Two Artists of Colour Boldly Provoke a Conservative Museum Locked in the Past — Repeating Islands

A report by Yxta Maya Murray for Artsy. Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, opened to the public in 1928 to showcase the rare English tomes and early American paintings that Henry E. Huntington acquired with the wealth […]

via Two Artists of Color Boldly Provoke a Conservative Museum Locked in the Past — Repeating Islands

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In Conversation with Artist Andre Dane Parchment

Andre Dane Parchment

Last year I attended the Elizabeth James Gallery’s second anniversary event and met an extraordinarily talented, humble and interesting artist by the name of Andre Dane Parchment. Andre is originally from Jamaica where he studied printmaking, graphics and drawing. Showing entrepreneurial flare, he started an arts and graphic business but, after a particularly difficult period concluding in the loss of his business, he made significant changes in life, including migrating to the UK to become a British soldier deployed in Iraq.

Since becoming a civilian, he has exhibited at the London Battersea Affordable Art fair (exhibiting with the Army Art Society), Charlton House and the Canary Wharf Window Gallery. Andre kindly agreed to answer a few questions, share his ideas and tell me about his current projects. I’m genuinely excited for him and look forward to following his career. The full interview is featured on Occhi Magazine.

How did you get involved in the arts?

I got involved with the arts from an early age. Maybe it was the beautiful sceneries of the Caribbean island of Jamaica that squeeze the artistic juice out of me. In fourth grade, I would look out from the classroom sketching the sea, birds and fishermen boats passing inside my lesson book with my 2hb pencil. I then moved on to higher education at St. Elizabeth Technical High School specializing in the arts during the last three years of secondary schooling. It was art class that help to fund apart of my bus fare and school meals doing commission works when times were financially challenging.

You were in the armed forces. Can you share some of your experiences and did your art provide therapy during this time?

I served in the British Armed Forces for over six years. When I first joined it was a total culture shock, the treatment for Commonwealth soldiers were different in many ways even though we were all in the same army to protect and serve. But being an immigrant comes with its struggles and stigma, on the other hand it gave me great opportunities and experience which I have no regrets, for each trial encounter made me a better and stronger person.

Andre Dane Parchment

I was deployed in Iraq in 2006 as an infantry soldier, served alongside other regiments and nationalities. We had near misses of mortar rounds exploding just a few feet away, snipers shooting at random to kill, the fear of not knowing when or if we would walk or drive on explosive devices that can either kill or cause fragmentation.

I wanted to find a distraction that would keep my mind occupied from what was happening in Iraq, something to build my morale on, this was where art became a therapy, in the midst of the madness of war It made me found peace, something beautiful amongst the devastation and destruction, art was my calming influence.

You’re currently working on a series of work and an accompanying publication. What’s the project and what we should expect?

I am writing a book with a series of paintings in accordance with the title Blind Vision Possible Dreams.

It is a semi-autobiography depicting memories of youthfulness, love, failures and success. In it, I am writing my dreams of being a songwriter, an author, and an artist having exhibitions in London and around the world. Secondly, I have also been inspired to write a number of short poems that will be illustrated through sketches. At present, a publisher is having a look at some of them, but I’m still not sure what form of publication I will be using.

For 2019 I will be hoping to have a book launch and art exhibitions which include a series of paintings titled Street Sleepers, with the aim to give back to charities that support the homeless.

What’s the motivation behind your current theme of work?

The motivation behind my current theme of work comes from wanting to view life from a different perspective through painting and writing, taking on new challenges that would help me grow and develop in order to encourage and motivate others not to limit themselves or live in the land of procrastination, but to be the best they can be.

You’re involved in local mentoring initiatives focusing on youth development. Are any of these related to the arts?

Andre Dane Parchment
Andre Dane Parchment

I do training and mentoring at my workplace a supervisor and at Refuge Temple in South East London, especially with young men. Apart of the mentoring and development I include art, music, and poetry, working with instruments and art materials that help them to be more creative and think differently, not to be conformed to the bad influence and negativity of their environment, but to try a make a positive change.

