Stories: Arts and Culture

  • In Pakistan, women are driving the demand for Islamic content in relatable, meme-sized bites

    In bookshops across Pakistan, there is no shortage of religious literature – translations and interpretations of the Quran, books of Hadiths (oral traditions of Prophet Mohammed) and stories of the prophets abound. Book stores stock long, elaborate texts, replete with quotes from scripture and anecdotes from the earliest days of Islam. But over the past few years, a couple of...

  • Embrace The Morning Milkshake

    I first tried alouda—Mauritius’ answer to the milkshake—at the Central Market in Port Louis. I caught a whiff of curry coming from the food court and followed my nose. It was before nine on a weekday morning and the place was packed with people lapping down glasses of the stuff. Glossy black beads floated to...

  • Rio street band drums up support for Carnival without harassment

    She didn't have a musical bone in her body, but that didn't stop Renata Rodrigues from starting a samba street band in Rio de Janeiro two years ago. When the 40-year old saw a viral Facebook post showing a man with a sign reading, "I don't deserve women who get around," she ironized the message by founding...

  • Sierra Leone’s Politically Minded Pop Star Captures His Country’s Ear

    When singer Emmerson Bockarie swaggered on stage on a recent evening here, the crowd in front of him seemed to twinkle – hundreds of tiny flames flickering on and off in the balmy darkness. This crowd wasn’t waving lighters or glowing blue cellphones, though, but matches, which flamed and fizzled in rapid bursts so that the venue appeared...

  • Hidden Treasures of a Remote Record Shop

    Batbold Bavuu began collecting records by accident 10 years ago, rescuing them from rubbish bins at the music college where he was a student. Those discs formed the basis of his collection and the inspiration for his new shop, Dund Gol Records. The business started off in the corner of a children's library, tucked away in a tiny area with...

  • Niger Is the Most Amazing Country I Never Expected to Visit

    Chances are you'll never get to go to Niger. I never thought I'd get to go there either. Boaters on the Niger River in Niamey, the country's capital. It's landlocked and mostly desert. The only non-African cities that offer direct flights are Paris and Istanbul. The desert northeast used to get tourists who wanted to...

  • Nepal Connections: Asan Bazaar a Testament to Earthquake’s Upheaval, Nepali Culture

    The choice of left or right makes a world of difference when walking away from the Tibet Guest House in the capital city's famous Thamel district. Turn left, and a spider web of roads wends through a trekker's outdoor mall. Tiny shops spill North Face travel bags and down jackets, Nikon camera lenses and brass Buddha statues, Ghurka...

  • Meet China’s Salman Rushdie

    On a warm late afternoon in June, I sat with Perhat Tursun as he slowly exhaled a puff of smoke from a blue cigarette with shiny gold trim. Arrayed on the pale lace tablecloth before us was an assortment of nuts, sunflower seeds, and wine. The furniture was a muted neo-Victorian, but on the wall behind Perhat hung...

  • Indonesia’s Hidden Beauty

      A wise woman once told me to contribute to society and have an interesting life. She also used to say things like, ‘go outside and play,’ and ‘go to bed.’ I’d say all of those words are sage advice from my mother. I'm photojournalist Carey Wagner, and this week I’m...

  • If You Have a Meeting in Ethiopia, You’d Better Double Check the Time

    Things always get lost in translation. Sometimes, words or phrases just cannot be converted word-for-word from one language to the next. But in most places, the date and the time works pretty much the same all over the world. Not in Ethiopia. There, it’s currently the end of the fifth month of 2007. It isn’t so...