Mexican corn by local Oaxacan farmers

All difficult things have there origin in that which is easy,
and great things in that which is small.
 Loa Tzu

Amado serves only the most traditional of Mexican foods in his restaurant, showcasing the various organic corns, harvest by local Oaxacan farmers in their purest form. But beyond the taste of history and tradition, Amado brings a poetic truth about the power of this ancient grain.

Nameless - The future we want, Nigeria

from Book Sprints

THE STORY OF A BOOK looks behind the scenes of the writing of Nameless, a book written in five days and nights in a collaborative effort by eight Nigerian writers. They came together in a Book Sprint to take a critical look at present-day Nigeria ahead of the national elections in 2015 and to offer glimpses of alternative futures ahead. What started as political critique soon turned into provocative fictional stories. These are centered around a market town that could be any and everywhere in the country, and thus remains nameless. The short documentary tells Nigeria’s current situation through the story of the book, picking up the pulse on the street, the intensity of the concern for everyday issues and the hope for change in the future.

Toumani and Sidiki Diabaté, father and son - the wheel of history turns when we play together.

A quarter of a century ago, Toumani Diabaté played at the Royal Festival Hall in London with his father, Sidiki. Here, in this acclaimed concert, the great Malian kora player performs alongside his son, also called Sidiki.

Apo Mechanics Village, Abuja, Nigeria.

The Apo Mechanics Village is a spare parts village and makeshift mechanics workshop. No one can keep a car running for longer than these guys.  

Music: Igbo highlife 1974, Celestine Ukwu & His Philosophers National - Okwukwe Na Nchekwube

Of the Unknown, Hongkong.

By Eva Weber & Nia Ashley

"While poverty persists, there is no true freedom."

A visual meditation, in Hong Kong where millionaires and the ‘working poor’ live side by side in one of Asia’s wealthiest and most densely populated cities.

Arsy-Versy, documentary by Miro Remo, Slovakia.

The film is a story of a mother and her son Lubos who lives in a world turned upside-down, or, arsy-versy. Lubos broke free from the world as generally conceived by others to arrive at the supreme human-nature symbiosis; he flew away to a planet purely inhabited by butterflies - intelligent beings. The sole focus of his life energy, enriched by a great deal of empathy, is being chanelled into his amateur photography and film making, the climax of his fascination with natural phenomenona being his unique study of bats. By way of communicating with the upside-down creatures he is fascinated with, he attempts to achieve the utmost understanding between man and beast. He is assisted by his mother who has been a great reaserch and life support to him, but is now apprehensive about her son’s future. "What will become of the kid?" she wonders. Those who 'knew' him thought him lost up to the moment they saw the arsy-versy film; now it’s them who are losing it!

Puppet art in Burkina Faso and Yaya Coulibaly's Bambara puppetry tradition in Mali.

Giant marionettes in Burkino Faso

 Bambara puppetry tradition

Yaya Coulibaly is one of the greatest living puppeteers and descends from a long line of puppeteers in the Bamana kingdom of Segou in Mali. He began his initiation into the magical world of puppet and masquerade figures at the age of ten as an apprentice to his father. His puppet company Sogolon Puppet Troupe was founded in 1980 and has since become the leading group of the oldest and richest of Africa’s surviving puppetry traditions. Coulibaly is the custodian of a vast collection of puppets, many of which have come down to him through his family.

"Collecting Insanity" by Joshua Frank - the Jianchuan Museum, China.

Every country has a past it likes to celebrate and another it would rather forget.
In China, where history still falls under the tight control of government-run museums and officially approved textbooks, the omissions appear especially stark.

An unusual museum dedicated largely to what is absent in China’s self-presentation is the subject of Joshua Frank’s short film Collecting Insanity.
Frank tours the Jianchuan Museum Cluster, of Fan Jianchuan, an ex-official and real estate magnate, in the town of Anren, near Chengdu. The group of exhibits display their owners collection of millions of historical artifacts, gathered over a lifetime of obsessive accumulation. Fan’s museum displays objects from various historical events, including the officially memorialized Sino-Japanese War and the far more taboo fallout of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

But Frank, and Fan himself, place special emphasis on galleries devoted to the Red Era and, in particular, the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), a period when the collection and proper enshrinement of Maoist paraphernalia became a necessity for political respectability and thereby survival, when, in essence, anyone who hoped to remain free of persecution was forced to become a collector. Fan got his start during those days, gathering up leaflets and posters denouncing his father as a capitalist roader. Much goes unsaid at Fan’s museum, and that is by design, as well. But it is unique in China, if not in the world, as a testament to one man’s will to spend his wealth and influence probing the boundaries of what can permissibly be remembered, and perhaps inspiring others to do the same.

Ever Young: James Barnor - Photographer Accra-Ghana/London-U.K.

Miss Sarah Quansah, Ever Young Studio, Accra, c.1954

James Barnor documents societies in transition: Ghana moving towards its independence, and London becoming a multicultural metropolis during the ‘swinging 60s’. His extensive portfolio of street and studio portraiture spans over 60 years and different continents, many commissioned by Drum magazine, Africa’s first Black politics and lifestyle publication. In the early 1950s, Barnor’s photographic studio Ever Young was visited by civil servants and dignitaries, performance artists and newly-weds. During this period, he captured intimate moments of luminaries such as Kwame Nkrumah as he pushed for pan-African unity, and commonwealth boxing champion Roy Ankrah. In 1960s London, he photographed Mohammad Ali and BBC Africa Service reporter Mike Eghan.