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Digital Bonfire Conversations with Iconic IHRAFs Thomas Block.

IHRAF or the International Human Rights Art Festival is an iconic art for human rights platform. A Haven of freedom voices. The global Human Rights and Arts Culture Activism brand is endowed with creative excellence, artistic diversity, versatility and organizational prowess. On the 23rd of April 2020, before the beloved earth got dressed in night gowns and before owls began to announce their deathly anthems. Mbizo Chirasha, the Editor of the New Brave Voices Press and the IHRAF 2019 Fellow and The Iconic Artistic Curator and Iconic Producer Thomas Block of IHRAF sat beside the digital bonfire, somewhere near the fontanel of the Internet jungle. Thomas Block brought with him ripe IHRAF berries ,a jug of fermented literary gin and an artistic lantern . Mbizo Chirasha wielded a pen, a green-leaf writing pad and of course a poetry waxed voice box. It is encouraging to discuss and archive Excellence. Thank you, Thomas Block, and the IHRAF Team for the good work and for affording us this great opportunity to enjoy the ripening IHRAF berries. EXCLUSIVE -* BRAVE VOICES PRESS, Editor*

IHRAF or the International Human Rights Art Festival is an iconic art for human rights platform. A Haven of freedom voices. The global Human Rights and Arts Culture Activism brand is endowed with creative excellence, artistic diversity, versatility and organizational prowess.  On the 23rd of April 2020, before the beloved earth got dressed in night gowns and before owls began to announce their deathly anthems. Mbizo Chirasha, the Editor of the New Brave Voices Press and the IHRAF 2019 Fellow sat with The Iconic Artistic Curator and Iconic Producer Thomas Block of IHRAF beside the digital bonfire, somewhere near the fontanel of the Internet jungle. Thomas Block brought with him ripe IHRAF berries ,a jug of fermented literary gin and an artistic lantern  . Mbizo Chirasha wielded a pen, a green-leaf writing pad and of course a poetry waxed  voice box. It is encouraging to discuss and archive Excellence. Thank you, Thomas Block, and the IHRAF Team for the good work and for affording us this great opportunity to enjoy the succulent IHRAF berries. EXCLUSIVE   -* BRAVE VOICES PRESS, Editor*

#DIGITAL BONFIRE CONVERSATIONS#

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    #Give  us a  brief hybrid  essay about International Human Rights Art Festival.

The International Human Rights Art Festival (IHRAF.ORG) provides a forum to international artists whose voices can be overlooked, underrepresented and, in some cases, actively repressed.  We offer live performances in all media; a literary magazine , an award; a recording platform and a yearly International Fellowship.  These represent the most important voices safeguarding the ideals of human rights and social justice: those whose only weapon is their passion, commitment and beauty.

The IHRAF not only provides these artists visibility, but it highlights the most important issues facing our societies: how to safeguard and expand human rights, social justice, democracy and equality, in all countries around the world.  We are especially drawn to artists  around the world who promote these ideals through their dedication to truth and beauty.  

We use the energy of this art to engage with stakeholders at all levels, including politicians, social leaders, NGO’s and activists on the front line of the struggle for truth and justice.

We have worked with artists and activists from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Morocco, Iran, Uganda, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Gambia, Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Israel, Palestine, Turkey, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, China, Haiti, Martinique, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Columbia, Venezuela, Italy, Germany, France, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, England, Australia, Sioux Nation, as well as most of the United States.

The IHRAF has presented more than 500 artists in 20 interim events and 3 week-long Festivals, all in New York City.  Additionally, IHRAF has published more than 50 writers on the IHRAF Publishes literary platform.  The organization has been covered more than 30 times in press outlets, including the New York Times, NBC TV Live!, Fox 5 Good Morning, Metro-NY, Huffington Post, Crain’s NY Business, New York Observer, Voice of America: Mandarin,  AM and many others.

    #What differentiates IHRAF from other Human Rights, Arts Activism
and Festival Projects
.

Founded in 2017 at Dixon Place Theater in New York, the IHRAF is already the largest human rights art festival in the world.  While there are nearly 50 human rights film festivals, very few art-activist organizations focus in an ongoing manner on performance of all types, including dance, theatre, music, spoken word, circus and any other method of bringing art and soul to a live audience.

Additionally, we separate ourselves from other arts-activism projects by our engagement with decision makers, from our honorary co-sponsors in the political realm (many United States Senators and Congresspersons), to our work with governmental agencies such as the NYC Commission on Human Rights.

We have also developed and implemented a number of other year-round, international manners of using art in the struggle for human rights and justice.  Our “IHRAF Publishes” platform publishes weekly art-activist literary work.  Our “Creators of Justice Literary Award” will highlight the best activist writing from around the globe.  Our “International Fellow” program highlights the work of a single art-activist every year, as well as introducing the IHRAF to their audience.  Lastly, through our Direct Action component, we help artists-at-risk, whose activities have put them in harm’s way with their own, often repressive governments.

