos com que a sociedade seja mais justa.

The UN Launches Global Youth Video Competition on Climate Change

The 2016 edition of the Global Youth Video Competition
The 2016 edition of the Global Youth Video Competition

What are you doing to combat the climate change? In order to get answers to this question – and to promote the debate about global warming, the UN launched yesterday a film competition. The Global Youth Video Competition on Climate Change is open to 18 to 30 year olds and will award two winners with a trip to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, in November of this year. They will join the UN communications team as videographers and reporters.

The video competition is in its third edition. Last year, the closing ceremony of the competition took place in Marrakesh, during COP22, and was covered by Horyou blog. In 2016, the jury of the competition had the participation of renowned filmmakers as Bernardo Bertolucci, Fernando Meirelles (director of City of God and The Constant Gardener), and the French actor Christopher Lambert.

As for the 2017 edition, the organizers will accept videos submitted by August 18th, 2017.

The two categories for this year are:

  • Climate friendly and resilient cities
  • Oceans and climate change

Nick Nuttall, Spokesperson and Director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said: “I am excited about viewing the video shorts that young people from across the globe will be making and sending in, in order to win a place at the UN climate conference in Bonn in November”.

“With the Pacific island of Fiji presiding over the conference—COP23—I would like this year to especially urge young, creative people from small islands and vulnerable coastlines to get out their cameras and their smartphones and submit cool, amazing and inspirational videos about how they and their communities are taking climate action”, added Mr. Nuttall.

The third Global Youth Video Competition on Climate Change is co-organized by the United Nations Climate Change secretariat, the UNDP GEF-Small Grants Programme –https://sgp.undp.org/– and will be implemented through the Television for the Environment (tve) platform.

The talented Japanese singer Miou is a humanist who wants to heal people’s hearts and promote world peace through her music. Her uniqueness and originality were displayed before the SIGEF 2016 audience as a performer during the Horyou Foundation Dinner in Marrakesh, as well as a panelist discussing the power of art in promoting positive change in our society. In the interview below, Miou talks about her personal experiences, plans and dreams for the future.

Miou performing at SIGEG 2016, in Marrakesh
Miou performing at SIGEG 2016, in Marrakesh

1. Tell  us about your relationship with music: have you always wanted to become a singer?

I have always loved music. I have played piano for 20 years and alto horn and trumpet in the school brass band club and took singing lessons. But it was always a hobby to me and I never dreamt of becoming a professional musician. I wanted to set up a band but I didn’t know what to do. So I asked my friends who had a band and they suggested to me to search for my band members on the internet. There was a website for that. So I did it and I met one person, listened to his songs and we decided to make a band together. His music was fusion Japanese, very unique, and reminded me of my experience as an international beauty pageant. I sang a Japanese traditional song as a national talent at the International pageant in Malaysia (Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International). All the contestants were from different nationalities. But even if they didn’t understand the language, they loved the sound so much and the reaction was so good. And I felt “I am Japanese”. National tradition made me feel unique and original on the international stage. Since then, I have been trying to fuse traditional Japanese sound and modern western beat together, to create a “East meets West” crossover.

2.   What does music represent for you?

I was Miss Japan for various international beauty pageants and had a chance to represent my country and introduce Japanese culture to the world. Besides music, I studied education and medicine (nursery). I loved teaching and taking care of people in need. I have always liked to communicate with people. So I think my music is reflecting my personal experience and is a tool to convey my messages and communicate with people. I can teach and educate through music, I can heal people’s hearts through music as well. Music, culture and art have a strong power to convey messages and to change the world.

3.   What would you like to achieve as a singer?

I would like to heal people’s hearts through my music. I want to convey positive messages and promote world peace. Love ourselves, love our country, love our neighbours, love this planet, love our lives. The most important message is ”Love”. I like travelling as well and I want to sing around the world. Part of this dream came true in 2009, when I sang at the UNESCO’s world heritage site, the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence, Italy. I would like to do it more often!

4.   You made a performance during the SIGEF 2016 in Marrakesh – how do you evaluate this experience?

It was a great experience for me. As a Japanese artist, I have always cared about our environment. I believe everything is alive on Earth and we have to respect life, this planet is our mother and our home. If we hurt our planet, it is going to be difficult for us to live. If we take more care of this planet, it will be a better place for us to live in. Everything we do to the earth will come back to us. Some of my songs are also reflecting my respect and feelings towards nature, and messages to rethink about the environment and take an action to protect our mother land and home. So coming to Morocco to SIGEF was a very good experience for me as I felt I shared the same feelings and messages. I was inspired by others and I want to be the one to inspire others as well. I hope SIGEF continues to bring messages of respect of nature and world peace for more years to come.

