Art can be a powerful tool. It can be used to make a statement, get a response and cause social change. That’s certainly the aim of the art and artists showcased in Interrupt This Program, returning for Season 3 this Friday at 8:30 p.m. on CBC.
Montreal documentarians Frank Fiorito and Nabil Mehchi of Noble Television have travelled the world, recording a quartet of artists and a Canadian who are immersed in the local culture of a city, creating art that speaks out against injustice. Friday’s return instalment heads to Mexico City, where violence erupts daily.
“In Mexico every day, women are killed just for being women,” says Andrea, a local artist as the episode begins. “So we use art as a language to speak what we are feeling or living.”
“If you want to criticize your country, use art as a tool for change, art as a weapon of choice,” says another.
Described by Andrea as a safe place to walk around when she was younger, Mexico City has become a battlefield, with murder a daily occurrence and bodies lying in the street the norm. Femicides, in particular, are on the rise; Andrea and her group of artists—the Women Engraving Resistance—convene to carve intricate designs into wood that are printed onto massive posters to be hung in neighbourhoods. “It’s Not Enough to Survive, Women’s Lives Matter,” reads one. “Does Killing Me Make You More of a Man?” reads another. Aside from the words themselves, the images on the posters are stunning.
Meanwhile, Canadian photographer François describes art centred around a moment in Mexico City’s recent past. Desensitized to the gory images of dead bodies shown on the first page of newspapers, François recalls how 43 students headed to a demonstration went missing. Since then, pop-up art reading simply “+43,” paintings of each missing student have shown up around the city and songs have been written about the incident, bringing together the arts community with a common goal: to find out the truth of what happened.
Other cities visited during Season 3 of Interrupt This Program are Jakarta, Nairobi, Warsaw and Karachi. And, for the first time, the program focuses on an American city: Chicago. With a murder rate since 2001 of 8,384—more than the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined in terms of Americans dead—The Windy City is a conflict zone as serious as any other Fiorito and Mehchi have visited.
Interrupt This Program airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on CBC.
Image courtesy of CBC.