Homage to Beirut
How the city inspired one artist plus ceramic theft in Portugal.
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2009 07:56 GMT

Artsworld comes from Beirut where filmmaker Yamen Soukkarieh gives an insider's lowdown on the cultural scene of a city of different communities and contrasts.

Such social variety has had a profound impact on the work of artist Zena El Khalil.

Images of pop stars, politicians, saints and resistance fighters are all found in her work in a playful juxtaposition that reflects the uniqueness and complexity Lebanese society.

She says Beirut is central to all of her work and that as she arrived in the country at a time when the city was reinventing itself after years of war. As a result the two of them "kind of grew up together."

Monk depiction

In Thailand Anupong Chanthorn won a prestigious art award for paintings that depict monks behaving badly.

The works have polarised opinion in Thai society and sparked an open national debate on how much monks can and should be criticised in a country where they are traditionally respected.

However breaking barriers is what well-known theatre director, Teerawat Mulvilai wanted to do when he decided to take Anupong’s paintings to the stage.

The result is a performance and critique that uses a Japanese-style of dance called Butoh.

Off the tiles

Portuguese police may already have their hands full protecting their citizens but now they are even busier defending their art.

Artsworld discovers how Azulejos the historic coloured ceramic tiles which adorn many of Lisbons oldest buildings are being targeted by criminals.

Even large 18th century works depicting religious scenes and made up of hundreds of tiles have been stolen, leading many to believe that there is a parallel market now for organised tile-crime.

Tribal gathering

The quiet agricultural city of Iloilo in the Philippines is normally a peaceful place.
But every January, the beating of drums awakens the sleepy town as it celebrates its devotion to the Santo Niño – or Child Jesus. 

The Dinagyang Festival was historically a solemn religious commemoration of the city’s deep faith in the Santo Niño but it has now become a raucous contest of tribal street dance that is helping boost tourism in the country.

Artsworld from Beirut can be seen from Monday June 22 at the following times GMT: Monday: 0530, 1130; Tuesday: 0130, 1400, 2330; Wednesday: 1630; Thursday: 1430; Friday: 0600; Saturday: 1930; Sunday: 1030

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