Making Memories For Those Who Don't Remember – Holocaust Survivor Portraiture In New Display | Alternative Fruit
Facing death on a daily basis during time spent in Nazi concentration camps, being ordered to pile up dead bodies with those who were sick and dying as a slave, is not something we all remember. Those who do remember it have one thing in common, they don't want it to happen again. Unfortunately there have been more attempted genocides since the 1940s and humans still suffer the brunt of racism and intolerance all over the world. Perhaps at its most extreme, intolerance leads to extermination. Do we forget that these are real people, are they just a strange race of abnormality? Whether it's fear or disgust, these normal human emotions can become blindfolds to our own morality.
Mapping the anthropological story of genocide means that the human cost of the history can be remembered. By understanding the narrative, the qualitative information that enriches the raw data, we can ensure that the personal part of the trauma is not forgotten. In California's USC Fisher Museum of Art, a new painting hangs proudly on one of its many walls. This particular image features a remarkably life-like and rich painting of one Joshua Kaufman. At 91 years old, Josh is one of the few remaining survivors of the Nazi Holocaust.
He remembers the death and the final pleas of those who didn't make it. He has led a life of communication and teaching in order to ensure that those who became victims have their stories told and documented. In partnership with Steven Spielberg's USC Shoah Foundation, which dedicates its time to recording testimonies from attempted genocide survivors and now has over 50,000 of them, this brand new painting is part of “Facing Survival”. The exhibition contains sketches, paintings, a film, and thousands of documents available to read.
Aimed at shining a true and natural light on the world of hate-crimes, the show wants to help us all learn about the dark side of human passion and its ultimate cost.
Via LA Times
And it's not just animals, it's just that we all love them. Seriously, this is a super-talent which has sparked many creative ideas. Face-painting is great, we love to look like something else for the day as long as it's in the spirit of the occasion, but what about something less conspicuous? If it's a low-key glam option you're looking for, something that celebrates yet doesn't parade your obliviousness to the perceptions of others, a small ornate hand painting may be just right. Highlighted in the work of Iantha Naicka, this miniature painting specialist uses her own hand as a canvas to portray some truly adorable and life-like images. Now working on translating the idea to even smaller objects such as sea-shells, Iantha's mission to use something other than traditional paper or canvas is ongoing.
Images via: My Modern Met
Explore: The world of body art
Exquisite Four Hundred Year Old Murals Rescued From Graffiti In Indian Palace Restoration | Alternative Fruit
Situated in the picturesque mountains of India's Ladakh region is the beautiful Leh Palace. Built in the seventeenth century, this building made for the Ladakh second dynasty family has multiple floors and construction materials. With local trees such as poplar, willow, and juniper lining sun baked mud bricks the design was made to resemble Buddhist architecture. Completed during the reign of Senge Namgyal (c. 1590 – 1635), this magnificent building is painstakingly being restored by local labourers as well as expert technicians drafted in from around the country.
It seems that during the 1960s, something happened in Indian culture that allowed these remarkable structures to become objects of vandalism. Graffiti artists started appearing and scribing their personal messages on the walls of this historical and culturally relevant treasure. Part of the restoration work includes using strong chemicals to remove the modern chemical inks. Luckily for the original artists, their work was made using natural ingredients and are mostly protected from the ravages of the cleaning process.
Beginning in August, the careful work of the first phase of restoration is expected to be complete mid-September. Working around the clock, this team of regenerators have only one goal. Make this building beautiful, again. Perhaps once the murals are unveiled in their total glory, visitors of Modern India will be less inclined to deface them. Or maybe in this modern era, there will always be one idiot in the people box.
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Via Hindustan Times
War, of course, is a terrible thing. It destroys lives and societies. It reaches in and corrupts the big picture and the individual with equal measure. When conflict is unavoidable, because differing interests compete for precedence, resorting to harming each other is a barbaric and animalistic way for dealing with the situation. Often armed conflict begins with one side striking at the other side's ability to pose a threat. So in order to protect one interest, another's interests are violated with a given moral grounding. It's easy to see how self-protectionism can result in violence even if no one side is looking for a fight. If a perceived threat becomes severe enough then it becomes a protagonist. What does it all mean? It means that posturing and trying to look strong among neighbours in order to appease a national identity has to take second place to actual function. If the posturing and war of words spills over and takes primary place then it naturally results in conflict.