Taken together, we offer a unique manner of bringing artists’ voice and social change together.  And as we expand our programming, visibility and outreach, we will spread these voices of truth, beauty, sincerity and engagement ever-wider.

A IHRAF Artists Collaborative Effort,

#     IHRAF Publishes is fast growing and is significantly impacting on
the growth of Arts Activism and Abroad, what are the future prospects
on the publishing, literature section of IHRAF.

This is a very exciting aspect of our work — and we have published more than 50 pieces from around the world.  We currently publish work — poetry, essays and short stories — on a weekly basis, as well as inaugurating the Creators of Justice Literary Award, which will offer monetary awards and publishing opportunities to the winners.

We are also working on two anthologies: an online anthology of the best youth writing (under 21), edited and produced by our Youth Fellow, Uma Menon, as well a print anthology of some of the best writing that we have published, from what will then be nearly 100 pieces to choose from.

The literary arts are central to the struggle for human rights, as well as reaching diverse and far-flung audiences.  We are excited about the growth of IHRAF Publishes, and look forward to offering more initiatives under its banner in the future.

#  Summarize the importance of the CREATORS OF JUSTICE LITERARY AWARD

The Creators of Justice Literary Award highlights the best activist literary work from around the world.  We look for work based in our signature values of beauty, sincerity, vulnerability and engagement.  Words spoken from the mouth never get past the ears, but words spoke from the heart, enter the heart.  We provide a voice and transparency for writers who are underrepresented, repressed and sometimes in personal danger due to their unflinching commitment to using their word to support and further Truth.  We are honored by the work we have received, and as the Award submission period remains open until June 1, we hope to receive many more beautiful submissions!

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#INSIDE THE ADVERTORIAL#

IHRAF Publishes

ANNOUNCES

CREATORS OF JUSTICE LITERARY AWARD

THERE IS NO ENTRY FEE FOR PARTICIPATION.

Deadline: June 1, 2020

Please send submissions to: ihrafpublishes@gmail.com with the subject line: “Creators of Justice Literary Award”

The International Human Rights Art Festivalannounces the creation of this new literary award, celebrating poetry, short stories and essays which use the written word to celebrate justice.  

This ideal may be imagined in any manner in which the writer sees fit, however, it must be based in our signature values of beauty, sincerity, vulnerability and engagement.  We do not publish work or engage with artists whose work is based in anger, or stems from an “us v. them” mentality.  We feel strongly that all human conflict is representative of human spiritual immaturity — and no group of people, ethnicity or religion are immune from human spiritual immaturity.  

There are three monetary prizes in each category: Poetry, Short Story and Essay.  Each writer may make one submission in each category (total of 3 submission per writer).  Awards are as follows:

  • First Prize: $150
  • Second Prize: $100
  • Third Prize: $50
  • Honorable Mention: 5 writers will have their work published on IHRAF Publishes

All winners and honorable mention writers will be considered for our IHRAF Publishes Anthology 2019-2020, which will be collected and published in summer 2021.

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#THOMAS BLOCK Iconic IHRAF Producer and Versatile Arts Curator*

No alt text provided for this image
IHRAF Founder and Producer

I am a visual artist and writer based in New York City, in one of America’s most diverse neighborhoods, Jackson Heights. I utilize my creative output – painting, writing plays and books, producing human rights art festivals and teaching courses in applied mysticism — to explore the interaction between the spiritual life of humanity and our sometimes-sad shared reality. My work is hardly religious, but it explores humans’ attempts to make sense of this world and our shared struggle to develop and live by a moral code. At the very best, I hope that my art will have an activist influence, causing viewers to question their own personal roles in making the world a better place to live.I work in series: I begin with a philosophical and activist impulse, proceed through reading on the subject, writing, drawing and then, finally, to creating a body of work in response to the particular issue at hand. I have undertaken a series of projects as part of this ongoing inquiry. I painted three bodies of work based in the highest impulses of the Abrahamic faiths – the Sufi masters of Islam, the Baal Shem Tov of Judaism and Meister Eckhart of Christianity. I followed this with my Human Rights Painting Project, in conjunction with Amnesty International. This series of portraits highlighted human rights advocates from around the world and the vital work of Amnesty International. I have also undertaken a project entitled Shalom/Salaam, based in a virtually unknown tale of mystical intermingling between Jewish and Muslim mystics over nearly a thousand years of human history. I created a series of paintings entitled Response to Machiavelli, which looks at the small-minded, self-serving state of our current political system and uses the philosophy of great social thinkers from the past few millennia to propose another, more caring way. Lastly, I have explored the lie of classical mysticism through my series In the Garden of the Mystical Redoubt.In addition to writing, painting, teaching and producing art festivals, I partner with well-known individuals and non-profit groups working on the same issues; present my ideas at conferences; sponsor interfaith events in conjunction with my exhibits and reach out through the mass media with my ideas, all in the hopes of effecting positive change in the society at large.In past projects, I have worked with such organizations as Amnesty International, American Task Force on Palestine, Greater Washington Forum on Arab Israeli Issues, Habitat for Humanity, National Center for Children and Familes, Tannenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, Girls Gotta Run, Advocates for Survivors of Torture and Trauma and numerous others.I have also enjoyed the support on various projects from honorary co-sponsors including the Dalai Lama; Senators Bernie Sanders, Senator Charles E. Schumer, Senator Paul Wellstone (deceased), Secretary John Kerry, Senator Susan Collins, Senator Chris Van Hollen; Congressman and Civil Rights Hero John Lewis; Congresspersons Dennis Kucinich, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Congressman Jamie Raskin; Chinese Democracy activist Wei JingSheng and many others. 

