23 mar 2012

Mexico Taxi Project

Ara que ja han passat les vacances de Nadal i que tenim a prop les de Setmana Santa, proliferen les campanyes d’anuncis de les diferents oficines de turisme del món per a promocionar els seus països respectius i captar turistes.
A Barcelona podem veure anuncis de Marroc que ens inciten amb el seu exotisme a vèncer la possible por de molts dels ciutadans que només senten a parlar del Marroc quan va acompanyat de paraula immigració.
Una reticència similar ha de superar l’oficina de turisme de Mèxic per a captar turistes dels Estats Units i el Canadà per aconseguir que vagin a visitar els seus “Veïns al Sud de la Frontera”. El nord-americà, procliu a exagerar o notar només els punts negatius de les coses, ha deixat de visitar Mèxic en massa des que va anar augmentant el grau de violència entre els diferents grups mafiosos del país. Les notícies americanes tendeixen a posar en relleu i donar èmfasi a les imatges de les matances entre criminals, sense indicar que, en realitat, l’índex de criminalitat i d’homicidis a Mèxic és molt inferior a països que es creuen segurs com Honduras o Brasil. Fins i tot a la ciutat de Washington hi ha més assassinats que a México D.F.
Per això, l’oficina de turisme de Mèxic ha engegat una campanya mediàtica per internet i televisió destinada a explicar, amb testimonis reals, la veritable situació tranquil·la del país. 
La podeu seguir a través del web: www.mexicotaxiproject.com
Mitjançant gravacions ocultes en l’interior de taxis, els passatgers de retorn de Mèxic als EUA són entrevistats pel taxista i acaben confessant la veritat: “no han tingut cap incidència i han passat unes meravelloses vacances”.
A tothom que li pregunten respòn: Hi tornaria.
De moment, la campanya ja serveix per a que molts americans hi comencin a anar...

18 mar 2012

Regong arts

Regong arts, ETHNIKKA blog for cultural knowledge
In monasteries and villages along the Longwu River basin in Qinghai Province in western China, Buddhist monks and folk artists of the Tibetan and Tu ethnicity carry on the plastic arts of painting thangka and murals, crafting patchwork barbola and sculpting known collectively as the Regong arts. Their influence extends to nearby provinces and beyond to South-East Asian countries. Thangka, the art of painting religious scrolls used to venerate Buddha, uses a special brush to apply natural dyes to cloth prepared with patterns sketched in charcoal; barbola employs plant and animal forms cut from silk fabric to create soft relief art for veils and column ornaments; and wood, clay, stone or brick Regong sculpture decorates rafters, wall panels, tea tables and cabinets in both temples and homes. The technique is mainly passed from fathers to children or from masters to apprentices strictly following ancient Buddhist painting books that provide instruction on line and figure drawing, colour matching and pattern design. Characterized by a distinctively Tibetan Buddhist religion style and unique regional features, the Regong arts embody the spiritual history and traditional culture of the region and remain an integral part of the artistic life of people there today
Inscribed in 2009 (4.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
© Text: UNESCO, Image: Qinghai Regong Art Society of China

4 mar 2012

Qiang New Year festival

The Qiang New Year Festival, held on the first day of the tenth lunar month, is an occasion for the Qiang people of China’s Sichuan Province to offer thanks and worship to heaven for prosperity, reaffirm their harmonious and respectful relationship with nature, and promote social and family harmony. The solemn ritual sacrifice of a goat to the mountain is performed by villagers clad in their finest ceremonial dress, under the careful direction of a shibi (priest). This is followed by the communal sheepskin-drum and salang dances, led by the shibi. The ensuing festivities combine merrymaking with the chanting of traditional Qiang epics by the shibi, singing and the drinking of wine. At the end of the day the heads of families preside over family worship during which sacrifices and offerings are made. Through the festival, Qiang traditions distilling history and cultural information are renewed and diffused, and social behaviours are reinforced, the community expressing respect and worship towards all creatures, the motherland and their ancestors. Participation in the festival has declined in recent years due to migration, declining interest in Qiang heritage among the young and the impact of outside cultures, but the 2008 Sichuan earthquake that destroyed many of the Qiang villages and devastated the region put the New Year festival at grave risk.
Inscribed in 2009 (4.COM) on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding
© Text: UNESCO, Image: Wan Yuchuan

