The Art of Now: R4’s series on culture at the heart of current change


A fascinating Radio Four documentary series, The Art of Now. We’re always interested in how arts and culture can conjure up a different attitude to power and feeling oppressed. This series ranges from Guantanamo, Catalonia, Athens, Sudan, the UK and other locations. 

There is an intriguing show on the new wave of politicised UK bands. But here we feature a show on how art functions in a warzone.  The blurb is below: 

Composer Errollyn Wallen meets some of the artists working in places of conflict, violence and oppression around the world. She hears their personal testimonies and explores why art and music, poetry and drama can sometimes flourish in times and locations of danger and violence.

What use is art in a warzone, and what can these individuals and their work tell artists in more peaceful places about making art that helps us question and communicate?

  • Cartoonist and free improvisational trumpeter Mazen Kerbaj talks about his work during the 2006 Lebanon war and the problem of exoticising art from warzones.
  • Journalist and poet Bejan Matur describes how living as a Kurd in southeastern Turkey has shaped her work.
  • Actor and educator Ahmed Tobasi explains how Jenin's Freedom Theatre changed his life, and Mustafa Staiti discusses his work as artistic director of the city's new Fragments Theatre.
  • Composer Matti Kovler explores the impact of his experiences in the Israeli Defence Forces during the Second Intifada.