Precursor To The Graphic Novel Painted By Nazi Era Jew In Germany To Be Exhibited At London Museum | Alternative Fruit
Charlotte Salomon died in Auschwitz at the age of 26. Before she was captured by the government and taken to the death-camp, she painted a rich and multifaceted story in daily images. Over two years of hiding, Salomon painted 784 individual artworks that incorporate text and imagery which discuss various issues that concerned the young woman at the time. Named Life? Or Theatre? The collection visits themes such as mental health problems running in the family.
Each painting gives us a snapshot of an imaginary scene which represents a stark reality mixed with projected feelings and fears. Over the course of the sequence, we get to know the inner life and workings of Charlotte Salomon as she did her best to survive in extremely dangerous circumstances.
The uncanny likeness to modern graphic novels is demonstrated in the sequential format and the regular narratives which have been taped to the edge of the paintings. The story offers a few words of context that, when read in conjunction to the image, provide a running commentary on the aspects of this unusual and troubled life. The works are currently displayed at the Jewish Museum in London.
Visitors will be able to surround themselves in the world of a Nazi-era Jewish person and feel the oppressive nature of the times. Although the story goes into other events that also take place, this is a way of exploring the reality of life and the fact that these people had stories and backgrounds that didn't relate to the main theme we normally think about. The fact that Charlotte Salomon was living a life filled with its own unique blend of drama, including an older lover, goes to show that there are more dimensions to Nazi-era Jewish life than hiding from the authorities.
So many Jewish people and other victimised groups including the mentally ill, the handicapped, and the travelling cultures were brutally murdered and left nothing behind. These treasures that thankfully were kept safe even though their creator was unable to escape must be able to fill the shoes of all those who do not have their voice preserved. Like all people who exist within bygone generations, the voices of the remembered speak for everyone else.
Via The Conversation
Like many powerful nations, France has a history patchworked with oppression. Wielding international might can be like owning a sword that is too heavy for you. In an effort to swing it for good we end up bashing the innocent and even ourselves. Never-the-less, in modern times powers like France have grown up considerably thanks to the continual growth of the national identity. Perhaps the occupation of Paris and most of North and Central France during WW2 helped to instil the other side of the story.
When French forces invaded Benin in Africa during the 1890s, they were met by an elite troop of female warriors. Known as the Amazons, this tribe of feminist icons have reached global fame. After a long and bloody battle, the military hardware of industrialised France overpowered the Amazon warriors and permitted the army to continue. The army took what they termed “The spoils of war” which is basically looting for private gain and to recuperate the cost of occupation. It's criminal activity. The French remained in power in Benin until 1959.
There are several treasures kept in French museums that were taken without consent from defeated nations around the world. Legislation is in place that protects many artefacts from being returned as each piece is recorded in lists of treasure that belong to the state. It means that one president or one philanthropist alone is powerless to force these items back home. However, after extensive talks with the nation of Benin, it is with great pleasure that the nation of France is able to return around thirty precious items. This move follows in suit from the repatriation of several Nigerian works taken around the same time.
Arguments against the move have included the fact that French resources allow the art to be cared for and kept secure to a much higher degree. This did not resonate with most though, as these ethics do not match those of the general population. It is hoped that French President Macron's willingness to talk and find legally binding solutions to the problem of ransacked treasures will provide the platform needed for other nations to make similar demands.
When the international image of leading nations is at stake, it is imperative that we all take the opportunity to add new and positive chapters to the story about us in other nations. None of us were alive during colonial times and we shouldn't harbour guilt or shame, however the anger resides for many simply because there hasn't been enough closure. The next section of the story has to go along the lines of “They said sorry, did everything they could to put things right, and never treated us badly again”. If the new generation can have their histories garnished with this final clause, perhaps their residual anger will not have a platform to grow on.
