Despite the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global theatre scene, The International Human Rights Art Festival has started 2021 with a bang. The New York-based non-profit organization has announced a slew of artistic programs covering January – March 2021.

International Human Rights Art Festival stage pic

The International Human Rights Art Festival provides a forum for international artists (Photo: IHRAF)

First off the block is Human Freedom 2021- A Theater for Human Rights Campaign. Alessandro Lenzi, a 2021 IHRAF International Fellow, is spearheading this initiative.  Raizes Teatro (Palermo), International Human Rights Art Festival (NYC), Avant-Garde Lawyers (Paris), and Global Campus of Human Rights (Venice) are the other global collaborators. Alessandro Lenzi is the Director of Raizes Teatro. Alessandro Ienzi’s The Last Era, will be one of the features of the campaign. It is described as ‘a journey through ecological disasters that have endangered the survival of our planet–from the Chernobyl nuclear accident to the plight of Gambian fishermen, the overturning of the oil tanker in Cape Verde, the amazon forest fires, and the Fukushima disaster.’

The Last Era by Alessandro Ienzi

A scene from ‘The Last Era’ by Alessandro Ienzi (Photo: IHRAF/Alessandro Ienzi)

In an interview with Tom Block, the Executive Director of the International Human Rights Art Festival, Alessandro Ienzi said:

“In 2021, we will manage a global campaign called Human Freedom 2021 focused on promoting human rights around the world through art and theater. The program includes documentaries, short movies and theatre performance on human right issues. It will be developed online for the first two months but we are very confident we can perform live soon, in New York, Paris and Palermo…The goal of Human Freedom 2021 is to help people see the world as it could and should be—a world in which everyone’s human rights are protected. We believe that art is the best vehicle for helping people imagine this vision. Art is a perception of life in all its dimensions, the one we easily get and the ones we cannot physically perceive with our senses. Art allows people to see something that does not exist.”

Save the date

Other IHRAF events lined up for 2021 include:

  • A Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration starring African-American a cappella ensemble, Sweet Honey in the Rock. The Washington, D.C.-based group will perform at the historic Lincoln Theatre to an audience of thousands watching via the popular Zoom teleconferencing app. However, the setup will be such that the performers will be able to see the audience. The shows will take place on January 17 at 3 pm and 8 pm EST.
  • A 50-minute online workshop investigating mental health using art. It will be helmed by Alex Fiano. Attendees will participate in several activities to explore the interpretation of art relating to psychological conditions and emotional states. It is slated for Wednesday, February 24, 7 pm EST, and registration is free.
  • An Activist-Writers’ Workshop by Darcie Friesen Hossack. Darcie is a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize-shortlisted author and the Managing Editor of WordCity Monthly. The training will take place every Saturday between February 27 and March 20, 2021 at 2 pm EST.



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This post was written by Alexander Nderitu.

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