Swedish-American artist Mikael Chukwuma Owunna felt that black people were getting a second class ticket from society. The individual may be seen as equal however on a cultural level, more work had to be done to ensure the effects of equality. One particular issue that moved Mikael was the statistics for police using their guns on black people. Police officers who are sworn to protect and serve their community, in the opinion of many, are acting like occupying forces exerting summary executions on the streets. Is this what we call justice in our modern and removed from the primitive society that we've worked hard to achieve? Mikael Chukwuma Owunna doesn't think so.
But he's not like them, he doesn't fight fire with fire. Mikael decided to elevate black people using art, using soft power to get the message out there that there are beautiful people too. Showing that they have intimate feelings and sense good and bad may sound like something we don't need any more. If that's the case for you, consider yourself lucky. It seems that ingrained cultural perceptions are still on the gradient, and someone needs to come along and level the ground. We can all do our bit on that front, black, white, Asian, Indian, Inuit, and Aborigine.
Mikael Owunna has used special photography to turn his subjects into exciting night sky scenes. Studded with luminous starlight, his UV flash filter tones down the skin to almost pitch black. This captures much more from the fluorescent paints than usual. and transfers onto the camera as a literal glow jumping from the skin. Because of the dark skin pigment and the contrast between the black and white, it really looks like their bodies have been painted in stars.
Finding his sense of identity in a society that values only certain individualism and uniqueness has been difficult for Mikael. Being openly homosexual and black has given him a difficult journey, when considering his Swedish heritage, we can empathise a clear sense of wanting to belong from an early age. Rather than striving to fit in and following the crowd, showing the world why his ideas and personality are valuable for their own merit has hopefully inspired many more to do the same. It's a known fact that upon seeing their portraits, many of his subjects have had strong emotional responses. All good ones, too.
You can get on the train with Mikael Owunna on Instagram and Twitter.
Introducing The Sir Elton John And David Furnish Gallery At The Victoria And Albert Museum | Alternative Fruit
What was once known as Gallery 101 at the hugely loved V&A Museum in London has been reworked to become an incredible collection of photographs. Its namesakes, celebrity couple Sir Elton John and David Furnish, have been involved from the beginning. It's a little known piece of trivia that since 1991, Sir Elton has been collecting photography. He loves the medium and truly enjoys investing in works by celebrated photographers from across the history of the art.
Alongside some 800,000 photographs from the V&A's own vaults, a princely fraction of Sir Elton John's private collection of thousands will also be on display. The pair are working on a co-curated exhibition that speaks to them, and hopefully communicates their humanity to the rest of us. We're all interested in how it feels to be a star, and what kind of things create intrigue for them. Checking out collections administered by celebrities gives us a unique insight into their personal space.
Elton's photograph collection is one of the largest and most extensive private holdings on the planet. He proudly owns originals by masters such as André Kertész, Dorothea Lange, Man Ray, and Edward Steichen plus examples of some of the most contemporary and modern templates in the making such as Cindy Sherman and Alex Prager. Sir Elton and David really wanted to show off a wide variety of works that speak to as many people as possible. This means choosing perspectives and attitudes from a whole array of minds, some of which may not agree with our own.
It's important to the couple to help out with the public showing of art, this gallery is just one of a long list of philanthropic ventures undertaken by the singer-songwriter and his husband. The pair first came into photographic contact with the V&A back in 2014 when they lent a generous selection from the collection for a temporary exhibit. Now with a more permanent fixture in place, they were on the tip of the tongue as to who to ask for working to create something iconic and lasting. With passion and clout, nothing can stop Sir Elton John (signed stuff) and David Furnish from living their dream of educating wide audiences and nurturing an interest in the medium of photography.
" Just in time for his farewell world tour, this lavish, unofficial retrospective commemorates Elton's incredible life and career."
Out September: Elton John: Rocket Man by Chris Roberts . Pre-order today!
Recently opened for the first time in a century, a ninth century Venetian church plays host to an exhibition all about the ocean. As this iconic city is situated on the coast, with water all around, it makes perfect sense to show this artwork here. Drawing attention to the inevitable climax of climate change, many of the world's coastal and island communities are at severe risk of flooding as the ice sheets melt away.
Joan Jonas, a well-known American multimedia artist, has decorated Ocean Space with Moving Off The Land II. Its many displays and pieces completely submerge visitors in the world of the sea and our place next to it. With a mission to highlight the need for action to improve ocean health and the planetary ecosystem as a whole, this ancient building has been repurposed to fit with the main agenda of the day. Those of us living inland may not feel the same degree of urgency as those living in places of excellent antiquity at risk of becoming unusable.
With the help of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21), this arts organisation of aquatic intrigue is now open for all the many visitors who travel to the area. They've been involved with many similar projects around the globe, this recent issue at Venice being the latest. Using art to communicate information and values surrounding the ocean has helped to inform a whole new group of people. Scientists and sailors may already know their fair share, so finding a medium that appeals to someone else is always a good idea.
For Joan Jonas, Moving Off The Land II involved three long years of research and creative thinking. By visiting aquariums and ocean museums, Jonas was able to fill a bucket full of inspiration that ultimately made its way into the new exhibition. The multi-media aspect of Jonas' work includes prose by Dickinson and Melville. Sketches and photographs make up the rest, with paintings and assemblages. Running alongside the 56th Venice Biennale, centred on the fragility of nature as a whole, Joan Jonas will team up with musician Ikue Mori on the 7th of May for a live performance in the Church of San Lorenzo.
From the 30th of March to the 17th of May visitors to Lagos can be fettered away by an amazing exhibition by a duo of philosophical artists. Comprising of 45 works, the Diffusion Exhibition portrays the human journey through time and space via the lens of consciousness. What are we conscious of, what do we care about? These are the things that dominate our awareness, and our position on the grand social array. What we choose to do with our lives is a reflection of our level of consciousness, and in this case, reflecting the ideas and perspectives gathered so far is being conscious of consciousness itself. Is this the pinnacle of our understanding?
Famous words like I Think Therefore I Am from the philosopher Descartes (pronounced Daycart) maybe don't ring true any more. To truly be someone don't we have to think about how we think? Computers can think to some extent but they're told what to think about by people. It gets very confusing but thinking on its own doesn't really make us a someone any more. Doesn't there have to be an instigation and a reason behind the thought too?
We humans have evolved mentally over the past few thousand years. Now we know more about ourselves and the universe we live in, we can be more able to make moral and ethical decisions. Our social thinking which morals and ethics stem from is part of our empathic system, which requires an ability to know how something feels. Naturally those who have not been subject to a thing cannot fully empathise with a person who is subject to it, they can take a guess but it's like throwing darts in the dark. This has given us a reason to communicate and explain, to produce art and give reason to feelings.
By exploring how we as humans have moved socially, empathically, and personally through spiritual and material means, the Diffusion exhibition gives light to the distance travelled so far. As we are born in our own times, we each have the opportunity to process the procedures of life for ourselves and make our own choices about how we will adapt them for our own peace of mind. This is how gradual change occurs in life and society. The mixed media work and paintings by Promise Onali and Chibuike Uzoma will stand to clarify one aspect of this multifaceted field of vision.
Read more about the exhibition on Vanguard NGR
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