Have we lost touch with the majesty of sharing life with the entire kingdom? By this kingdom we mean of course nature. The natural world is inseparable from us, we are completely part of it. Our human-centred world-view often leaves little space for the other beings we share the gift of life with. So they might not be able to have a conversation with us, they can communicate feelings and their presence can be a symbol for so much more. Animals have been a focus of art since the beginning of history, with their shapes taking clear form in works laid down long before any writing.
Back in those early days when possibly language-free humans with very little technology depicted animals, it was because they were large aspects of their lives. Either a source of food or a source of fear, these beings became part of the image-based culture we know appeared. Today though, the connection we have with the natural world is hidden behind electric lights and refrigerated food. Our oneness with nature and our shared connection of energy, nutrients, and space-time is occulted by television sets and loud music.
So to find an artist who is passionate about keeping this primordial fire burning, we have found a modern treasure. We have to remember that our psychological images of animals are brought to us by iconic symbols in books and on packaging. We see a few works of art and some beautifully taken photos and we mentally know what we are talking about. These dry and one-dimensional representations often fail to bring to life the true soul of the unique creature we are looking at.
Jan Harrison's work is different. Recently exhibited at 11 Jane Street Studio, New York, the wonderful and colourful impressionistic designs capture something much more than the animals biological structure and behaviour. We see that these beings are experiencing the world at their own level and with their own unique perspective. As we gaze into the eyes and faces of Jan's Jungian animals, we see that the ethereal quality of the work seems to nudge at something intuitive and sub-conscious. The aura like lighting and parliamentarisation of each image brings about the sense of connectivity and systemic dynamism that we know from our own lives.
Yesterday, Wednesday 7th October, saw the announcement from the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields of a new permanent exhibition. The Lume Indianapolis is set to open in June 21, with setbacks expected if Covid security isn't tight enough. The 137 year old exhibition centre will use projectors to illuminate every space. With curated placements of projection screens and light flooding the entire room, a space the size of 30,000 sq. feet will be illuminated with works from Vincent Van Gogh.
Aromas will be set to release on timings as classical music plays in accompaniment to the images on display. Visitors will be able to walk in, around, and through each work and sense the recreated atmosphere that they represent. An impressionism layered with new impressions based on historical knowledge awaits those who would wander these halls.
Expect 150 light projectors and almost 3000 known images from the Van Gogh collection to be amplified in extra-dimensional glory. Of course, we want to sit back and relax so the gallery have naturally catered for our needs. Van Gogh inspired food and drink will be available, prepared to order. Created by Grande Experiences, the exhibit is hoped to bring yet more eager visitors to the multi-functional campus.
The artistic reasoning behind this immersive idea is to allow visitors to find a true affection for the beauty of Van Gogh and the medium in general. By magnifying each stroke, each colour transition, each dynamic shading, we can witness first-hand the true amount of work that painting so skilfully entails.
Via Indie Star
Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs chief cultural officer and ex-rock-star Candice Gordon has co-ordinated a photographic exhibition of Irish life in the city of Berlin. She has only been in the embassy for a few weeks and already her presence is being felt. As Berlin is in a post-lock-down state with social distancing still compulsory, the works are spread out over the city. Six photographers have put together a collection of images to be exhibited at various Irish owned businesses in the German capital.
The exhibition is intended to showcase Irish life beyond the familiar icons we may already think of. There's a lot going on in Ireland and most of it exciting, so the artists had a lot of work to do in order to capture the modern national spirit. Visitors can purchase a special pass called a Trail Card which maps out the destinations and entitles the holder to a free drink at each stop.
The different photographers have different styles and perspectives on their home. Each set of images shows a unique direction and aesthetic which goes to show the majesty and intrigue within their land. Available in situ until 2nd October, the rest of us can visit the Ireland In Frame website.
Via The Irish Times
The Emotional Landscape Of A Black Artist Described Through Extra-Vivid Portraits | Alternative Fruit
Nigerian artist Arinze Stanley has been using his talents to promote political messages for his whole career. When you have an incredible skill like his, it seems criminal to not use it to make positive progress. Thankfully, Arinze is receiving the press and attention he deserves for his fantastic work. This newest collection shows surreal portraits of black people which aim to explain how it feels to be a member of the global culture. We all know that black lives matter so these images help to convey the reasons behind why the message is still being repeated. When prejudice and intolerance still raise their heads in society, it is up to us to push the chair legs out from under their podium. If the world has a portion that feels confident to be openly racist then we have failed, where does their confidence arise from? Why are they not continually pressured to reform? Is it because we look to big brother to reform them for us?
Arinze Stanley thinks he has one answer to this multi-faced problem. His work really drives home the humanity behind black coloured skin. By observing these emotional and powerful images, which he made with graphite and charcoal pencils, anyone with a heart and an imagination can truly place themselves in the same emotional situation. No, us white folks will never truly know what it feels like to be black, how could we? We do know how it feels to be mistrusted, subordinated, exploited, and misunderstood, but in a different way, it's on a personal and not an international and historical level.
