Posts Tagged ‘manila’

As we have noted in other posts on the subject, one of the most ephemeral forms of art is street art. Many street artists like it that way, but others hate to see the work disappear.

Deborah Vankin and Saba Hamedy write at the Los Angeles Times that Google has decided to do something about that.

“A new worldwide database of public art aims to preserve — if only in digital form — street art, a medium that is often political, sometimes renegade and, perhaps most important, frequently fleeting. These are artworks that may get tagged by graffiti or fall into decay because of weather exposure. The accessible, populist nature of the medium — buildings and sidewalks as canvases — also is what makes them vulnerable. …

” ‘You never know when a mural will be scrubbed out or painted over,’ said Lucy Schwartz, program manager for the Google Cultural Institute, the umbrella organization that this week launched an expanded version of its searchable database of photos simply called Street Art. ‘Our goal is to offer a permanent home for these works so users today and tomorrow can enjoy them and learn about them.’ …

“The project launched in June 2014 with 5,000 images and 31 partnering organizations internationally. [In March] Google added 55 partners who have helped to document more than 5,000 more pieces of public art, all viewable at streetart.withgoogle.com/en/. The collection includes Australia, Sweden, Colombia, South Africa —34 countries in all. It also includes mobile apps and listening tours, as well as a map on which visitors can click to browse local art. …

“Google has said the street art in its online project cannot be downloaded, and the company credits all featured artists. Images in Street Art also include the title of the mural and the date it was created.” More here.

As you might imagine, some of the artists working in this form were highly skeptical of Google’s outreach to them. The sort of Buddhist acceptance of the transitory nature of all things certainly seems incompatible with a Google database. But for many artists, digital preservation is welcome.

Photo: Noel Celis / AFP/Getty Images
A mural by an unidentified artist in Manila. Jan. 26, 2015.

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Pamela Boykoff at CNN has a nice story about a ballet school in the Philippines and the hope it offers children from very poor families.

“Jessa Balote is 14-years-old and training to be a professional ballerina in Manila,” writes Boykoff.

“It is a task that takes enormous amounts of dedication for even the most determined of young women, but Balote’s challenge is nothing compared to life outside the dance studio where she has to support her entire family.

” ‘I’m the only one they expect to bring the family out of poverty,’ she says.

“Balote is one of 54 students enrolled in ‘Project Ballet Futures,’ a program run by Ballet Manila to provide free ballet training to children from some of the city’s most deprived neighborhoods.

“Balote lives in Tondo, a slum built next to a major waste dump in Manila. Her parents make what little money they have by selling trash. If Balote was not involved in the dance program, she says she wouldn’t be able to eat everyday.

” ‘They want to earn money to be able to survive,’ says Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, founder of the program and the Philippines’ first prima ballerina. She believes in her students, personally paying for their lessons and uniforms.

“Macuja-Elizalde’s goal is to help these children become professional members of the company with incomes to match. They are among her most focused students, she says, not afraid to work hard and to push themselves and their bodies.”

Read more.

Photograph: CNN

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