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Perhaps sometimes we can forget what war means. It can be sold to us as a grand gesture to free an oppressed people and to rid the world of some formidable evil. The problem is that this story doesn't wash with those caught up in it first hand. People involved in war go through extreme trauma and hardship. Many people lose their lives, affecting scores of their friends and family. Others are horrifically injured. Most people who are casualties of war are not evil people. A lot of them are simply individuals who made a choice to conscript to an armed force just like our own armed forces did. They put their faith in the command to give them jobs worth fighting for. It's back to the conflict of interest again, nothing to do with wanting to unveil some evil master-plan in their eyes, just protecting the interests of their state.
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So if not many of us are actually evil master-minds, and the majority of us are honest, hard working, and perhaps a little too trusting of our own governments, why do we insist on fighting each other? What drives another to feel that someone on the other side is someone who deserves to die? Anger, prejudice, misinformation, and simple misunderstandings can all lead to polarised opinions. Make someone deeply angry, convince them its someone's fault, and give them a gun then you've got a nasty situation. Perhaps we all need to remember that we make stupid mistakes when we're angry, and we're more likely to believe bad things about a person if we're angry with them. It's a cycle that can be seeded with lies and grow into a web of half-truth which makes the lie seem true.
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Snipping the web, waking people up to the reality of conflict, and putting an end to the glorification of military might is something that many artists try to do. Perhaps one of the more successful ones is Gonçalo Mabunda. Recently represented by This Is Not A White Cube, an Angolan art gallery, the assemblage artist has created several pieces made from the remains of the war in Mozambique. The civil war there was a brutal conflict that saw the loss of many lives, the destruction of many communities, and a lot of hurtful language used to describe many people. It lasted for 16 years.
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When the war was over, the government commissioned artists to turn the litter of the battlefield into works of art. Using the now safe and historically relevant objects allowed their emotional relevance to be communicated in a way that filters the original brutality of the medium. Fragments of war like old mine casings, shrapnel, bullet cartridges, and a whole list of other bits from various vehicles and weapons are given new life. Adapting the material to fit an African art production naturally caused quite a stir. Is it right to encourage people to collect bits of landmine? Of course, common sense tells you to always get your pieces of landmine from an official supplier and not go looking for them.
By applying the use of colour in the various metallic and painted objects, and the mass produced objects such as casings, a mixture of exploration and pattern can be found in the pieces. Traditional African ideas are clearly apparent in the design, yet the medium grants the work a universal fixture which resonates with any modern culture. Let's remember that the only good reason to go to war is to stop a war that's already happening.
Read an interview with Gonçalo Mabunda on Art Africa.
Weavers Of The Clouds : Textile Arts of Peru is an exhibition aimed at highlighting the international influence of Peru's traditional textile arts. By examining the process and history of the style, the exhibition shows how the techniques and methods have found their way into the handbooks of designers all over the world. Combining the textiles themselves with photography, literature, paintings, tools, and guides, the demonstration gives an entire approach to the art-form.
Expect to see items by Meche Correa and Chiara Macchievello, photographs by Sebastian Casteneda Vita, Marta Tucci, and Toni Frissel. Vivienne Westwood and Naeem Khan plus a whole host of other contemporary artists also showcase their interpretations and adaptations of the Peruvian textile ethic.
It sits alongside another exhibition called The Thread: Contemporary Art of Peru. It's been designed and put together by master curator, Claudia Trosso with expert help from Martin Morales. Exhibiting modern artworks that utilised the traditional weaving methods of Peru's ancient culture, the show aims to interpret and understand the symbols and stories that underpin the style. Looking at how modern artists find their passion in the old style creativity, we can understand the direction and emotional background to the expressions and their creators.
Only displayed for three short months at the London Fashion and Textile Museum here in the UK, it's expected to be filled morning to evening each day. Literally the other side of the world comes to see us in Great Britain for this short but rich and diverse time. The exhibition is on from the 21st of June (last week) until the 8th of September 2019. Can you go? Book tickets here.
Radio, someone still loves you....
We mentioned spoken word podcasts in a couple of previous posts, Podcast Picks For People Who Think and A Handful Of Educational Podcasts. This time, we're looking at music. Music unites us, it has universal humanity behind it. The way it makes us feel, the messages in the lyrics, the styles adopted by the artists, it all goes into making society. Now, with the internet, there's never been more choice. Great radio is where you find it, and here are some needles in the haystack that have been signposted just for you.
Deuce Music. Supporting independent musicians and songwriters, Deuce Music have a regular radio show that gets played on dozens of major stations. Their artists usually come from the underground or international circles meaning that we've likely not heard them before. It's a mix of pop and rock that enjoys the most airtime.