So we can take off our hats then give Arinze Stanley a warm thank you for helping us to understand, for putting the feelings into pictures so we can translate them for ourselves. You can find Arinze Stanley on Instagram. LA residents can go and see the work in person from October 3rd at the Corey Helford Gallery.
We have all been in an underpass and if we are lucky, we've seen a remarkable unofficial mural depicting the community edge. It always seems like a crime when some well-meaning local authority employs a person with our taxes to wipe away the beautiful art. Should have got a permission slip. I'm sure they're not hard to find and if they are, we should change that. The thing is, communal images really help to bring a sense of identity and togetherness for everyone who sees it on their daily routine. If they're of a high enough quality then they can only serve to increase the cultural and economic value of an area.
Dubbed “The Banksy of Stevenage”, Mark Tanti is best known for his artworks decorating the area behind ASDA on Monkswood Way. His marvellous and quirky image depicts themes taken from Disney's The Sword in the Stone and The Land Before Time. In fact, these are not the only images, Tanti is part of an ongoing scheme involving local artists that aims to make Stevenage a great place to cycle and walk.
In order to preserve the brilliant designs put down by the professionals, who let's face it are just amateurs who didn't quit, the works are being coated in transparent graffiti-proof paint. Mark has now set up his own graffiti art firm which is set to further normalise and institutionalise the art. So far Mark has been putting in his own time and money to fund the work, which ultimately benefits the whole community. It's not popular to ask residents to pay for things they didn't ask for when their bills are already so high however there has to be a bridge of finance that allows work like this to thrive in all communities.
What is the value in community art, if it remains in place for a generation or more? Surely it should be more than one person's uniquely savant passion.
Via The Stevenage Comet
What does it mean to be marginalised? Is it when your individual rights seem over-looked by the more populous culture? Is it when your stories are mis-told or forgotten in favour of those from other sources? Is it when your culture has been so deeply romanticised that no-one truly understands you any more? Perhaps it is all of these things, and many more.
Seneca Nation and Bear Clan member Dave Kimelberg wanted to do something about this for his own people. The Iroquois-language indigenous people of the Lake Ontario southern region are not forgotten. Kimelberg's K Art Gallery in Buffalo is owned and run for Native American contemporary artists. Of course, anyone from any culture can go and visit but the works on display are guaranteed to be from the hands of authentic Native Americans.
When it turned out that the plans were to be laid over with pandemic reaction, it did seem that things may not happen as hoped. Never-the-less, the K Art Gallery went up as scheduled and beat the odds against it. Sound familiar? It must be that survivor spirit conjured up over years of marginalisation.
What does Kimelberg have to do with arts though? After-all, he's the Chief Executive of the financial wing of the Seneca Nation. He doesn't work in the arts. That's where we are all wrong. Just because his professional history is not in the arts, as a human being and a genuine descendent of the original American people, there's no better qualification. Of course, he had help and the artists who's work is on display have skills they have learned. When these people work together, the congeniality of the tribe manifests.
The theme of this gallery is to awaken people to the modern face of Native America. When we think of the culture, we often think of cowboys and Indians, feather head-dresses and tomahawks. We've seen the films, we've read the history books, we've felt bad for what they endured, but do we know who they really are? This K Art Gallery idea really pushes home the truth about this culture and demonstrates that the Seneca People still live and work in the modern age.
Lockdown has us all trying new things, and getting good at the things we can already do. Whether it's baking delicious cakes or keeping the house tidy, we've all found ourselves looking for ways to spend the time. What about musicians? Imagine how much time our rising stars have had to hone their skills? Do you think in five to ten years we will have a new wave of virtuoso musical talent? I hope so. Never-the-less, one particular ten-year-old girl is a massive fan of Foo Fighter's front-man Dave Grohl. The life-time friend of the late Kurt Cobain has kept on going strong long since his first band ended abruptly. Now known for singing and playing guitar, many true fans know that Grohl is a multi-instrumentalist who can play everything he needs to release a great metal-rock album.
When a YouTube video of ten-year-old Nandi Bushell from the UK playing a perfect rendition of Everlong by Foo Fighters went viral, the composer was challenged to beat it. After not too much pressure from only about a hundred friends, the legendary rock-star felt obliged to comply. He returned the favour by playing a special version of Dead End Friends by Them Crooked Vultures. When Bushell saw this, she was of course over the moon to have got a response from her hero. And being who she is, she also couldn't help but respond with absolute authority. Nandi repeated the customised performance beat for beat and with a huge grin. Grohl of course conceded, and accepted graceful defeat.
