Culture and Arts


Disney's Hidden Migrant Imagination

Tyrus Wong's Cultural Sojourn Animated a Classic Hollywood Fable
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If you were ever dazzled by the Magic of Disney as a kid, you were probably secretly enchanted by the quiet genius of Tyrus Wong. At a time when Disney studios were peddling crass ethnic caricatures, the virtually anonymous young artist infused Disney with misty woodland skylines and sweeping hilltops in brilliant color. He gave Disney a third dimension, beyond the cinematic vanguard of the time, drawing from his hybrid heritage as a migrant, skilled painter, and descendant of the Chinese diaspora.

A Comic Book Revolutionary for Puerto Rico

A new comic book heroine champions the plight of the island diaspora for economic and racial justice
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Although the tiny island territory faces a perilous tide of disastrous financial debt, Puerto Rico’s political saga is getting a new twist with an unconventional hero. She’s neither a bird nor a plane, but rather, a brilliant new comic icon for an embattled land who hopes to lead her people to victory with courage, street smarts, and an unshakeable belief in justice.

Notes From Technotopia 3.0

One artist's poetic field notes from a gentrifying landscape

From 2012 to 2015, I wrote obsessively on the dangers of the ultimate “creative city,” the much-touted “post-gentrification era” and what it meant to become a foreigner in my own neighborhood, waiting for the inevitable eviction notice. This updated 2016 manuscript remix has been expanded and restructured as a series of literary postcards. They are meant to be performed live, on radio or for video, without a particular chronological order.

Decolonization Day

Reclaiming a Museum Space and Subverting "Natural History"
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On Indigenous Peoples' Day, one of New York’s iconic educational institutions got renovated; a space that had previously come to represent the curdled decay of a colonial past was brought into modern society with a takeover by contemporary inhabitants.

A Child's Eye View

Children's Stories of Refugee Journeys
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There are some things that kids should never see. But for the children who cross borders by land or sea, they are exposed to everything, and they are spared no cruelty on the long, violent journey to what they’ve been told is a safe space.

When Migrant Women Marched in London

Remembering the "Strikers in Saris" 40 years later
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For one hot summer 40 years ago, West London was turned upside down: mass demonstrations filled the streets,  the hardscrabble city was on fire with radical fervor, and police and protesters clashed with a ferocity never before seen in postwar Britain. But this wasn't your grandmother's working-class uprising. Well, actually, it was. Because the chief agitators behind this affair were whom everyone least expected.

The Optician of Lampedusa

Scenes of a Rescue
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With hundreds of people thronging to the southern shores of Europe every day, and scores of rescues--and deaths--taking place on a daily basis on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, the refugee crisis on the Mediterranean often seems like a horror to which the world somehow remains blind. One man on the island has made it is his life's work to help us see. As the optician of Lampedusa, he has witnessed, mourned, and reached out to the people he's encountered on the sea, and he's begun telling his story.

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A Message from Favianna Rodriguez

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