This year was one of the most difficult for creatives. As the pandemic struck, art-making routines were interrupted, projects were stalled or canceled, budgets were slashed and writer’s block crept in—in addition to the new stressors we have all experienced as lives are lost daily to the virus. Freelance writers are the lifeblood of our magazine. To support our community during these unprecedented times, Cultured teamed up with Parker Pen this year to launch our first-ever Writers Grant program. Open to all, the program awarded 10 winners a monetary prize and the opportunity to tell a story of importance in the magazine or online. As we quickly approach the end of 2020, we revisit the work of five of those grant awardees and look toward more to come in 2021.
Seriously Cute: Six Artists Harnessing the Power Dichotomy of Cuteness
Through the lens of six artists of color, writer Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy investigates the complex affective power of cuteness. Embracing the aesthetic that historically has been weaponized against them—particularly in the world of animation—these artists elevate cuteness beyond its childhood associations and into the realm of contemporary art.
TK Wonder Interrogates And Illustrates Daily Racial Microaggressions That She Experiences as a Black Woman Making Her Way
“Why aren’t Black people confused for a doctor or a scientist or a lawyer and so forth?” asks Writers Grant winner TK Wonder. In this personal essay, accompanied by her own illustrations, she shares the countless microaggressions she has faced almost daily throughout her life. She explores the root of the phenomenon as well as how to go forward.
Twenty-Nine Days of Black Culture and Joy Worth Remembering: An Accounting of FESTAC 77
In Lagos, Nigeria, Festac ’77 engaged Africans and people of African descent from over 55 nations to participate in political and cultural discourse. Writer Kleaver Cruz reveals how the controversial historic event came to be and why it is important to revisit.
Wild Streamlet of the West!: How COVID Strengthened Digital Bonds In the Film Community
What happened to movies during lockdown and perpetual isolation has led to a modest miracle of community. Opportunities have expanded, people have connected and bonds between film enthusiasts have strengthened. Writer Sasha Frere-Jones reports on how the industry has shifted due to digital streaming.
Lunuganga: A Self Portrait of Geoffrey Bawa’s Life and Work in Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka, writer Lishani Ramanayake explores the world of architect Geoffrey Bawa, the father of Tropical Modernism, through a visit to his estate. Purchased in 1948 as an abandoned rubber estate, Bawa used Lunuganga as his testing grounds, crafting it into the Arcadian landscape that it is today where myriad architectural styles and nature coexist.