Professor Charles Tripp on Art and the Arab Uprisings (Event Recording)

In the third and final event in Arab Awakening's 'Tahrir Square Meme' series, Charles Tripp, professor of middle east politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, provided a feast for the mind and the eye in his exploration of the power of art in the Arab Spring.

Arab Awakening
13 May 2012

In the third and final event co-hosted by the University of East London and Arab Awakening, Professor Charless Tripp argued that 2011 was not, as is often taken for granted, "year zero for Arab creativity". Rather, he argued, the Arab spring represented a more focused concentration of well-established dissident art, pointing to the defacement of a picture of Saddam Hussein by defeated Iraqi soldiers in 1991 as a powerful smashing of the symbolic power of the dictator's face.

Art is a reaction against oppression, and the danger for any observer, particularly in the west, would be to separate the art from its context. There is a risk of imposing a western interpretation, or embracing only the most "western-friendly" face of Middle Eastern Art that western commentators like ourselves have to guard against. Near the end of his talk, Tripp related a story of Banksy painting on the controversial West Bank wall. An elderly Palestinian told him it looked beautiful, before adding: "We don't want it to be beautiful, we hate this wall. Go home."

Special thanks are due to Alice Wagstaffe and Mazen Zoabi who went to great lengths to record the event and to edit the video.

How do we work after coronavirus?

The pandemic has profoundly changed our working lives. Millions have lost their jobs; others have had no choice but to continue working at great risk to their health. Many more have shouldered extra unpaid labour such as childcare.

Work has also been redefined. Some workers are defined as 'essential' – but most of them are among the lowest-paid in our societies.

Could this be an opportunity?

Amid the crisis, there has been a rise in interest in radical ideas, from four-day weeks to universal basic income.

Join us on 5pm UK time on 20 August as we discuss whether the pandemic might finally be a moment for challenging our reliance on work.

In conversation:

Sarah Jaffe, journalist and author of 'Work Won't Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone', due to be published next year.

Amelia Horgan, academic and author of 'Lost in Work: Escaping Capitalism', also due to be published next year.

Chair: Alice Martin, advisory board member of Autonomy, a think tank dedicated to the future of work.

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email


We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData