URUGUAY AND ITS CAPITAL: A South American success story

The small South American nation of Uruguay, tucked away on the continent’s east coast between Brazil and Argentina, may be not as as well known as its bigger neighbours when it comes to the world stage and the everyday person, but the country is being lauded as a success story that has been financially and politically sound beyond many people’s expectations… and is on the rise.

In the past fifteen years, Uruguay has spearheaded economic growth on the continent with an interannual growth rate of 2 per cent under three successive governments of the country’s centre-left Frente Amplio coalition, bringing new wealth and the attentions of the moneyed and savvy to it and its cities.


The biggest beneficiary of Uruguay’s success has been its capital, Montevideo. A microcosm of old Spanish America with its vintage buildings, alongside the recognisable signs of modern city environments, Montevideo has been voted the Latin American city with the highest quality of life, as well as joining the club of the world’s thirty safest cities. On top of that, Uruguay’s capital is also at ninth place in terms of purchasing power per inhabitant in all of Latin America.

Montevideo not only offers great culture, but also great investment opportunities for those who want a part of the success story. Many of its neighbourhoods, including Punta Carretas, Pocitos Nuevo, Parque Rodo, Buceo and Villa Dolores, are highly sought after by both property investors and people searching for a better standard of life. They have attracted a lot of attention from investors owing to their decent selection of amenities, such as nightlife, transport links, and a high rate of urban development. The city is experiencing massive demand especially for new family sized homes as well as properties for singles and couples, as more people from outside Montevideo and Uruguay are drawn to the city’s prospects.

Montevideo, with its population of only 1.5 million inhabitants, is also a magnet for tourists, who flock to see old colonial architecture as well as the beaches of the Atlantic and the Rio de la Plata region. This massive river forms part of Montevideo’s allure, fringed with nature reserves and protected areas displaying the biological diversity of natural Uruguay. The city is experiencing a quiet boom in tourism, as more people discover its charms and magic.

Perhaps it will take a lot less than fifteen years for little Montevideo to become maybe the new Rio de Janeiro of Uruguay, or even the Barcelona of South America.


Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

Alexander Ochoa, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/AlexanderOchoaQ

“De Hispano América Uruguay, de Uruguay Montevideo, de Montevideo Pocitos” – Grandes Medios (30 March 2017) https://www.grandesmedios.com/uruguay-montevideo-pocitos/


“Streets of Montevideo” – Héctor de Pereda, Flickr (26 January 2008) https://www.flickr.com/photos/hdepereda/3093337942



London, a leader among the world’s cities. A population of eight million.

Frantic, busy, popular, cultural, fast, slow. A giant urban sprawl where everything runs at breakneck speed and even life can ill-afford to catch a breath. People go past each other in a flurry of activity, not a glance or a smile. No-one asks about anyone else, their fortunes or their misfortunes. For those with no fortune in life, the loneliness and dismissal is even more profound. Aside from the casual toss of coins or the countless stares and avoided looks, those who take the streets as home feel as invisible and inconsequential as ever.

Out of many voices, one is captured. On a simple piece of nondescript cardboard, an anonymous individual asks for help. Not to buy a sandwich or get twenty pence for a phonecall, but to feel what the luckier ones feel. Eager to sample the delights of one of the city’s upmarket restaurants or for people to wish him a simple ‘happy birthday’, the owner of the mysterious sign pleads for assistance from a known, yet invisible public. To realise an ambition, just a helping hand to make it happen.


Behind the cardboard voices, capturing the less-photographed side of London and making a social stand against poverty, is a new artist and blogger, known only by the pseudonym ‘IMPREINT’. His latest project sees a visual night-time trip to the nooks and crannies beyond where most tourists and Londoners venture and where their eyes pass over. The solitary cardboard sign, with its well-written and urgent message, is part of IMPREINT’s latest photographic project, entitled CUT OFF – an acknowledgement of the invisible, the homeless, the forgotten – and their ambitions and desires. Taken among the city lights under the cover of night amid London’s distinctive red phone boxes and its bright lights, IMPREINT preserves with their camera the wishes of a down-and-out asking to be accepted and noticed by society. We see neither the sign’s creator nor the audience, but the loudness of the sign holder’s dream rings true amid the serenity and harshness of London’s cold grey streets.

CUT OFF is a long-time concern for the artist, who had previously exhibited works under the titles of “The Space” and “The White Frame Collection”, since his career began more than five years ago. Seeing a world where people were just asking and giving, IMPREINT felt something was wrong. He thought that rather than a give-or-take situation which is the norm regarding the homeless, it needed to be more about equality and letting them speak for themselves. The piece of cardboard became a metaphorical message, a symbol of seeking opportunity to change its owner’s condition while doing their best to bring about that change. Work on the CUT OFF project began in January 2015, which saw IMPREINT take to the streets of London with cardboard signs in tow. While more comfortable with paint and found objects, IMPREINT saw no challenge in arming themselves with a smartphone and camera and getting down and personal with London’s pavements to capture the images for CUT OFF.

