The New Year of 2016 could perhaps be one of the most memorable and important years in recent history. Let’s take a look ahead at what we have in store for 2016.
Art & Music
Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne 11 December 2015 – 24 April 2016
East meets West and modernity meets the future in this massive exhibition of more than 300 works by American pop artist Andy Warhol and Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. The exhibit will include major new commissions from Ai Weiwei, immersive installations, and ‘a wide representation of paintings, sculpture, film, photography, publishing and social media.’
One of Ai Weiwei’s new commissions for the exhibit received worldwide attention when he shared that Lego refused his bulk order for blocks to construct the piece. The company said they ‘cannot approve the use of Legos for political works,’ yet the timing of their refusal coincides suspiciously with the toymaker’s expansion of their presence in China. According to The Guardian, the company recently reported that Asia provided the highest regional growth rate as growth in the US, its former biggest market, has slowed.
M.I.A. – Matahdatah
The turbulent clashing of Eastern and Western culture provides much of the basis for the anticipation of UK rapper M.I.A.’s forthcoming fifth LP Matahdatah. In fact, the musician’s entire career was born out of the historically uneasy relationship between cultures and ideologies, which has always been thought of as “opposing” and “mutually exclusive” in the eyes of the closed-minded. From this cesspool of paranoia, the provocative M.I.A. flourishes. M.I.A.’s aggressive melding of Western and Eastern sonic influences (throughout her career she has sampled/interpolated everyone from the Clash and the Pixies to “Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Aaja” from the Bollywood film Disco Dancer), as well as the non-apologetic pride of her own culture and her outspoken politics, have made her not only a polarising pop culture figure, but an increasingly feared one, because it is becoming more and more apparent that people are listening to her message just as much as her music.
Artist & Empire, Facing Britain’s Imperial Past at Tate Britain 25 November 2015 – 10 April 2016
Though the British Empire was on the decline throughout the latter 20th Century and officially ended in 1997, its effects can still be felt throughout the world today. Artist & Empire explores “how artists from Britain and around the world have responded to the dramas, tragedies and experiences of the Empire.” When so many of today’s geopolitical problems are the result of Western imperialism, this exhibit should be an insightful look into an evolving perspective of Britain’s past.
Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther
Perhaps no other writer has had a bigger impact, nor a bigger year, than Ta-Nehisi Coates in 2015. His beautiful and visceral Between the World and Me earned him a MacArthur Genius Grant, the National Book Award for Nonfiction, and numerous other accolades, all while selling millions in the process. His continued work as a correspondent for The Atlantic, such as the groundbreaking pieces “The Case for Reparations,” “There Is No Post-Racial America,” and “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” exhibit his influence and position as a voice not only for the Black Lives Matter movement but anyone strongly impassioned about civil rights intersectionality.
When it was announced that Coates would pen the next comic book installment for the African Marvel superhero Black Panther, few things made more sense. While there is no date set for Coates’s comic book update, many informed readers will be waiting anxiously to see what kind of mark Coates will undoubtedly make on the world of superheroes, and what that could mean for us mere mortals here on Earth.
Bill Bryson’s The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island
The wait is (nearly) over! Bill Bryson’s first travel book in fifteen years will appear on bookcases across the United States on January 19th. If you’re in the UK (you lucky so-and-so), Bill’s book has already been released, so what’re you waiting for? In The Road to Little Dribbling, Bill loosely retraces his 1990s journey through the UK, which he wrote about in his bestseller, Notes from a Small Island. As you may have gathered, this Urchie Award Winner has long been an inspiration to us anglophiles, and we shall be queuing up outside our local indie bookstore on January 19, regardless of whether or not there is a queue!
Obama’s fourth quarter
2016 is going to be a massive year for politics. But even with all the excitement (and terror) of the upcoming presidential election, the most thrilling aspect of the year for me will be seeing what Obama does with the last months of his presidency.
At his year end news conference on 18 December, Obama reviewed his administration’s successes and spoke about the year ahead.
‘Since taking this office, I have never been more optimistic about the year ahead than I am right now, and in 2016 I’m going to leave it all out on the field. Every battle I’ve had with Congress over the last five years has been uphill, and we keep on surprising you by getting stuff done. And I plan on doing everything I can with every minute of every day that I have left as president to deliver on behalf of the American people.’
With everything he has already accomplished, I have no doubt he will maximise every opportunity over the next year to broaden the already indelible mark he has left on this country, and I can’t wait to see how much we are able to achieve.
2016 US presidential election
Next year’s US presidential election will be as much a test for the American people as it will be for the candidates. With a 24-hour news cycle metastasising into a hyperbolic reaction machine more concerned with eliciting immediate response in real time than the responsible purveyance of information, it is up to us to keep from getting sucked up in that machine, seek out the right information, and make informed decisions come Ballot Time. May the odds be ever in our favour.
Bernie Sanders’ political revolution
Will Bernie Sanders and his supporters prove you don’t need super-pacs, hate-filled rhetoric, or a political dynasty to be elected the President of the United States? Is it possible to say and do the right thing in politics even when it’s unpopular? Bernie is quite often portrayed as a kookie and cranky outsider ranting about income inequality, climate change, and that horrible curse word “socialism.” But he must be onto something, because he has defied conventional logic by breaking Obama’s fundraising record for the number of individual donations, surpassing 2.3 million on December 20. And, while Hillary Clinton manages to stay ahead of him, Bernie actually beats Trump by a higher margin than her in a number of national polls. If Bernie nabs the Democratic nomination, we will see that the people of the United States still have a voice amongst the corporate powers that be.