5. What does social innovation mean to you? Do you have any cause you identify yourself with?

The social innovation and technology we have been experiencing is a great thing. This new evolution is allowing more people to share their views and bring their voices and feelings to the world. This is helping everyone, no matter who they are or where they are from. It is also helping people like me, artists in general, as we now have more ways to reach out to our audience globally. As for me, I aim to bring Japan to the world with my music, and also share a message of harmony with the nature.

6. Do you have a project for 2017 that you would like to share with our community?

I am set to perform at Etna Comics 2017 in Sicily. When it comes to the Japanese culture, animes and comics are very popular and well known worldwide. However, we have not only pop culture, but also many other traditional and chic culture as well. I want to present aspects of Japanese traditional culture such as “KIREI(beautiful)” or “SHIBUI(chic)” “KAKKOII(cool)” styles at pop culture festivals as well. And I’m currently planning to write a song for an international movie about Japan.

7.   Horyou’s tagline is dream, inspire and act. What do these words mean to you?

I think ACT is very important to make our dreams come true. Pursuing our dreams would INSPIRE others to take an action. We can always DREAM how we want to be. If we ACT, DREAM will become reality, our dreams will INSPIRE others to DREAM and ACT. Everything starts from dreaming, taking one action. We can inspire others to dream and act! Nothing is impossible.

During the COP22 negotiations, a global video competition, Film4Climate, gathered cinema lovers to discuss the effects of climate change on people’s lives all over the world and granted awards to directors and students who spread the message about the need to protect the environment.

Film4Climate jury and winners
Film4Climate jury and winners

How to use the big screen to spread a global message about climate change and its effects? In 2016, during the preparations for the COP22 in Marrakesh, the World Bank launched a film competition for Young directions. The result was Film4Climate, a side event of the COP which received over 860 subscriptions from 155 countries.

Before the award ceremony, the event offered a special screening of “Before the Flood”, a film presented and produced by Leonardo di Caprio, and “Years of living dangerously”, with Gisele Bundchen and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Both movies were pungent and provoked passionate discussions among the participating panelists. Personalities and intellectuals including Brazilian film-maker Fernando Meirelles, actor Christopher Lambert, and Columbia professor Jeffrey Sacks defended the role of cinema as a tool for change for the better. “We need to get actors, media, youth and audiences together around this battle. People who can reach, inspire and educate, so we will be able to promote change now”, said professor Sacks.

“Before the Flood”, a didactic and yet emotional film, portrayed Leonardo di Caprio’s personal story and his early connection with “The garden of Earthly Delights”, a triptych painted by the Dutch Hieronymus Bosch that shows three stages of the world: “paradise” as created by God, earth being dominated by greed and pleasures, and “final damnation”, depicting destruction and chaos. “I had the painting hanged over my bed. That is maybe the reason I became fascinated by species disappearing”, says Leonardo. In the movie, he travels the world showing the social and environmental effects of climate change, in an effort to take people to action – the core message of COP22. Leonardo interviews personalities like Pope Francis, Barack Obama and Ban ki Moon to show that spiritual and political leaders are engaged in the cause.

In “Years of Living Dangerously”, Gisele Bundchen shows the extent of deforestation in Brazil and its intrinsic connections with cattle farming, while Arnold Schwarzenegger discusses the American military efforts to develop clean energy facilities on a global scale, and the challenges they have to face with the Congress. The message of the movie was clear: we, as citizens, can make the world a better place, either through our vote and citizenship, or by other simple actions like changing our consuming habits.

The screenings were followed by panel discussions with invited speakers, notably Hakima El Haite, Delegate Minister of Environment in Morocco and High Level Champion of UNFCCC. “Today, we are facing the most challenging crisis for humanity, and we are asking people to change everything: the way they consume, produce and build. That’s why we need to touch the hearts of people, so we create a revolution of the brain”, she said, stressing that media and cinema are “keys” for this revolution.

The Short Film prize went to “Three Seconds”, from Spencer Sharp, a clip-like video narrated on hip hop rhythms about the effects of human presence on Earth. “We need public policies to change the world. But politicians are elected by people, and we can engage voters with emotions, with our films”, said director Fernando Meirelles, a member of the jury.

Film4Climate is a global campaign of Connect4Climate and World Bank which aims to develop a concrete plan to raise awareness about climate change through cinema, while mitigating the environmental impact of film. The winning entries were awarded cash prizes of USD$8,000, $5,000, and $2,000 for first, second and third, in each of two categories: an under one-minute Public Service Advertisement (PSA) or a Short Film up to five minutes.

Written by Vívian Soares

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