Pieces of stone, carved by ancient hands, depict revered figures from Jain, Hindu, and Buddhist folklore. These global religions are fundamental to life in India, the source of many beliefs. Ancient art from this Eastern philosophy is more than just a masterpiece to those who have been brought up drinking from the local fountain of wisdom. These are heroes and gods. You cannot put a price on these images, as close to the divine as humans can reach, by creating our imaginary images we reach for eternity.
Prime Minister of India Narenda Modi recently visited the United States on a good will and multi-national co-operation agenda. To celebrate the growing relationship between the two nations, President Biden's administration sourced and repatriated 157 items of antiquity originating from India. Over the years, many precious items have been sold, looted, and found by eager travellers and greedy colonists. What ever the reason they're not at home, the priceless and culturally intrinsic items have been calling out for their people.
The majority of the collection removed is from the 11th to 14th Centuries, making a lot of the items extremely fragile and in need of constant attention. Not everything is this old, however, the collection also contains an 18th Century sheathed sword that is inscribed in Persian. You'll find 56 terracotta figurines, each one representing a person or divine figure, and a huge 1.5m long sandstone relief stone that dates to the 10th Century. Perhaps the most impressive item of all is an anthropomorphic copper structure from 2000 BC.
The world-faiths of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism are represented in this trove, with relics and artisan pieces clearly showing well-known people and ideas. The objects have each been sourced with an intent to hand them back. The majority have been seized by customs officials and the rest were kept in national museums and collections. It's good news for the global community to know that important and valuable objects are gradually finding their way home.
You can find out more about this news story in The Indian Express
Saudi Arabia Unveils A Huge Step Forward In Cultural Relevance For The Modern Age | Alternative Fruit
Saudi Arabia is undergoing vast changes as the world engages with the 21st Century. A cultural injection of new and exciting experiences is being applied across the land. What's been billed as the Saudi Vision 2030, the nation will see a huge investment in the arts and in local heritage in order to make the Kingdom stand out in the world. Many historical sites have been regenerated and opened to the public over recent years, boosting tourism and helping people write their own life stories enriched with the traditions and mythology of this ancient land.
The First Minister for Culture Prince Badr Bin Abdullah Bin Farhan was pleased to head the project, which began back in 2018. Now, after four years, a long list of upcoming efforts has been released. A 16 sector wide arts renewal is going to completely super-charge the Saudi cultural personality. These sixteen divisions are intended to reach out to all corners of the arts world by acknowledging the relevance and power of various forms of human expression. Namely, heritage, museums, cultural and archaeological landscapes, theatre and performing arts, cultural festivals and events, books and publication, architecture and design, natural heritage, films, fashion, language and translation, culinary arts, literature, libraries, visual arts, and music, each body will receive focussed attention and offered avenues for growth.
With absolute precision and a clear respect for the legitimacy of each sector within the arts community, these 16 areas of work have been linked to a long-list of authorities who are charged with protecting and sustaining their industries. The formal associations among these arts zones are as follows: King Salman International Complex for Arabic Language, Nomow Cultural Fund, Red Sea International Film Festival, Cultural Scholarship Program, Ad-Diriyah Biennale, National Theater Group, National Music Band, One Stop Shop for Licensing and Permitting, Houses of Culture, Art Academies, Books for All Initiative, Culture Awards, Arts and Literature Magazines, Specialized Museums, National Film Archive, Arts and Literature Sabbaticals, “Tarjim” Program for Translation, Cultural Festivals, Children’s Culture Program, Documentation of Oral Traditions and Intangible Heritage, Annual Contemporary Arts Exhibition, Public Libraries Development, Fashion Weeks, National Culinary Festival, Art in Public Places, Artist Residency Spaces, and Saudi Cultural City, in addition to supporting the National Janadriyah Cultural and Heritage Festival.
Now that the modernity of Saudi culture has been boosted and fortified with top-down guardianship, a selection of ambitious initiatives are being commissioned. So far 11 major investment initiatives have been earmarked for a wide reaching scope of expression. Saudi governing bodies have been made responsible for the flourishing of their sectors and are expected to ensure a thriving environment.
