This week I had the pleasure to meet artist Jon Daniel at the launch of his latest exhibition entitled ’Black Space.’ The show is small collection of iconographic poster artworks celebrating black screen heroines and heroes from the world of Sci-Fi.
Science Fiction is a very interesting genre, particularly when a majority of big budget movie blockbusters throughout the years have depicted a rather morbid and apocalyptic future, where people of the African diaspora are near extinction or only represented by one supporting character. I guess the same can be said of many genres including historical epics such as Cleopatra or the recent Gods of Egypt. It was refreshing see a show celebrating iconic figures such as Star Trek’s Lieutenant Uhura and Morpheus from the Matrix Trilogy. My only disappointment was the limited number of works displayed.
I have noticed and welcome the growing popularity of Afrofuturism and Jon Daniel, the man behind the Afro Supa Hero collection, contributes to this comprehensively. Classically trained as a graphic designer, Jon has worked largely as an art director for a number of London’s leading advertising agencies. He has also co-founded two creative companies -Headland, a creative partnership and ebb&flow®, a boutique branding company creating work for a range of corporate, cultural and public sector clients. The artist has created a reputation in the cultural arena. This is includes curating “Post-Colonial: Stamps from the African Diaspora” and “JA50” exhibitions with global stamp emporium, Stanley Gibbons. His exhibition ‘Afro Supa Hero’, based on his personal collection of black action figures and comic books exhibited at the V&A Museum of Childhood in 2014.
Black Space runs from today to October 31st at Upstairs At the Ritzy, Brixton, London SW2. Check it out if you’re in the vicinity. For more info on the artist visit https://twitter.com/jondaniel66
Last week I visited London’s Tiwani Contemporary to see its latest exhibition entitled ‘Come Forth as Gold‘ featuring artist Virginia Chihota.
The artist was born in 1983 in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe and currently lives and works in Podgorica, Montenegro. She graduated in Fine Arts from the National Art Gallery Studios in Harare, Zimbabwe in 2006. Chihota represented Zimbabwe at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 and was awarded the Prix Canson in the same year. Recent exhibitions include: Goodman Gallery, Cape Town (2015); Saatchi Gallery (2015); Kunsthalle Faust, Hannover (2014); Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (2014); and the Lyon Biennale (2011).
The exhibition title makes reference to a passage in the Old Testament Book of Job. Job, considering his plight, compares himself to gold that is tried in a crucible, coming forth purer following the application of fire, which serves to separate every particle of impurity or alloy and leave only the pure metal. The notion of rebirth following self-reflection is central to the exhibition.
In recent years, Chihota has submitted her life, particularly her recent experience of marriage and motherhood, to thoughtful observation, producing a body of work of striking formal complexity, full of religious symbolism and allusions to the female body. The theme of renewal and rebirth is carried out through Chihota’s iconography, which conveys the fragility of the human figure, often trapped within womb-like membranes
As a recurring motif in Chihota’s work, the womb, alongside eggs and patterns of seeding and growing, shows a continued exploration of the themes of motherhood and change. On the body as an inspiration central to her work, Chihota observes:
‘The body, though it is strong, remains limited: it is only the spirit within it that makes it a “life”. I am always looking to depict that form within the spirit.’
Whilst I would describe the collection of work as both interesting and provocative, it would have been nice to have seen additional pieces to further entertain my curiosity with her work.
The show runs until October 29th. For further information please visit the Tiwani Contemporary 16 Little Portland Street, London W1W 8BP or http://www.tiwani.co.uk/exhibitions/
You may recall me writing about Mark Ware and the Cathedra 900 project. The private viewing of the national touring art science exhibition entitled, ‘Reflecting Nature’ is on Thursday 8th September at Exeter Cathedral, England.
Reflecting Nature is an art science collaboration between multimedia artist Mark Ware MFA and psychologist Dr Nichola Street of Staffordshire University and comprises of an exhibition of digital art prints in the Chapter House that will be on display from 1st September until 30th September 2016 with a series of public engagement activities during that time designed to investigate audience responses to the art.
If you would like to read more about Mark Ware’s art science projects including Reflecting Nature, here is a link to a New Scientist article published in July 2016: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2096555-missing-the-natural-world-just-add-multimedia/ Reflecting Nature is part of Mark’s Arts Council England supported broader activity entitled, The Wavelength Project. For further information email email@example.com
Davina Hamilton writes about Notting Hill Carnival’s 50th year celebration, assuring the public that “Yes, this is Notting Hill Carnival’s 50th year,” as Debora Alleyne De Gazon, creative director of the London Notting Hill Carnival Enterprises Trust, clears up the confusion about the year the event began. Here are excerpts; please read full article in […]
Whilst flicking TV channels, looking for updates of Olympic events I missed overnight, I was fortunate to come across news of a very interesting exhibition in South Africa. The first ever photography exhibition of Unequal Scenes was held on August 10th, at the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Johannesburg. This is the first time these images were displayed in a large-scale format. The aim of the selection of photographs is to promote conversation around the work and the issues they portray.
Artist John Miller’s desire is to portray the most unequal scenes in South Africa as objectively as possible, providing a new perspective on an old problem. He hopes to provoke a dialogue which can begin to address the issues of inequality and disenfranchisement in a constructive and peaceful way.
I’m also encouraged to hear this show may tour internationally. Hopefully I will get to see it. It would be very interesting to see how this project could be applied to other cities around the world to expose the contrast between rich and poor. It would be very interesting to see how Rio measures after its hosting of the Olympics.
For further info please visit http://unequalscenes.com/exhibition-opening-august-10th
I’m pleased to see the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton, London has some interesting shows in its calendar. One worth seeing is Rastafari In Motion.
Co-curated in partnership with the Rastafari Regal Livity (RRL), Rastafari in Motion tells the rarely told story of the presence of Emperor Haile Selassie I and the emergence of the Rastafari movement in Britain. This exhibition introduces the mystic world of Rastafari and the guiding principles of this holistic way of life and takes a closer look at the contributions made to British society. Celebrate the 80th anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie I’s appearance before the League of Nations, His four-year residency in Bath and His influence on the rising consciousness of Black youth from the 1960s onwards.
Find out about the exploits of Ras Seymour Maclean ‘The Book Liberator’, and explore the movement’s expression through music, art, spirituality, education, and the rise of political agency; and their lasting legacy here in Britain.
Black Cultural Archives is the first to present Rastafari in Motion to UK audiences. First exhibited at the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa in 2014, as part of an international collection (Rastafari: The Majesty and the Movement), this celebrated exhibition has travelled to Jamaica in April 2016, and will arrive at Black Cultural Archives this summer.
Further info is available at http://bcaheritage.org.uk
The world is reminding us of how fragile modern society is. I’m becoming frightened to switch on the TV, read the paper or catch up on tweets in case I hear of another modern day lynching of innocent African Americans, terrorist atrocities or corrupt and untrustworthy politicians fighting off party political and military coups. In previous blogs I’ve paid reference to forthcoming projects I wish to share. I’m not quite there yet but it’s timely to address some of the above issues as they feature strongly in the material I’m working on. Please watch this space and more importantly, look after yourself and each other.
“We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate.”