Your eyes and ears on the world of art and culture. We remind you that 16 years of back issues of eMusings can be found on our archives page.

Although we are not traveling as we once did, and surely will again, the internet allows me to bring you excellence from around the world that you can view from the safety of your home.

From the isolated Estonian islands in the Baltic Sea come these images of the last stronghold of a culture in Europe ruled by women. "Big Heart Strong Hands", published by Dewi Lewis, brings us the story of these women who ruled the islands while their husbands were traveling. Anne Helene Gjelstad photographed the historic dignity of the island's inhabitants without being able to speak their language. Her images are frank, relentless, and undoctored as they reveal lives of hardship and deternination.

Music lovers will want to listen to Mozart's music as it was performed during the composer's lifetime, using instruments that Mozart himself played. The instruments are now owned by the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation, which cooperated with the Boston Early Music Festival to produce this video. A special called "Classical New England's "Mozart Comes to America" offers this rare opportunity.

Robert Peek, based in Rotterdam, brings a sense of mystery and ambiguity to his photographs. Peek specializes in botannical forms that seem to float in clouds or smoke, adding an eerie layer and a painterly quality to his work.

Although Luke Nugent calls these photographs, they are more like choreographed stage sets with luxurious added elements of gems, rope, fur, and fabric. Stunningly graphic, they include the work of make-up artists, hair dressers and individual stylists. The results are dramatic.

Diana Al-Hadid quite takes my breath away with these elaborately realized installations. Born in Syria and living in New York, Al-Hadid uses a wide range of materials like beeswax, foam, concrete, and bronze. Her pieces are huge, compelling, and somewhat frightening, but their impact is hard to deny. Al-Hadid writes "When people continually refer to the content and ask me what it means, it usually takes me a few years to realise what I was chasing in a work, and I rarely say this is what this means or this is what this about.” Don't miss these exciting works.

How I would love to be in Paris right now (for so many reasons) and come upon one of Morag Myerscough's colorful sculptures in the middle of the urban environment. The bright, optimistic sense of this work strikes an emphatic counterpoint to the oft-gloomy headlines across the globe and reminds us that joy has not disappeared from our lives.

In college one of my favorite haunts was the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, where I spent happy hours in front of Maurice Utrillo's jewel-like street scenes. What I did not realize was that his mother, Suzanne Valadon, was a remarkable artist in her own right. Valadon was the first woman painter admitted into the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. Raised in poverty by a mother who was a laundress, Valadon painted for over 40 years, mainly female nudes and portraits.

I love to treat my eye to the glowing beauty of JMW Turner's landscapes, but it is rare indeed to see one in tandem with a preparatory sketch for the finished piece. Tate Britain had such a treasure for years, but it was covered with so much filth and mold, not to mention holes, that they were at a loss to know what to do with it. After extensive cleaning and conservation, it is now on display next the painting that Turner himself called his "darling" and refused to sell.

It is difficult to imagine building a subterranean hotel inside a cave in the Saudi Arabian desert but that is exactly what French architect Jean Nouvel has done. In this fascinating video, Nouvel describes his thinking and creative process in coming up with this project, the influence that the geography and history of the site had on him, and the difficulties encountered in actually building it.

A new report on the overpricing of prescription drugs illuminates the process called Evergreening, which aims to block generic drugs and lock in the hold that big pharma has on prescription medications. Essentially the large pharmaceutical companies have obtained a monopoly on prescription drugs. A new database from the Center for Innovation at the California Hastings College of Law, called the Evergreen Drug Patent Search, covers 2,065 drugs. In this article, some specific drugs are examined: for example, the epipen, whose price has risen from $94. to almost $700; and Truvada, which is priced at $1600. to $2000. per month in the U.S. versus $100. or less per month in countries with a generic form. If you or a loved one has been negatively impacted by the cost of medicines, this study is a must-read.

"Loving: A Photographic History of Men in Love" features a 100-year photographic history, from 1850 to 1950, of men's relationships during a period of illegality. Although many of the subjects are white men, there are also images from cultures like Bulgaria, Japan, Latvia and Australia. The photos come from a collection of 2800 pictures gathered over 20 years by Hugh Nini and Neal Treadwell. You might also want to read about the first military mass wedding of same sex couples in Taiwan. The government there made marriage equality legal 18 months ago.

c. Corinne Whitaker 2020