Red Light Radio. This stream comes straight from the red light district of Amsterdam. They play many genres, DJs take it in turns to play what they want. You get a lot of beats, dance, and experimental electronic music with Red Light Radio. There's also a healthy world music theme that they have which always sounds great.
Sanctuary Radio. Gothic music, EBM and everything that evolved from the new romantic scene. Here we get a really great mix of new and classic heavy duty electronic music and moody compositions. Put your eyeliner on thick for Sanctuary Radio.
Trance Athena. Trance music beams from Athens. It's a non stop uplifting and melodic party atmosphere with Trance Athena. Fun for those times when you want something great to dance to.
The Dub Lounge. All kinds of dub music, ranging from trip-hop to reggae styles. We get to hear new, old, and little known classics. It's a chilled out zone with The Dub Lounge, sit back and enjoy.
Epic Rock Radio. All the best bits of the heavy metal scene placed on one station. It doesn't do the overly aggressive and swearing that a lot of metal bands are known for. It's quality musicians and quality songs in the heavy metal style.
Rock The Folk. This station plays folk and rock with a popular twist. What they define as folk can sometimes be a bit questionable, but it's all in good fun. I'm sure I heard The Spice Girls on there recently.
Shrunken Planet. This great podcast plays lots of eclectic folk music and strangeness. It's on every Saturday for a few hours. The shows are good enough to be listened to several times, if you like the sort of thing they play. A massive back catalogue means there's enough to keep us busy for ages.
PsyRadio Chillout. This is downbeat dance music that is relaxing to listen to. It's not completely mellow, there are rhythms and emotions in the music but you won't hear any banging tracks on this station. It's something to sit back and listen to, maybe do some work or reading.
Zero Beat Zone. This really is beatless music. Drone tracks and experimental soundscapes fill the airwaves when tuned into Zero Beat Zone.
Strength Through Failure. Another great podcast, this time it's avant-gardism. Experimental and heady music that takes us on inward journeys. It can be a bit much unless you want to be moved.
We hope that moved you into wanting to listen to more radio!
Want to get into radio yourself? Try this introductory online course.
Are comics a form of high art? How do we talk about them, what is the vocabulary we use? Can we comment on the nuance of the strokes and the realism in the eyes, or do we talk about the emotions they conjure with the metaphor of the story-lines? Perhaps comics are more like poetry than painting, definitely separate from standard literature yet not distinguished to the point of pure illustration. The use of image and choice words combined really does bring the comic art phenomenon into a realm of its own. It really is serious business and that's why the exhibition is called This Is Serious. This curation of art spanning from 37 Canadian Comics from all over the vast country shows off how diverse, relevant and artistic comics really are. It's not about the money, although people buy them all the time, they only do that because the work speaks to them in ways nothing else can.
Renowned artists and illustrators such as Chester Brown, Fiona Smyth, and Julie Doucet can be found in among the collection, which appropriately looks at the popular and the underground with an equal spotlight. Like most creative arts people, it's never about becoming wealthy but contributing something of cultural value to an established community. Becoming a figure-head in the circles you love is a great way of giving back to the culture that made you.
It may not be everyone's favourite read, comic books and graphic novels are often treated as separate from literature. Despite its quality and popularity, Nick Drnaso's Sabrina only got as far as the Man Booker Prize Longlist. Okay, that's quite an achievement, however there's a long way to go until the medium is treated with equal vigour to standard writing or standard painting.
This Is Serious is being exhibited at a major Canadian museum. The Art Gallery of Hamilton is world famous for its listings and projects. Placing a curation of national creators of comic book art is hoped to elevate the status of this now traditional and multi-generational art form. Is this just a flash in the pan comic book boom, or a natural evolution into mainstream culture that's long overdue? Comic book fans probably believe the latter. It does take time for something of clear value to make its way into the general consensus unless there's massive marketing and pressure from authorities like school or religion.
Make sure you catch the exhibit if you can, it's open until January 2020.
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We've all likely sat in the cheap seats at one point in our lives, Ghana's second class rail carriages had everything you'd expect. Plastic, hard-backed seats riddled with etchings and scratches. When the carriages finally went to the train wreckers, an opportunity arose for another type of rec. Reclamation of the seats fell into the hands of Ibrahim Mahama, one of Africa's rising arts stars.
The parliament structure of Ghana looks a lot like that of the UK. A three way debating area is represented by three sides of seats. The main rows on the left and right contain more chairs than the shorter front row. This exact layout has been replicated in the train chairs by Ibrahim in Manchester's Whitworth Gallery. He's already known for reclaiming other people's junk and showing how it can be given meaning and purpose. This display in the North of England takes his message even further away from his home.