So much is being done to oversee a massive increase in Saudi culture and art. By making these cultural sectors part of the national landscape in an established and protected way, it will no-doubt empower many artists and educators to find their home in this vibrant line of work. Having a protective hand around essential cultural enterprise is clearly a good thing that many nations can learn from, but is there a cost to the artist? Will they be expected to talk about particular things, and will they be prevented from talking about particular things? What good is art if the artist isn't safe to say what they really think? Let's hope a liberal aspect can manifest even when the authorities are making it happen.
You can read more about the plans for the Saudi Cultural uplift in the Saudi Gazette.
Explore The World Through The Music Of Women Composers With This Interactive Map | Alternative Fruit
Interactive maps are really fun. They let you click and tap on various locations and then provide relevant information. Probably the most famous is Google Maps with local businesses and geography made available for all. Culture is much deeper than shop names and postcodes. It's life stories, intentions, bodies of work, interpretation, and a long chain of continual influence of idea.
Female composers are enjoying an equal life in modern times, music fans don't have a problem with gender. It's about how it sounds, of course. However, in the past, male composers wanted a monopoly on their trade. Perhaps fearful of women's ability to discern emotions at a typically more refined level, many names and sounds have been swept under the carpet. This is where modern technology can help.
An expert in the field of composers, history, and women's prerogative, music teacher Sakira Ventura has produced a map with over 500 female music writers from modern times and days gone by. Now out in the open, we can get to know these belles for who they really are. It must be a huge relief for women all over the world who feel unjustly unrepresented in music. Female creativity is just as potent as work made by men and women are equally as capable of understanding theory. Women's thoughts and feelings are equally as valid and the quality of their work has the same incredible potential.
Even now, in modern classical music education, the number of female composers on offer are limited. It seems like men outnumber them by several degrees. This online map of female composers makes it easier than ever to discover new sounds and subject matter to learn from. It's a common sight to see women in orchestras and popular music however there is a definite blank chapter in the world of classical music which lacks recordings and popular literature that involves these unfairly missed contributors to culture.
Visit the map now
Via Classic FM
Huntsville residents will be aware of the Harrison Brother's Hardware building on Courthouse Square. This hub of arts, crafts, and community with an intriguing name is hosting the latest showing of genuine folk-art from the Alabama area. The collection made up of work mostly from black artists is drawing in the crowds who want to get a glimpse of their own soul.
The old hardware store that was built in the 19th Century is the ideal location to host this extraordinary amalgamation of thoroughbred home-grown art. Drawing on local symbolism and stories, plus bringing in a host of new experiences from recent times, the 21st Century exhibition demonstrates how the locale has evolved and grown as a society.
Because of recent events, a lot of the work on offer shows relevance to Covid-19. One poignant image comes from Tracie Noles-Ross from Birmingham (AL) which shows a woman wearing an untied mask while being perched on by a bird. Freedom and restriction and feelings we've all had to chew over in recent months.
The submissions came from all walks of Alabama life, and artists came from every room. There were college artists with degrees, engineers who work with materials, people who just do art, and people who have never even taken a class. This multi-dimensional approach gave the curators exactly what they were looking for with a broad scope of intention and creation being displayed in one setting. A snap-shot of the local area in one room, all the voices of Alabama are speaking through pictures.
Visit Harrison Brother's Hardware online
Story source: Al.com
You can visit Sonya Clemons on Instagram
Fat Red Bird And The National Gallery To Bring The Next Chapter In (Hi)Story Of A Painting VR Exhibit | Alternative Fruit
Last spring, Fat Red Bird Productions created a virtual reality display called (Hi)Story Of A Painting. An immersive and interactive multi-media experience allowed visitors to experience the world of A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat. Made with a pointillist style, tiny strokes of colour are given the opportunity to merge into vivid imagery thanks to the ability of the human eye. Showcased at the SXSW, the first chapter of the film series was a big success.
Now, as reported in Variety, the same production company are in talks with The National Gallery in London over the installation of their next film. Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria by Artemisia Gentileschi is about to be revealed like never before. Again, a 12 minute experience will allow visitors to learn about and become part of the painting and its history. The designers want to elevate the artist into the same iconic field as Seurat and believe that, because of her gender and place in time, the opportunity for major recognition was unfairly missed.