Not long ago, Alternative Fruit featured a selection of some of Argentina's best street artists. Something that's not so familiar in the UK is the depth and quality of murals found elsewhere. Once again, a fantastic array of talent exists over the horizon. This time we visit Poland to see how they do it there. Truly awe inspiring images made with such care and attention to detail really make us question the seemingly supernatural ability behind the works. Rather than feel envious or offended we can just appreciate and say thank you for not hiding your talent away. When an impressive image is done properly and with respect to the surroundings it can only increase the cultural value of the area.
This simple motif from Olek speaks volumes. We all do sometimes say what we hear and rather than think about it from all sides, just accept and repeat. What we all have in life is a unique perspective. Flavour your opinions with pictures of your point of view.
This cartoon character popping out of the wall by Mysza has turned a bland and lifeless scene into something that children will talk about. The bright pink background catches the eye as the expressive comic mouse sets a tone of playful atmosphere.
This curious amalgam from Swanski depicts an octopus tentacle or arm wrapping around a thorny rose. The fish and shark at the top facing a floral single eye perhaps symbolises something. Maybe the location of this mural can shed some light on the matter, however it does conjure some strange and weird element which is perhaps otherwise lost in the humdrum of everyday life.
This is a little more unusual in the world of street art. Pener has created several instalations and also works in animation. This piece uses abstract geometry and coloour flow to create an otherworldly perspective on the wall of a plain looking building. What kind of neuron interaction of human thought this work induces is for each passer by to decide. Maybe this constellation of pigment and triganometry will inspire something uniquely ingenious.
This futuristic face from Czarnobyl stares out as us from a sci-fi reality perhaps only a few decades away. Maybe she is a warning or a friendly sentinel when walking at night. Who-ever she is, the face is likely to remain in the imaginations of those who live nearby and see the image day to day.
It's taken over twenty years to achieve the confidence and ability to perfect these beautiful and thought provoking works. Proembrion has been creating pieces since the mid-nineties and it really shows with the efforts of today. With a mixture of natural colours and organic shapes flowing with a much more static and numerical form, the focus of the modern age of augmented reality, of which this blog is a part of, comes into play.
Whoever said that buildings are not designed to be drawn on hasn't met this next artist. An architect, designer, and street artist, Nawer is able to conjure vivid and eye-striking designs that inject a layer of personality into a public space. With simple bold colour and definitive shape designs, this work brightens and ingivourates the landmark.
Is this a reflection of the modern worker? Perhaps a distinctive type of disgruntled or drained occupant of a contract asking too much or maybe simply a new parent and still awake from the day before. Whoever he is, the face surely makes an impact on those who walk by. Does it offer a thought or does it warn against one? Illustrator, architect, and street artist Chazme seems to ask questions with this piece.
People who live and work near this mural are treated to a surreal escapism as the deep black absorbs the focus in which contrasting faces look out at us. The planet shape whisks us away to outerspace while the bird at the top perhaps represents our wings of imagination. Let's take off and fly for a while as we admire this work by Raspazjan.
We travel to Germany now to see work by 1010 who was born in Poland. This vivid mural points at colour and position with bold tones and aesthetic shapes. With a gradated feel merged along a dream-like matrix of subconscious relationships, passers by can be forgiven for gently daydreaming while they do so.
Natalia Rak is a truly capable artist. With vibrant and emotionally stimulating scenes that tell a story in one image the works are a clear gift top any neighbourhood. The fantastic picture shown can enrich a person with a sense of mystical empowerment and connection to something greater than the self. If also remarks the long-established culture that has existed in Europe for millennia.
In Russia it's difficult to disapprove of the government or its various associates. Where speech isn't as free as it is elsewhere and with methods of correction in place that resemble torture, it is brave artists who take the front row seats at the arena of complaint. Where everyday citizens are either too afraid to look or think for themselves, too emotionally invested in the status quo, too guilty as willing participants, only a certain few are able to break out of this box and look from the other side. According to Katrin Nenasheva, Russia is indeed one of those places. This is how she communicates her dissent.
Katrin Nenasheva produces street performance art in which she delivers the truth about what is happening behind closed doors. Where she gets her information from is unclear, however Katrin Nenasheva has been detained herself for various reasons. Her origins are in the media industry, where upon the annexation of part of Ukraine by Russian forces she was forced to write propaganda for the Russian government.
Recently, Nenasheva walked around Moscow for 21 days while chained to a bed. In a plea to stop the cruelty within residential children's homes such as orphanages, the artist including the pricking of her feet with needles to emulate one of the many cruel techniques used to prevent the children from moving around. It's thought that most regular Russians are unaware of this practice and it is hoped that when faced with it in reality, they too will be equally as horrified.
Many dissidents of the Russian authorities are reportedly kept in psychiatric wards where they are re-educated. Where dissent is seen as mental illness it makes it impossible to legitimately complain about government practice. Also, it highlights the willingness of the national public to allow this treatment to continue. Katrin Nenasheva took it upon herself to show this reality by using virtual reality goggles. By walking around the busy streets while observing the inside of the psychiatric ward, she hoped to show that this could happen to anyone, anywhere.
It's not enjoyed by the authorities, especially when their morals and ethics are being questioned. In one protest, Katrina and a fellow artist began washing blood from army uniforms they were wearing in order to protest unjust force. There is a video on YouTube showing the pair being arrested for non-sanctioned protesting. They may be watching us, but we are watching them too – at least some of the time.
Via Republic World
Ilford, as in all of the UK, has endured deep budget cuts in public services over the past ten years. In order to be an attractive place to invest in and work, the UK has seen top-rate taxes lowered in favour of a stripped down public sector. This means it's easier to be wealthy and it's harder to be not-wealthy. The idea perhaps is to encourage people who need the most help to help themselves. For some, this is possible. Commercial enterprise is one of the best ways to help oneself in any society, as we have control over our own business and methods. It is in my opinion that although it's good to encourage enterprise, it cannot be done without a great big safety-net in place. Nearly all fail the first time.
So what has this got to do with art? There was once a library in Ilford's Town Hall. This Grade II listed building has remarkable design features and stands unique among this vibrant town. It was closed down, which was unfortunate for the local librarians and visitors, however the space was opened up for something new. What happened was probably the best thing that could have been done with the opportunity. Instead of another row of offices or a mini-mart, Ilford now has an art gallery with affordable studios for creatives of all types.
Hopefully the rents from the studio space and the sales of any art sold will all contribute towards providing the local public with a free and available space to enjoy culture. HAT Projects took the contract for regeneration and were able to retain all of the unique period design. The building has also been equipped with a new entrance and an art-deco domed roof.
Architect and artist Sahra Hersi grew up in Ilford. It was only natural then to commission her to produce a display for the grand opening. Her illustration, which depicts her childhood memories of the location, stands proudly at the new entranceway to welcome all the new visitors and passers by. Regular commissions will take place which intend to support the local talent in the Redbridge area. Ilford being a cultural capital of this location arguably has a responsibility to maintain a level of cultural relevance for its citizens.
With regular workshops and events to keep a momentum going, and an annual reshape determined by the artists given the paintbrush, the Space Ilford Art Gallery will become a suitable and welcome replacement to the library. Cash for this project was awarded by The Mayor Of London as part of a scheme to invest in the capital called the Good Growth Fund, which has a budget of £70m.
Via Ilford Recorder
Nowhere is more divided than a nation with genocide in its recent history. Rwanda is one of these places, where individualism led people to commit atrocities against people of other creeds. With no respect for difference in culture and opinion and a fear of loss of one's own cultural assertion, violence became part of everyday life. The trauma and suffering caused by acts of violence are universal across all people and when the cause of the abuse lays in culture and race, the hurt and confusion runs even deeper. In the act of treating people of a certain kind with cruelty and suspicion the group of people in question can either become violent too or lose their sense of place in the world.
