It’s been a gloomy January week, but I have a feeling that the Boston arts scene can brighten it up. This weekend is chock full of screenings, performances and fresh exhibitions. Head to the MFA for an exhibition highlighting life on the ground in Ukraine and the Boston Festival of Films from Iran. At the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola has curated a special evening of poetry readings. Check out details for those events and more below.
Thursday, Jan. 26
Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola has curated an evening of poetry for a special series at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The series “Canon, Canyon, Cannon” explores literary tradition and seeks to eradicate old conventions. Throughout the night, you’ll hear work from Michelle Garcia Fresco, Charlotte Abotsi, Emmanuel Oppong Yeboah, Paul Tran and Olayiwola. This series is a two-part event, so if you can’t make it this weekend, look out for their next reading in April.
'Who Holds Up the Sky?' at the MFA
Through Sunday, May, 21
The Wartime Art Archive at the Museum of Contemporary Art NGO in Kyiv and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, have collaborated on a new exhibition highlighting the war in Ukraine. The photographs on display are from artists on the ground documenting Russia’s crimes and the lives of Ukrainian civilians. War correspondent Efrem Lukatsky films missiles striking grain fields and Kostiantyn Polishchuk’s "The Night Watch" portrays his fellow soldiers on the front lines. The exhibition also highlights "Behind Blue Eyes," a project started by Dima Zubkov and Artem Skorohodko, who distribute food and supplies to residents in liberated Ukrainian villages. The pair conducted interviews with children and teens in the Chernihiv region and provided them with cameras to document their daily experiences, which will be on display.
Film screening of 'The Inspection'
Friday, Jan. 27
Elegance Bratton is the inaugural honoree of the Coolidge Breakthrough Artist Award, an honor created to spotlight the next generation of filmmaking talent. On Friday, you can watch his new film “The Inspection,” which follows a young gay Black man who decides to join the Marines, starring Jeremy Pope and Gabrielle Union. Stick around after the showing for a Q&A with Bratton and Boston Globe columnist Renée Graham.
Sunday, Jan. 29
France’s Ancien Règime lasted from the Middle Ages until the French Revolution in 1789. It’s a period we hear about often because of its hereditary monarchy, but this weekend, Tufts will present the artistic side of this time period. Ballroom and theater dances have been reconstructed from Beauchamps-Feuillet dance notation, as well as original choreography in period style for this event. You’ll also hear chamber music from Jean-Marie Leclair, J.B de Boismortier and more. The event will be available to watch in person and livestreamed.
Thursday, Jan. 26-Saturday, Jan. 28
Iran has been in the news recently due to months-long protests throughout the nation, which began with the death of Masha Amini, who died after being arrested by the morality police. This weekend, there’s an opportunity to learn more about Iranian culture and history at the Boston Festival of Films from Iran. This year, the popular new film "Holy Spider," about a string of misogynistic murders, will be showing. The film festival will also screen “This is Not Me,” a documentary that follows two trans men as they try to get gender-affirming surgery in Iran. A different film will be highlighted each day of the festival, and each will be shown in Farsi with English subtitles. [See the rest of our winter film festival recommendations here.]