Included in the exhibit are also a batch of old train worker lockers. These old cases have been used by grubby and hard working mechanics and engineers. The stains, wear and tear, textures, and no doubt aromas of the lockers really symbolise effort and teamwork. These have been set out along the back of the parliament set-up to represent the official chambers and shelving in the original building.
Ibrahim Mahama hopes that the exhibition will encourage people to take part in their own debates. A civilian parliament chamber might not be a bad idea, especially if an official channel was made available for the outcome of such meetings to reach elected individuals. The 120 seats of the display could all be filled in little time for so many debating issues that permeate Manchester and beyond. Maybe every city should have one of these? It's a celebration of democracy, the rule of law, and the power of the human voice. Running something like a nation is something we all probably think we'd like to do at one time or other, maybe discovering how it works in practice can separate the dreamers from the realists.
It's ironic in a way that the seats find their way back to the UK. It was British colonialism which brought the rail-network to Ghana many years ago. The parliament style wasn't the only thing they adopted, it seems. As democratic process saw the end of British colonialism, when new generations could no-longer justify to themselves the means of empire, establishing the Commonwealth ensured that our roots and heritages are respected as well as sovereign independence. Perhaps Hong Kong would like to join?
For all its benefits, the parliament system has its flaws. This exhibit also wants to put these across. Look at the deadlock in British politics, for example, with poverty hitting people hard and a nationalist main agenda. Perhaps if parliament was extended to cities and civilians then pressing issues would reach the surface more often? It takes a particular skill-set to become an elected member of parliament, as well as the financial backing of a party, business, or union. Is it right that the route to power be so narrow and only fit for people of a certain grooming?
Via the BBC
Long term Baltimore resident Oletha DeVane unveils a brand new exhibition of art. Called Traces of the Spirit, the work describes the soul in spiritual and social context in the medium of materials. Like sculpture and assemblage coming together, the alchemy transmutes a feeling and a sense of aliveness into each wonderful piece. Willing to acknowledge the benefits of living in an artistic community and being supported by those around her, Oletha has been incredibly lucky to be recognised as one of the greats.
Known already for her work titled Saint of My City, DeVane looked at how we give different names to God, tell different stories to describe God, and they all point to the same thing. This universal concept of a creative force inspired a depiction of a black Madonna. Traditionally the Virgin Mary was from the Middle East so it's quite possible she really was dark skinned. Baltimore in Maryland is a Catholic majority so the figure was aptly adopted and turned the artist into an icon herself.
More recently, Oletha DeVane has been inspired by a visit to Thailand. This mystical and deeply spiritual place is predominantly Buddhist. She visited a spirit house graveyard, in which people put model houses made for the spirits of the dead. Being the eager tourist and wanting to take one home, she had to remind herself that the people believed the spirits really did live in their houses. For this reason she decided to take the concept home with her instead.
The creations inspired from this idea have been made with all kinds of material. Each one is used to communicate a feeling or idea in itself. Much like how religious iconography carries the story and moral with the piece, in Oletha DeVane's pieces, the magic of the material is revealed. By linking unrelated and different media together, DeVane is able to craft the likeness of a real spirit with many facets and seemingly independently adjusted parts.
You can read an interview with Oletha DeVane on BMA Stories.
Lapidary art, or jewel-smithing, is an ancient skill. Even Old Testament stories talk of powerful gemstones used to decorate the priest's clothes and temple. One of the original earthly precious items, the gemstone speaks to us in terms of beauty, wonder, and mystique. With folklore surrounding each type of stone, and eager collectors and gatherers all over the world, precious and semi-precious stones still turn heads and change hands for large sums. Crystals are enchanting on their own, so when a professional artist uses this quality to create pieces which amplify their power, we can see them presented in inventive and inspiring ways.
Jim Harman is a 30 year veteran lapidary artist. This talent has brought him recently into working on bronze vases. Deciding to use bronze as a medium to show off his stones was perhaps unusual for the day however this metal is also culturally ancient and historically significant. Jim creates small vases with unique sides meaning that if you fancy a change, just turn it around. They're all designed artistically with various looks and qualities.
Jim comes from Long Beach California, and has a BA in fine art. Now living in Oregon, he started off working in jewellery and moved into bronze fairly recently. He took several classes in professional jewellery making from the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco. This helped Jim to establish himself as a skilled maker of custom pieces. The practice and training culminated in this new branch of his work, and possibly the most exciting yet.
You can see more of Jim Harman's work on his website.
Via Fusion Art
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