CUT OFF is a project that works in its simplicity, yet subtly laced with a deep message. In one way, IMPREINT forces us to confront this reality of life without thrusting it into our faces. While popular culture and urban living has forever linked the homeless person with the cardboard sign, IMPREINT’s work challenges us to sit up and take notice of these often ignored signs, set amid the empty domains of those without roofs. By making the homeless the focus of CUT OFF, IMPREINT has reached out to society in its own terms, making art that opens people’s eyes to the harsh world of street living. IMPREINT has done well in a theme where many artists fear to tread, that of making art reflect on the more negative attributes of society. Not simply to show it on a white wall and say ‘ this is it!’ but to stir in the viewer a need to change their outlook, and perhaps, do something about it.

Cut off IMPREINT (3)


The artist began their work in the UAE in December 2009, with a wish to make art not just something to be sold at auction or admired by gallery visitors, but to make a social impact, benefitting society and not just depicting it. IMPREINT themselves transcends the default role of artist as name and brand, seeing themselves as not just a person, but a concept stretching far beyond the individual. IMPREINT has exhibited at impromptu art galleries and spaces of creativity all over London, as well as self-created international shows in places such as India, Spain and Hungary.


Official site: http://www.impreint.com/

Blog: https://impreintofficial.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IMPREINTofficial/


Many thanks to Napsugar Budai for setting up the collaboration and supplying images for this article.


IMPREINT http://www.impreint.com/
“EXHIBITIONS” – IMPREINT http://www.impreint.com/#!exhibitions/c236g
“Reviews” – IMPREINT, IMPREINTofficial https://impreintofficial.wordpress.com/reviews/
“PROJECTS” – IMPREINT http://www.impreint.com/#!projects/c20iw
“IMPREINT – CUT OFF” – Napsugar Budai (5 January 2015) https://napsugarzas.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/impreint-cut-off/
Photos by IMPREINT and supplied by Napsugar Budai.


STREET-AND-SKY SCENERY: Photo ‘exhibition’ by Anjali – an HEM special

Vijay Shah (editor)

with Anjali Shah (photographer)

A few months ago, my youngest sister Anjali received an iPhone as a gift. One of the things iPhones are renowned for is their impressive photographic capabilities, considering the phone’s camera is far smaller and more pressed for space compared to the usage specificity and technological prowess of specially made cameras from the likes of Canon, Nikon, Minolta etc.

The iPhone, one of the most successful exports of the House of Apple, Inc. boasts a 8 megapixel camera and has become a weapon of choice for ‘pocket photographers’ who don’t want to be burdened by expensive and clunky camera equipment, and its numerous and easy settings have also made it hot property for the casual amateur or semi-professional shutterbug.

I’m not much of an iPhone fan myself. In fact I’ve got a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini which takes some pretty impressive snaps itself, but my sister is very much on the side of the techies in Cupertino. She was thrilled to bits to finally get her mobile after a lot of searching and loitering on online auctions. One of the most pleasing things I see as her older sibling about Anjali having this iPhone is that it has really opened up her passion and flair for photography. It is nice to see her asserting her talent and surprising me with her creativity. A chip off the old HEM block, no doubt.

(c) somegif.com

Lately, Anjali has used her phone’s filter and effects settings to produce a handful of shots of scenery while out and about in Seven Kings, a suburban area to the east of London. Influenced by the natural play of light and colour, these shots are simple, but captivating homages to the beauty of the sky at its most vivid. Taken over a period of around two months at different times of the day, Anjali’s ‘street and sky’ pictures capture a series of atmospheric moods and environments. Anju has kindly allowed me to reproduce some finetuned versions of her outdoors imagery, which save for a bit of standard auto-fixing using the imaging website piZap, are exactly as she envisioned and created them.

The ‘Street and Sky Scenery’ gallery contains seven photos. The album can be seen in greater detail on the HEM Flickr page.

Anjali Shah via Vijay Shah, The Half-Eaten Mind, Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/110818734@N02/
“Blue camera girl nail polish nikon gif” – Somegif via Google Images.



SULLEE J: Rebel Nation – a message against terrorism

Since its formation in the aftermath of the Syrian civil war, the militant group ISIS, which labels itself as Islamic State, has unleashed a mindless and bloodthirsty war against the people of Iraq and Syria. Its horrific beheadings, mass killings and other vile crimes have reviled the world, and rightly so. As ISIS continue their barbaric rampage across the Middle East, Muslims across the world are bearing the brunt of the backlash, even though many have condemned and spoken out against the terrorists in the strongest possible terms. Many have signed up to the Twitter campaign “#NotInMyName” to show that they do not identify with ISIS’ blatant disrespect and insult to their religion. Others have joined anti-ISIS protests or sent aid to civilians caught up in the conflict in Iraq and Syria.