2 mar 2012

Hajj, Journey to the heart of Islam

Name: Hajj, Journey to the heart of Islam
Dates: 26th January – 15th April 2012
Place: Birtish Museum, London (UK)
Ticket fee: 12£
Webpage: www.britishmuseum.org
One of the five pillars of Islam central to Muslim belief, Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca that every Muslim must make at least once in their lifetime if they are able. This major exhibition charts the history of this deeply personal journey.
Examining the extraordinary travel logistics involved and how the wider operation of the event has changed over time, the exhibition compares how pilgrims over the centuries negotiated this often monumental undertaking and how it continues to be experienced by people from all corners of the globe today.
Beautiful objects, including historical and contemporary art, textiles and manuscripts, bring to life the profound spiritual significance of the sacred rituals that have remained unchanged since the Prophet Muhammad’s time in the 7th century AD.
'This exhibition will enable a global audience to deepen their understanding of the significance and history of the Hajj. In particular, it will allow non-Muslims to explore the one aspect of Islamic practice and faith which they are not able to witness, but which plays such a major part in forming a worldwide Islamic consciousness.'
Neil MacGregor, Director, British Museum
Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam will be the first major exhibition dedicated to the Hajj; the pilgrimage to Mecca (Makkah) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which is central to the Muslim faith. The exhibition will examine the significance of the Hajj as one of the Five Pillars of Islam, exploring its importance for Muslims and looking at how this spiritual journey has evolved throughout history. It will bring together a wealth of objects from a number of different collections including important historic pieces as well as new contemporary art works which reveal the enduring impact of Hajj across the globe and across the centuries. The exhibition which has been organised in partnership with the King Abdulaziz Public Library Riyadh will examine three key strands: the pilgrim’s journey with an emphasis on the major routes used across time (from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East); the Hajj today, its associated rituals and what the experience means to the pilgrim; and Mecca, the destination of Hajj, its origins and importance.
It is laid down in the Qur’an that it is a sacred duty for Muslims everywhere, if they are able, to make the journey to Mecca at least once in their lives. This pilgrimage takes place during the last month of the Islamic year, known as Dhu’l Hijja. At the heart of the sanctuary at Mecca lies the Ka’ba, the cube-shaped building that Muslims believe was built by Abraham and his son Ishmael. It was in Mecca that the Prophet Muhammad received the first revelations in the early 7th century. Therefore the city has long been viewed as a spiritual centre and the heart of Islam. The rituals involved with Hajj have remained unchanged since its beginning, and it continues to be a powerful religious undertaking which draws Muslims together from all over the world, irrespective of nationality or sect. .
A wide variety of objects will be lent to the exhibition. Loans include significant material from Saudi Arabia including a seetanah which covers the door of the Ka’ba as well as other historic and contemporary artefacts from key museums in the Kingdom. Other objects have come from major public and private collections in the UK and around the world, among them the British Library and the Khalili Family Trust. Together these objects will evoke and document the long and perilous journey associated with the pilgrimage, gifts offered to the sanctuary as acts of devotion and the souvenirs that are brought back from Hajj. They include archaeological material, manuscripts, textiles, historic photographs and contemporary art. The Hajj has a deep emotional and spiritual significance for Muslims, and continues to inspire a wide range of personal, literary and artistic responses, many of which will be explored throughout the exhibition.
This exhibition concludes the British Museum’s series of three exhibitions focused on spiritual journeys.
In partnership with King Abdulaziz Public Library, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
HSBC Amanah has supported the exhibition’s international reach outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

© Text and image: British Museum

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