In Rwanda, the whole nation is coming to terms with what happened in the 1990's. A massive genocide took place which saw the destruction of communities across the nation. Now, in the aftermath of this tragedy, the government is making roads to unify the people through their story. No matter what side of the fight someone found themselves on, the same story of tragedy unifies the two. It's not an issue what religion a person follows or what their heritage is, the issue is intolerance of differing circumstances and views. Those Rwandan survivors who witnessed the atrocities and have grown up in the crater of genocide can move on in positive ways with the terrible truth behind them.
The unification of the populous begins at day one, where the unity was broken. Since peace has been declared and the violence cleaned up, those responsible punished and those caught up rehabilitated and re-sensitised the people can move forward and begin to regrow as a unified community. The shared notion of the wrongdoing which caused suffering for so many unifies the differences and puts the entire picture into a civilised perspective. The government of Rwanda is aware of this necessity and is helping to instigate a new national story that brings people together following on from division.
Across the nation, several Genocide Memorial Centres now stand as permanent reminders of what happens when personal feelings and prejudices are left unchecked. If a government becomes complacent with the hatred and fear surrounding conflicting cultural heritage then it gives the individual people reason to believe they are entitled to think and act in destructive ways. The moral impetus to get along has to come from the top as well as the bottom. Where there is a divide, natural or not, there has to be a shared vision of what is best for all. If we can't produce this, a shared vision of what is wrong for all can also do the job.
It takes a certain type of genius to see a bunch of old parts as pieces of a puzzle ready to be completed. Where there is muck there is brass has never been more true. There is value in things that have finished their original purpose if only we can find a way to repurpose them. Machines tend to not work once they're finished with so their parts can be taken and used for something else. When the part is not worth reusing, do we scrap it or do we give it to an artist as free material? Possibly the modern day alchemy of making gold from lead, we can repurpose old metals and plastics into something of real value. Sometimes, all it takes is a bit of imagination.
John Lopez is a Dakota based sculpture artist who does exactly what we're talking about. He gets hold of various pieces of iron and metal from local farmers and ranch owners and uses them to build all kinds of wonderful creatures. A heavy-metal feel runs through these creations, as well as a smooth and aesthetic likeness to life.
So we are taught to value books. The human thoughts printed on paper communicate what came from one mind into anyone else's. All we have to do is read. It almost feels sacrilegious to damage something like a book. Although its ingredients are cheap, the unique combination of words make it valuable. Rare books can be worth a fortune and are great investments. When something is old and beautiful, made with antiquated design, its aesthetic value increases further. Even if the book itself is out-dated and possibly boring, full of political incorrectness or offensive material, or one of several thousand still in circulation, we treasure these old examples the most. So why sculpt them? Perhaps it's a subtle way of testing the logic behind valuing paper and leather, even if it's unusual and rare. If it's your book, you can do what you want with it, that's certain.
Thanks to The Mind Circle, here's a collection of photographs showing us the cream of the book sculpting world.
Let's make it clear, temperature rising was already taking place. Ever since the last ice-age, the global ice has been melting. Since the industrialisation period, the rate of temperature increase has doubled. This is because the activity of people is changing the composition of the atmosphere. As each city builds factories and plays host to thousands of vehicles, it's as if a volcano is spewing out smoke at each geographical location. Yes, there are natural volcanos and other sources of greenhouse gasses only now there are thousands more artificial sources.
We often see images of fire and flood with the climate-change tag attached however the most apparent and urgent scenario is that of the melting ice. But next to no-one lives there, why does it matter? The ice is fresh water. When it melts and enters the salt water ocean, it displaces a lot of the normal current. The transition of fresh water into salty water takes time and as the rate of melting increases, the salinity or saltiness of the water in the surrounding ocean drops. This affects currents and feeding. All that extra water has to go somewhere too. The global ocean is predicted to rise around an inch every ten years. As the temperature of the planet rises, the water will expand too, causing it to rise even further.