Rebel Nation Flyer - Sullee J

An American Muslim, the rapper Sullee J has added his own voice to the global Islamic community’s uprising against the twisted ideologies of groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda. Based in Baltimore, Maryland, the revolutionary warrior poet and philanthropist is one of a new breed of Muslim rappers using their message to counteract not only the terrorist groups who claim to speak for Muslims but also to fight against the Islamophobia which has become widespread in many Western countries as a result of those same terrorists. Sullee J has collaborated with numerous stars from the broader Baltimore hip-hop scene, including Royce Da 5’9, Crooked I, Canibus, Cashis, Cyssero and K-Rino. He has also been the talk of hip-hop magazines and fan sites and also made a hefty impact in the mainstream media too, featuring on the CBS and Fox television networks. Sullee J is far from just another rapper with a big medallion and bigger swagger dropping tracks to fill his bank account. He has a more spiritual purpose – being a light of the hip-hop genre, using his music to illuminate the masses with positive and uplifting tunes. Just as importantly, Sullee J takes hip-hop back to what it is used to be about – messages on and against the injustices of the world, life and society.

His latest track to get dropped via his label Venom Musik is exactly that kind of hip-hop with a profound message. Rebel Nation is a response to those groups that claim to represent Muslims but are anything but. It is a track is very much influenced by the whole ISIS situation, and a fitting reply to those who say that the voice of the international Muslim community is not loud enough against terrorism. Fast-paced and powerful, Sullee J disregards both Islamist terrorists and biased Islamophobes in one fell swoop, exposing their misguidance and lack of knowledge. Featuring Arabic verses from the holy book of Islam, the Qur’an, alongside the forceful street lyrics characteristic of alternative hip-hop, Sullee J remains proud of his faith, yet exposes the malevolent doctrines of groups like ISIS, and the false propaganda from certain quarters that is degrading and disrespecting the worldwide Muslim community.

“Dear ISIS, you are not my religion

Dear Al-Qaeda, you are not my religion

Dear Sudden Jihad Syndrome, you are not my religion

Dear Terrorism, you are not my religion”

– Sullee J

Official website – http://www.officialsulleej.com/

Youtube – http://youtu.be/ZSdia1cGixA

Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/baltimore-ullee-j/sullee-j-rebel-nation-prod-tha

Hulkshare – https://www.hulkshare.com/8fnvng54k1s0

Sullee J Management.
Sullee J official website http://www.officialsulleej.com/
“Rebel Nation LYRICS Sullee J” – Rap Genius/Genius Media Group Inc. http://rap.genius.com/Sullee-j-rebel-nation-lyrics
Sullee J Management.

PHOTO MOMENT: Old Skool Raver

(c) original designer via Riki Blac

A Photoshop designed poster for a ‘old school’ music event being held in south-east London. The capital city of the United Kingdom is home to a varied and exciting musical scene encompassing many niches, tastes and cultures. Nightclub events such as ‘Old Skool Raver‘ are particularly popular among the city’s younger music lovers, drawn by the banging beats, relatively cheap alcohol and experiences of fun. These events are highly publicised via brightly coloured flyers and posters which have become works of art in their own right, even though mainstream designers and the modern art world may generally regard such ephemera generally as promotional tat. Some music posters for famous bands and events such as Live Aid (1985), the Woodstock festival and early illegal warehouse raves in the late Eighties are now prized collectors’ items fetching sometimes hundreds of pounds on auction sites.

Different ‘club nights’, as they are usually known as in the industry, will often have performances and artistes from particular musical genres. The most popular in terms of ticket sales are pop, garage, R&B, reggae, dancehall, bashment and house music. Many ravers nostalgic for their younger partying days will find that London in particular caters well with its many ‘old school’ nights showcasing memorable hits from the 80s, 90s and 2000s.

The poster above features the obligatory line-up of acts scheduled for the night, and graphics reminiscent of what truly defined an early 1990’s raver. Also shown is the singer Stush, the ‘First Lady of British Dancehall’, who has been active in the local underground music scene since 2002. Her music has been featured in the tough inner city life film Adulthood.

“All Hail Stush: First Lady of British Dancehall” – Bashment Vibes (9 August 2013) http://www.bashmentvibes.com/2013/08/09/all-hail-stush-first-lady-of-british-dancehall/
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter https://twitter.com/VShah1984
land of da legends, Twitter https://twitter.com/landofdalegends
Riki Blac, Twitter https://twitter.com/BushBash