#MBIZO CHIRASHA  ( Brave Voices Chief Editor and Projects Curator)*

Mbizo Chirasha Brave Voices Chief Editor, Projects Curator

Poet in Residence at the Fictional Café
(International publishing and literary digital space). 2019 Sotambe

Festival Live Literature Hub and Poetry Café Curator. 2019 African
Fellow for the International Human Rights Art Festival( ihraf.org) ,
Essays Contributor to Monk Art and Soul Magazine in United Kingdom
.Arts Features Writer at the International Cultural Weekly .His
Profiles , Interview and Poems are featured on poesis.si ,in Slovenia.
Founder and Chief Editor of WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS. Founder and
Curator of the Brave Voices Poetry Journal. Co-Editor of Street Voices
Poetry triluangal collection( English , African Languages and Germany)
intiated by Andreas Weiland in Germany. Poetry Contributor to
AtunisPoetry.com in Belgium. African Contributor to DemerPress
International Poetry Book Series in Netherlands. African Contributor
to the World Poetry Almanac Poetry Series in Mongolia. His latest 2019
collection of experimental poetry A LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT was
released by Mwanaka Media and Publishing and is both in print, on
Amazon.com and at is featured at African Books Collective. Mbizo
Chirasha is the Originator of the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign.
Founder and Creative Director of Girl Child Talent Festival and
GirlChildCreativity Project. 2003 Young Literary Arts Delegate to the
Goteborg International Book Fair Sweden (SIDA AFRICAN PAVILION) .2009
Poet in Residence of the International Conference of African Culture
and Development (ICACD) in Ghana.The Vice President of Poetsof the
WORLD,poetasdelmundo.com ,African Region. Global Peace Chain
Ambassador. 2009 Fellow to the inaugural UNESCO- Africa Photo- Novel
Publishers and Writers Training in Tanzania. 2015 Artist in Residence
of the Shunguna Mutitima International Film and Arts Festival in
Livingstone, Zambia. A globally certified literary arts influencer,
Writer in Residence and Recipient of the EU-Horn of Africa Defend
Defenders Protection Fund Grant, Recipient of the Pen Deutschland
Exiled Writer Grant. He is an Arts for Peace and Human Rights
Catalyst, the Literary Arts Projects Curator, Poet, Writer, publicist
is published in more 200 spaces in print and online.

#BRAVE  VOICES PRESS # A digital literary arts culture Republic featuring Resistance Poetry and Voices  of Mass Instruction . Speaking hard truth to Abusers of Power . Telling  Transparency to greed and corrupt political leadership. Wielding Pen for the upholding of  human rights. Word Slingers  in trenches  in their struggle for Freedom of Expression and Freedom after Expression. Brave Voices is founded by Literary Arts Activism Diplomatie , International Human Rights Art Festival Fellowship Alumni , Poet in Residence of the Fictional Cafe , Contributing Essayist to Monk , Arts and Soul Magazine , Poetry Arts Activist in Residence at The Poet a Day and BeZine of Arts and Humanities. Founding Editor of the MIOMBOPUBLISHING and Chief Editor of the WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS. Mbizo Chirasha an award winning and Internationally acclaimed Poet from Zimbabwe. For more DETAILS on *SUBMISSIONS* , FREEDOM VOICES CONTEST* and BRAVE VOICES POETRY JOURNAL* on the MENU appearing on the Home Page.

One reply on “Digital Bonfire Conversations with Iconic IHRAFs Thomas Block.”

This is our first exclusive Feature Article between the Mbizo Chirasha Chirasha , IHRAF Fellowship Alumni , Brave Voices Press Editor and the Iconic IHRAF Founder and Arts Festival Curator Thomas Block, Together We Rise . Aluta Continua,

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