The Fat Red Bird team are looking at expanding their (Hi)Story Of A Painting franchise further. By acknowledging their cultural power as their technology offers cutting edge experiences, the company want to enrich the world of art as much as they can. By presenting their VR with expertly created graphics and progressions alongside professionally recorded entertainment style voice-over with concise and dense detail to match, education and entertainment can be simultaneous. That's what we do here at Alternative Fruit, too.
It's not just paintings and their painters that Fat Red Bird want to explore. By delving into the works and lives of a range of artists, they hope to enable to backstory and work of some truly fascinating yet never-the-less undermentioned names. It's hoped that once the National Gallery are confirmed and the show is underway, other galleries will accept the crew for equally as inspiring visits in other locations.
What artists do you feel could do with a lift from media producers? There have been plenty in the past and there are a lot today, many of them needlessly to say have been somewhat over-looked. Can you recommend any in the comments?
When you're a famous artist like Andy Warhol, you are usually lucky enough to be introduced to some huge cultural icons. When invited to events and parties, you're not the only one with a famous face to get the nod. The chances are that everyone there is some kind of big-player in their given field. As much a networking event as a social gathering, it's always worth your while making connections and friends.
A lot of people recognise Andy Warhol from his paintings. He helped to bring Pop-Art into the mainstream and ensured that artists in the future would have a reputation for excess even if they don't. Some of the lesser known works by Warhol are his photographs. He took every opportunity to take pictures of the people he met on his agendas and travels. Mainly in the form of Polaroid, a mixture of formats were made. Collectors have eagerly purchased the items over the years and many have never been seen by the public.
Now, in L.A., a show called Andy Warhol: Photo Factory is set to exhibit. Curated by Fotografiska, Hedges Projects, and Jack Shainman Gallery, the show has collected a whole range of images taken by Warhol as famous faces joined him at work. The collection ranges across the artist's career and identifies key aspects in his development and cultural relevance.
Visitors can expect to see images of many heroes including the fabulous Grace Jones, Dolly Parton, and Debbie Harry. He also captured images of other artists such as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. It's not just people that enchanted his eye, Warhol took images of many things. Some of them we might wonder why, however when considering his artworks, we can see suggestion, shape, and flow that only a true creative would notice first time around.
Andy Warhol: Photo Factory is now open at NeueHouse Hollywood until the end of July. The exhibition is then to display at New York’s Fotografiska during the Autumn 2021, then Stockholm in 2022, and Tallinn, Estonia, in 2023.
Read an interview with Hedges Projects founder James R. Hedges, IV about the exhibition in Dazed.
One of the world's major problems of the day is what to do with all the waste plastic. Throwing it into landfill is the old solution. We know that landfill sites are highly toxic to the environment, even years after they've been recovered. Down to earth methods take care of the environment and now we do our best to recycle things. Plastic only has so many uses, and once it's been formed and used, the number of things it can be used for is decreased further. Unlike glass, which can be smashed and ground into dust, plastic retains its shape. It has to be literally cut apart with blades and teeth in order to break it into small bits. These bits still retain their original shape, so the bits are made as small as possible. Flakes and tiny balls are common substances these days. Some types of plastic can be reshaped once warmed up, the material can melt and be bent or stuck together. Other types do not do this.
According to The Guardian, Lego intend to release new blocks made of recycled plastic within two years. The toy company have designed a new beige coloured block that's made from plastic recovered from plastic bottles. It's a simple 4 x 2 oblong that we've likely all played with. The block itself also contains additives to make it the same strength as regular pieces. Traditional Lego is made from plastic that likes to grab the surface when placed together. This is how the blocks stick so well but can still be easily pulled apart.
Getting this new recycled material to behave like normal Lego bricks has taken three-years of research. Many combinations of materials were used and tested to find the perfect match. A team of 150 scientists and engineers have been employed to continually find more sustainable and down to earth forms of their popular and useful product. There's no substitute for Lego when it comes to learning how to use your imagination and follow instructions, however the plastic they are made from needn't be a drain on the planet's resources.
It was in 2018 when the Danish brand moved into using recovered oil to make their bricks, putting a cork in the well once and for all. However, the amount of waste plastic in the environment is alarming so it was in everyone's best interests to go ahead and find out how to use it. Let's hope many more industries discover ways to fully utilise this abundant and durable material. If it can be turned into bricks for toy houses, how far is that from the real thing?