So our coasts and our fish-stocks are both at risk of being destroyed or seriously damaged, our beloved Polar Bears and other arctic creatures are likely to end up like foxes or pigeons of the north, scavenging in a semi-domesticated state. The people who traditionally call the ice their home will stand to lose a key part of the heritage. Trillions of pounds worth of damage will be the financial cost, lives will be changed forever and the amount of land to go around will be reduced. The ice reflects a lot of sunlight, which keeps the temperature down. When this is gone, that mirror won't be on duty and our temperature will continue to rise. It was rising slowly, now it's rising faster than nature can compensate and that's before the ice has gone. It's all thanks to our continual use of dirty technology.
So what has this got to do with art? Surely it's protests and actual changes in behaviour that we really need. People are all different and they respond to different things. Getting in people's way and being a nuisance like the Extinction Rebellion may be the kick up the bum some of us need. Others though will find this too passive aggressive, too haughty for a considered response. Many people don't appreciate being belittled or shamed into doing something to another's standard. Art reaches out where the headstrong break the china. Art is the softly softly approach that a lot of people are also responsive too. It's perhaps the more civilised approach.
London's Horniman Museum is ready and set to display a brilliant exhibition that shows us the changing glaciers of our world. Called “Meltdown: Visualising Climate Change”, art, photography, and film make a point worth seeing. The display is intended to be inviting, showing beautiful images of ice and frost and then to hit home with the brutal truth. These places of exquisite beauty and ecology are on the decline and are likely to vanish before our eyes. Old maps are traced over new ones showing us all exactly how much of this gorgeous and alien landscape we have already lost.
Curated by Project Pressure, this charitable organisation wants to reach out further than before with this striking and moving exhibition. Active since 2008, the Project Pressure team have partnered with institutions such as NASA, WGMS, and the UN. With fingers in all the pies, and a clear and strong message, we can take off our hats to this group of determined individuals with a passion for sustainability and preservation of our climate.
Via The Guardian
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Alternative Fruit and all other Homunculus Media productions are as green as can be. We have green energy from 100% renewable sources, no gas, and no company or personal vehicles. We do our recycling and we even feed the birds. But hang on, we are digital media, surely it's a lot easier to be green if you produce a digital product. You of course are completely right. We did have it easy, in fact we were green before it was cool. It may be a cutesy way of neglecting all the pioneers who came before her but the Greta Thunberg effect is making a positive difference. Let's not look a gift horse in the mouth here, she's pretty cool in our book. And brave, too. How can those businesses who have vehicles and factories, paper-trails and leaflets, get on the green boat? We can't stop climate change but we can stop making it worse, if we could only do what we all can to change what is there to change. I'm sure we will be making CO2 and other greenhouse gasses in decades to come but how many? Can we reduce them? Can we clean up the filthy air that people are being forced to breathe? We need pioneers and path-beaters to get us there.
In Vienna can be found the Friedensreich Hundertwasser Institute. One of the area's top museums, the Institute houses the largest collection of the artist's work in the world. The artist and photographer also had a hand in designing the building itself. His quirky surrealism making itself known in the very core of the architecture, it's probably only natural for this venue to explore how going greener can be achieved. For years now, the museum has annually displayed the works of four invited photographers which uncover various ecological issues. A disparity was found though, in which the gallery explored and preached yet was not doing all it could to go greener itself. This has now changed.
After finding their way through the minefield of protocol and method, it got to a point where the Institute felt they had achieved a suitable standard of environmental responsibility. When they went to apply for a stamp of approval, which is given to businesses when they show themselves worthy, it was found that museums had no guidelines for how to attain one. This entire industry had been forgotten, perhaps because it was assumed they already did their bit. We know now that we can't assume this and so a seal of approval could be something of value.
To solve this problem, the Friedensreich Hundertwasser Institute teamed up with the Austrian Museum Association and the Austrian Environmental Institute to form a draft set of criteria. This has led to other Austrian museums also seeking the official seal of green thinking. For an organisation like a museum the carbon footprint is held up for the majority in what the visitors do as well as visit. Do they eat a meal, do they buy products, do these things cost carbon? When they hand out leaflets are they recycled? Every function of the museum experience had to be “deep greened” in order to fit the strict criteria set by the authorities. And rightly so, it's clearly something of high importance.
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