Culture

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power

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This is a celebration of the work of Black American artists in the 1960s and 1970s. While the art on display is inspired by the mass Civil Rights Movement in the US during that time it is incredibly poignant that the issues raised remain so relevant today.

Norman Lewis’s America the Beautiful, for example, is an almost abstract painting depicting the KKK and burning crosses that could be a representation of Donald Trump’s America.

Five things to see or do this month

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Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power
Tate Modern, London, 12 July-29 October

The US Civil Rights and Black Power movements inspired artists to celebrate African American pride and explore politics. This landmark exhibition promises to be “an electrifying visual journey”. With 150 artworks — including paintings, murals, photography, fashion and activist posters — from more than 50 artists, this is a rare opportunity to see era-defining artworks that changed the face of art in America.

Alone in Berlin

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Otto Quangel is the foreman in a coffin factory. A mechanic, he is a small cog in the apparatus of death that was the Third Reich. Quangel and his wife Anna get notification of the loss of their son at the front. Their feelings of disengagement with the regime harden into opposition. They embark on a low-level campaign of resistance, writing postcards with anti-Nazi messages and leaving them secretly in the stairwells of Berlin businesses and apartments.

The Life and Work of Marx and Engels

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The Working Class Movement Library, in the heart of Salford, hosts a large collection of socialist literature and materials. Their latest exhibition focuses on the lives of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. There is a particular spotlight on the lives of the working class of Manchester and Salford in 1842.

Among the many photographs and examples of their writing on display, the library gives detailed accounts both of the works and personal lives of the pair.

Portraying a Nation: Germany 1919-1933

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Germany after the First World War was a society in deep crisis. The war ended with the overthrow of the Kaiser and with Germany on the brink of socialist revolution. The Weimar Republic (1919-1933) was racked by war debts, hyperinflation, economic crises, mass unemployment, dramatic political conflict and the growth of both the revolutionary left and fascism.

Five things to get or see this month

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Guerrilla
Out now on DVD
The six-part TV drama broadcast on Sky Atlantic in April receives a welcome DVD release. This flawed but fascinating drama centres on racial politics in Britain in the 1970s and follows the relationship of activists Marcus and Jas (Babou Ceesay and Freida Pinto). It looks at racist policing, the impact of immigration laws, and the angry responses of the communities they targetted.

The Underside of Power

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The Underside of Power is four-piece Atlanta based band Algiers’ follow up to their powerful self-titled post-punk meets Southern gospel debut album.

The band take their name from the city at the heart of the Algerian revolutionary war that fought and won independence from France in the 1960s. And they are back with a whole new level of fiery energy and an even more defiant political message.

The Handmaid's Tale

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If you’ve read Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, published in 1985, you likely will have called it to mind frequently in recent years — and perhaps especially since last November. The book depicts a fascist US society that responds to ecological destruction with oppression, using the language of Christianity to hide and justify the real structures of power.

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