Locked up with no-where to go? Our daily walking has been a much needed respite during the pandemic. So we can't spend money at fancy places? There's so much more on offer. If you're lucky enough to live near a forest, a world of expression and adventure can be uncovered. A little bit of excitement and a dash of imagination can make any natural environment a magical place. Perhaps we look to the artists of the world to help make this a reality.
Hamburg's Jörg Gläscher is a keen photographer and artist. Combining his talents with hand-made natural sculpture and assemblage, Jörg Gläscher presents a series of images inspired by waves. As long as his creations are left alone, visitors will no-doubt find them and maybe take their own pictures. During the pandemic, the artist created a photo-journal titled C19,1-20. These woodland waves are a popular element of this wider work.
Called The Second Wave, after the dramatic return of infection rates since the initial closing of business, these stick assemblages are laid out in flowing lines that build and curve like waves on the ocean. Across the woodland glades of Hamburg, during the winter of 20/21, Jörg created nine waves made of dead-wood. These monuments of timber are intended to express to massive power of nature.
Catch up with Jörg Gläscher on Instagram
Read an interview with Jörg Gläscher on Demilked.
40 Years Of Memphis Milano Design Celebrated All Year Long With An Elegant Exhibition | Alternative Fruit
If you know them, chances are it's a love-love relationship. Famous the world over, the Memphis Milano brand of design has divided opinion and set the scene for forty years. Their trademark style that stands out can be found everywhere, and their definitive ethos has been mirrored by many up-and-coming and established designers.
Memphis: 40 Years of Kitsch and Elegance has hit the Vitra Design Museum Gallery in Germany. It's here to stay, at least until January 23rd 22 anyway. As reported in Design Boom, visitors will become enthralled and submerged in the playful and conservatively exotic vibrancy of the show. All the things you'd expect like lamps, tables, and chairs will be there. Also, you'll find inside knowledge like sketches, photographs, and drawings. The entire spirit of the design house will be laid bare when you walk into the room.
Works exhibited in the 40 Years of Kitsch and Elegance include those by artists such as Ettore Sottsass, Michele de Lucchi, Martine Bedin, Michael Graves, Barbara Radice, Peter Shire, Nathalie du Pasquier, and Shiro Kuramata. What began in 1980/81 was a monumental shift away from the design ethic of the day. A group of young and intellectual visionaries decided to define the future. A love of functionality and conformity was shown the door and in came fresh ideas and new applications.
Ideally, the design concepts wanted to reinvent the idea of taste and function at the same time as making a home or space look and feel great. A side-step away from stuffy upright and flat, angular colours and novel traditions refresh the mind and its space. The design group had to work hard and were met with an uphill slope. Everything changed for them in 1982 when high-brow public figure and fashionisto Karl Lagerfeld chose Memphis Milano to furnish his flashy apartment in Monte Carlo.
Find Memphis Milano on eBay Today
Where do the laws of nature come from? The formulae that define how matter and space exist and relate are available to decipher. As soon as we grasp the concept of number, we can begin to describe the mechanics of the universe to unsurmountable precision. Numbers are invisible to most, we see them on paper and in clear demonstrations like a bag of five apples. Most of us see a few, some, many, and lots. We use other ways of looking at the world. We often see the way light interacts with it. What we see is our main focus, our other senses often form a periphery to sight. How does it work and why? What is the source of the laws that govern our world? These are the questions being asked by Iranian artist Shirazeh Houshiary.
In “A Game Of Folds” Houshiary opens up a visual universe of reflectivity and light. Offering a philosophical paradox, concepts like light and dark, sound and silence, self and same are contemplated with an original work. The London based artist has revealed a window onto the almost limitless dimensions that exist within the work of any artist. Shirazeh Houshiary is known for bringing two functions together with her art. Much in the way of Rothko, when you look from afar the work takes on a certain form that's quite different when looking from close in. New details and changes in form can be found by getting a more detailed look.
Is life like this? In which when we look at a thing from afar or from a new perspective, it may look a certain way. But once we get closer and we spend time to admire the particular details, everything becomes richer and more fascinating. Are the laws of nature a house of cards that need each other to even exist or are they symptoms of a larger cause that brings the universe and all it contains into effect?
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