This wasn't the end of it though. Dave Grohl promised to return, and so he did. When the next video emerged, it featured Dave on drums and lead vocals with his band, the Grohlettes. They were actually his daughters. What happened next blew Nandi away. He performed a song written about her and how she is a superhero. This homage to a ten-year-old drum prodigy really showed us that we have a true gentleman as our rock legend. It also gives us plenty of faith in the future of British music.
“This is so so so EPIC!!!! I think its the best song EVER, in the WORLD, EVER!!! Thank you so much Dave. You have raised the stakes to all instruments! I accept your next challenge! Thank you to the whole Grohl family! I love you all so much!”
I cant believe Mr. Grohl wrote a song about me!?! This is so so so #EPIC!! I think its the best song EVER, in the WORLD, EVER!!! Thank you so much Dave. You have raised the stakes to all instruments! I accept your next challenge! Thank you to the whole Grohl family! @foofighters pic.twitter.com/rWgTBwEtyb
Via LA Times
Racism is playing a large part in the day to day conversation. Thanks to the American media who have widely published incidents of racism, the whole world has a subject to enlist them into this global debate. What do we do about intolerance and fear of different skin colour or culture? We of course respect anything that isn't harmful, however a lot of stories depict opposing beliefs and social groups like skin colour as an outside intruder. An us and them dynamic is knitted through our culture, and it will be a lot of work to create new stories that incorporate all who do no harm as us.
Being black in Iran has its own set of difficulties. The closeness to Africa means that black people of all tone have been present in Iran since its early days. It's nothing new to see a black man or woman living in Iran. There still remains a culture of difference, though, as the collective recognise.
"We are part of the tapestry of what it means to be Iranian. If you look closely, you will see us."
You may wonder why making a point of being black will help build inclusive relationships, and you'd be right, it's the message they promote that really matters. Their message is one of enlightenment, it states the hidden obvious and reminds Iranians that black culture has always been there.
One piece on display is a multimedia work called “Can You See Us?”. It's made from snippets of African-Iranian voices. The whole work of the collective project is to entangle personal stories with the written history in order to create new and positive associations. With this inclusive accumulation of culture that's based on actual lives and actual events, the thread will no doubt spread into many other areas.
"We talk about how knowing your roots is a very empowering thing that we sometimes take for granted," Eskandarkhah says, "At times it's a luxury. As a Black person, I know a lot of guys that didn't have that luxury."
You can see and follow the Collective For Black Iranians on Twitter
Amanda Castle paints and draws fantastic images that strike us with their ephemeral moments captured in fiery and evocative splendour. The creation of such wonderful and arresting work lays in the culmination of a long journey. Since leaving school with very little to her name, Amanda Castle has refused to stop climbing as continual ladders have made themselves apparent.
Although she is dyslexic, Amanda's art teacher had seeded the beginnings of a fantastic art career by recognising her certain potential. When she was 18, Amanda found the confidence to attend art classes in her home of Huddersfield, where she eventually went on to take up a BTEC in art and design. This was soon joined by an A-level in art and then later, a full Art Degree from Bradford College.
As she rises in the world of art, Amanda Castle has featured in many venues and exhibitions. Always looking for further reach, her creativity is finding itself at home further and further afield. Some of her highlights so far have been playing a leading role in Longley Special School's art and local history project, a mural for a local nursery, and for the art group Artists In Mind.
Amanda Castle also works with students in schools with all kinds of things, including maths. She's illustrated for a working man's club and for two children's books – Sam The Monster and Princess Mandy.
Amanda Castle also produces work for display that covers painting with acrylic and oil, drawing with pencils and crayons, 3D ceramics and crafts, and screen printing. She reveals that painting and drawing are her preferred methods, but there is plenty of room left for working with other media.
These impressionist images offered for display on Alternative Fruit are from 3 pieces, which are as follows:
Title: Wasteland- 2019
Pencil, coloured pencils and primer.
Title: Mischance of Sorrow- 2020
Pencil, coloured pencils and primer
Title: Unknown- 2010
Oil on canvas
You can find more art by Amanda Castle on Facebook
The doors are open and the antiquities are in. People from all over the capital are making their way to the British Museum to witness their latest exhibition. The Mexico Exhibit takes us deep into the history of this ancient land. Since its discovery by Europeans in the sixteenth century, a deep and rich history of culture has been revealed spanning back nearly 4000 years. The earliest items and finds are accurately dated to around 2000 BC which coincides with the construction of the stone palace at Knossos in Greece and the creation of Babylonian mathematics, the first people to divide a circle into 360 radians.
This beautifully adapted display intends to demonstrate the beautiful and diverse culture that Mexico provided right up until the European invasion. The gallery provides a webpage with a long list of historical and interesting information which links directly to a Google Tour of the entire showcase. It doesn't matter if you live next-door to the museum or in Mexico itself, you too can pay attention and examine the display provided for everyone.
You can visit the Mexico Exhibition at the British Museum here.
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