Currently working for Nissan in their high-tech initiatives, Shala Akintunde has also been an artist for his whole life. He began expressing his thoughts and feelings in art because he really felt a desire to be understood. Not only that, he wanted people to care. I think we all have a deep need to be understood and cared for. Having someone to listen and appreciate, react in an appropriate way, is a great therapy and it helps us feel part of something bigger than ourselves. A belonging and sense of friendly community helps us to make more balanced decisions. It's a primary need for many of us, and Shala expressed this through his creations.
It appeared to him at first that getting people to care was a big hurdle. We are bombarded with input on a daily basis, some of it is deliberately made up like tv drama for example. We perhaps don't always see the diamond among the glass because the glass is crafted to look exactly the same. No doubt, we hardly care about the characters on the screen, sure the stories tamper with our emotions and pull at our strings, but we don't involve ourselves more than perhaps a brief conversation over the ending credits. Real people don't have ending credits, and their stories don't warrant impersonal conversation. We want personal interaction, we crave it, we desire a sense of validation that we fit in somehow.
When Shala isn't contributing, he says he feels like he's in a “dark and gloomy place”. Yet with the arts, it's sometimes difficult to see how our work contributes. It's only when we get people saying to us that they understand and appreciate our art for themselves when we feel that we are contributing. Passive art is always powerful stuff, subconsciously we absorb all the images and phrases put before our eyes, so all the artists who feel underrated can take solace in this fact of life. It all nudges us in one direction or another, to varying degrees of freedom.
Tackling this issue for Shala was important. He wanted to assert a practical and clear benefit to his art. Maybe as assurance that he's not a narcissistic personality who knows the world would be better because of his random creations, he's looked towards real issues that actually do need our creative input. Solar power is one of those issues. Because of dirty fossil fuels and sinister nuclear power, the need for renewable and sustainable clean energy solutions is greater than ever. Being a Nigerian American, sunshine is something close to Shala's heart.
Sculpting with solar panels and painting them with classy imagery is the genius idea that might just get people interested in not only Shala but solar power too. With the help of his techie friends at M.I.T., a porous film was developed that held the pigment and allowed light to pass through it. When we have sunshine we have power and when we have power we have progress. It's important to make sure the progress is in the right direction, ethical and responsible policies must replace the outdated self-serving and non-future proof dinosaurs that came out of the industrial revolution. We learned from those days about giving workers decent conditions, decent pay, and now we are learning about cleaning up our processes. Shala has found freedom by contributing and by putting his creativity into the equation. One without the other doesn't lead to freedom for him.
Get creative with your living space - browse ideas
Via Landmark Forum News
A new themed arts event is taking place at the Gibraltar Exhibition of Modern Art. This unique island community off the coast of Spain is actually a British territory. Since becoming British in the 1700s, the island has evolved to express a culture rich in British heritage yet with specific locale related quirks. A striking selection of works can be found at the GEMA, which represent input from people originating in all aspects of this diverse and rich culture. With nearby Spain, France, Portugal, and many other neighbouring nations to each of those, the flow of ideas and design into the Gibraltar artistic vocabulary are far reaching. From the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht in the Netherlands during 1713, until the present day, British culture has dominated in this isolated yet well connected geographical location.
Every Wednesday, GEMA showcases works by unknown artists of equal calibre to the well-known icons. Perhaps already showing promise in their local field, and reaching more than average commendation from various sources, the works on display will represent a wide selection of Gibraltar based talent. The President of The Fine Arts Association gets the first date with this new initiative. Paul Cosquieri shows off his latest project, “Paintings To Dance To”. Local Culture Minister Steven Linares was present at the opening, stating:
“We want to open it up and bring in the artists”. Gibraltar Chronicle.
It's planned that opening up the GEMA schedule to fresh works will help continue the story of the island for the new generation and tourists who already make the exhibition centre a place to see (browse flight deals!). Even local schools have been included, where a treasure hunt was made to get the children familiar with the entire building. By walking around and following the clues, viewing the art on display would have been part of the process.
With the Paintings To Dance To exhibit, artist Paul Cosquieri has unified his love for painting and music. By expressing vivid movement and vibrant energy in the works, describing the sensation of hearing music through visual art is a wonderful cross-genre communication. Cosquieri has said that he's not looking to sell the works primarily, as he simply wants to attract visitors and encourage more artists to stand up and be counted.
The postage stamps from Gibraltar are really interesting, check them out!
Back in 1994, Rhode Island assemblage artist Thomas Deininger began looking at perception and illusion. Starting with found objects, allowing natural chance to be the artist's assistant, Deininger discovered that he could manipulate appearances to form clearly visible objects which disappear when the angle is shifted. By using an ingenious method of layering textures of material with colour and image, the assemblages take on an almost magical ability to become fantastic life-like sculptures. With the use of 3D and 2D work, Deininger recreates famous images and well known items for us from all manner of non-related media. Maybe he's asking us whether the reality we know and have become engrossed within is not truly as it seems? Watch this video and also hook up with Thomas Deininger on Instagram.
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When nations with strong ties to their cultural heritage are offered modernisation, there is a balance between conserving values and inheriting new ones. With Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, huge investments have gone in to build the infrastructure and update this historical city. In the world there can be a divide between the old colonisers and the old colonies. Although no longer part of the imperial structure, when a nation has ties to being colonised, what can be seen as honest help can be interpreted as imperial meddling. When we ask a culture to modernise, we need to remember that it doesn't mean to let go of the past. Certain elements of society and culture need to be allowed to remain in order to prevent international standardisation of peoples. It's important for identity as well as for attracting visitors, people want their own story and others want to learn about it. Art and design are ways of preserving culture and tradition when lifestyles and expectations on society change with each generation. By maintaining strong connections to traditional art and design, a culture can progress without losing touch with its past.
The population of Addis Ababa is set to double over the next decade, with over 4 million residents at this time. Much work has been done to upgrade the city, especially with Chinese investment, and this has brought living standards and city living to new twenty-first century standards. Because the technology involved in progressing the city has all come from abroad, it felt like the city was losing part of its soul. Important for visitors and residents alike, keeping the historical and cultural sense of the city alive meant telling a new chapter in the story. A chapter that follows on naturally from the last. Where herders and farmers mingle with business people and academics, what can we provide to meet both sets of needs?
The Zoma Contemporary Art Centre has been involved in the modernisation of Addis Ababa. This time though, it's been given a dose of cultural and artistic magic. This iconic building is built with daub and wattle, much like the buildings of antiquity, and its walls are designed with traditional symbols and line patterns. Artist Elias Sime was given free run over the project to bring out a clear and defined Ethiopian feel. It's taken twenty years of hard work to get to this point, with minimal resources and often only passion to keep things going, the Zoma Museum is beginning to get the attention it deserves. By using sustainable plumbing that makes use of natural rainwater and with walls built from traditional materials, the modern art found inside will have the perfect African setting. The Zoma Museum is due to open its doors to visitors in March this year.
Want to see Ethiopian art now? There's loads on eBay. Have a browse. (Support link)
Via Metropolis Magazine
Many of us enjoy podcasts, they give us something to listen to, something to think about, and a way to pass the time. Enriching our understanding of humanity and the universe is always a pleasure, only it depends on what avenues we prefer as to what we like to do with this pleasure. There is something for everybody in this wide world, so much so that it can sometimes be difficult to find the value in the labyrinth. I prefer podcasts that have a certain degree of maturity about them. I'm not a fan of shouty people or people who think they're somehow better than others. Some of us enjoy listening to these sorts just so they can laugh at this ridiculous ego on the airwaves. I know I've done it. I feel though that these kind of things can do more harm than good. Some of us are vulnerable and if left to the big wide world, can become polluted with all kinds of negativity.
When I listen to a podcast it's because there's an element of thinking involved. There's a sense of proper media about it, and a calmness in the delivery that doesn't put me off. We want passion to a point, of course, unemotional and non-involved reporting can fail to deliver vital non-verbal information however when too much energy is put into ideas it can be difficult for an audience to be discerning about them. We have a bigger footprint when we go heavy on a subject. Is open and reaching better than heavy and deep, most of the time, I think it is.
Here is a list of podcasts that I enjoy and would recommend anyone to try.
1. Dharmic Evolution
Featuring artists and enlightened thinking, Dharmic Evolution offers half an hour slots of high quality independent media. It's presented with enthusiasm and with a catchy professional tone. The subjects cover many areas, there are freedom of thought style bulletins plus artist, author, and musician spotlights. These inspirational characters stand to encourage us to feel good about our own creativity.
2. Mysterious Universe
Tongue-in-cheek or deadly serious? You decide. These guys research deep into the world of unexplained and paranormal phenomena. By taking a look at recently published books and articles, Mysterious Universe explores an X-Files array of creepy and crazy stories told by well meaning and totally convinced individuals. It's really fun and a wonderful source of imaginative ideas.
3. BBC Radio 3 Documentary
Taking a look at art and culture from a large spectrum of international perspectives, professionals and celebrity thinkers alike muse and peruse on various matters of humanitarian interest. Rich with unique lines of thought and alternating perspectives, and a thoroughly non-judgemental attitude towards the majority of subject matter, the podcast completes full and clear investigations into popular and intellectual matters.
4. The Classic Tales Podcast
The Classic Tales Podcast is a wealth of older literature reread for us all by a professional narrator. Each week a generous flurry of pages are read to us, and full books one by one are put into action. If you don't like the one currently being read? That's okay, just visit the archive and check out the rest. It's a high quality service that can't be ignored.
5. BBC 5 Live Science
Another BBC podcast, this time we get a mixture of Australian nearly-know-it-all Dr Karl and The Naked Scientists from another well-worth-it podcast. In both instances, popular and new science are talked about in public and in a language style that fits the majority of us. When they have big words and big concepts, extra care is taken to explain it. I would say that even a child could enjoy this quite easily. There's nothing wrong with trying them.
6. History Extra
If you enjoy history then History Extra is for you. Each week new books and uncovered ideas are brought to us in well read articles. The subjects are nearly always interesting and they're covered well for the time given. We're given not just a run-down of dates and facts, but the journalists are really able to paint a human picture of the times in question, allowing us to imagine being involved somehow even if a fly on the wall.
That is enough for now! Hopefully you'll get hours of listening pleasure from these podcasts, there's more than enough out there to last a lifetime and this is just a mere fraction. Only by drawing attention to the quality can we sift through the uninspiring and red-herring other options that hide. Alternative Fruit would love to hear about your favourites so please do write in or comment with your podcast recommendations. And of course, when a free web service that you enjoy asks for your support, it's part of the social contract to do so if you can.
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