 

For further information on Andre, please visit  https://andredeartist.wordpress.com

Featured Artist: Singer- Songwriter Kileza and her album ‘A Berlin Winter’

Kileza, Singer, Songwriter, David Emmanuel Noel
Singer/Songwriter Kileza. Photo by Mike Menzel

As we begin another year of resolutions and a desire to fulfil creative ambitions, it’s great to gain inspiration from talented artists such as Kileza. Kileza is an indie-pop singer, songwriter and producer who calls the world home. Born and raised in South Africa, she’s lived and performed in Argentina, Canada and Germany. Her music reflects the influences of her travels, which now include London. I recently met her at a music industry event and she agreed to discuss her album ‘A Berlin Winter’ and share career aspirations. The full interview is featured on Occhi Magazine.

Your music is vocally enticing, impressive and winningly authentic. Congratulations on the completion of your album. What can you tell listeners about ‘ A Berlin Winter?’

Thank you, for the kind words. I’m pleased to hear that. Well, A Berlin Winter is a passion project of mine. I wrote it during one of Berlin’s longest and coldest winters

in 50 years (in 2013), my aim was purely to make music that soothed the listener, through the cold and through a difficult time whether it be heartbreak or an isolated period.

What inspired you to write this album?

Earlier that year I had bought an 88 key digital piano. I was inspired by Debussy and James Blake. I was coming to terms with a painful breakup from a few years before. I finally felt ready to write about it.

Loneliness, isolation, heart ache, self reflection, and winter were the main inspirations. I think being in a different country and somehow musically materialising my surroundings and feelings into musical form, inspired me to write this album.

Singer/Songwriter Kileza. Photo by Mike Menzel
Singer/Songwriter Kileza. Photo by Mike Menzel

Tell us about your song writing process. How do you choose the topic to sing about?

Every song starts differently, but generally speaking, I had just bought a new piano, I was fiddling with it, and melodies and ideas just started flowing to my mind.

I wanted to articulate the pain I had been feeling from a few years prior; due to a very intense love I had found and lost in Toronto a few years earlier. Sometimes a melody just rattles around in my brain, and sometimes I have an idea to write a certain kind of song, whether catchy or melancholic, and then a feeling sort of materialises in me.

What are your musical icons/influences?

I would say Mariah Carey is probably my biggest musical influence. I also take inspiration from artists like Nina Simone, James Blake, Lauren Hill and Damien Rice.

What’s the ultimate direction of your music?

This album is not so commercial, it’s a little bit more avant garde and niche, but going forward it will be more solidly R&B/Pop. I love catchy melodies and big ballads.

You call the world home so where are you based now?

As of 6 months ago, I’m based in London, and I’m absolutely loving it, I love to move around, I love to learn languages, I feel a little Caribbean and a little Latin American at heart, so that’s where I hope to move in the next few years. Either Mexico, or Portugal, or Argentina, where I’ve lived before, we’ll have  to see if my partner gets on board!

How do potential listeners find out more about you and your music?

I think instagram is probably the best as it is de rigeur at the moment.

 

I wish her the very best for 2019! For further information on Kileza please visit

www.instagram.com/musicbykg

Facebook: www.facebook.com/musicbykg

Twitter: www.twitter.com/musicbykg

and  www.kileza.com

 

Happy Holidays and A Prosperous New Year!

So here we are again! It’s been a tumultuous year on the political front, with unpopular politicians making equally unpopular polices, continuation of avoidable humanitarian catastrophes and increasing fears on the condition of our environment and our very existence.

On a personal front, I’ve lost close family & friends and had my fear share of life’s ups and downs. I remain thankful however of the opportunities I’ve received this year, the fact still I’m alive and the fact I’m able to write this entry! With this in mind, I remain positive and excited by what 2019 may bring. We can only be optimistic!

As we near the end of the year, I’d like to wish you and your loved ones the most enjoyable of holiday seasons. Moreover, I sincerely wish you all a happy, healthy and thoroughly rewarding 2019! Make it count because life isn’t a rehearsal!

 

The Fusion Series

Hi all! So we’re into the final month of the year. What a year it’s been! As we wind down for the year end holidays I’m continuing to work on new material, including the Fusion series. The work is an experimentation of colour, using a variety of acrylic paints and ink. In recent years there has been a growing acceptance that the healthcare environment can have a significant impact on a patient’s perception of their medical care and, in some cases, on their actual recovery. Health professionals explore the psychology of colour and how well-chosen hues on walls, floors and furniture can have a positive, or indeed negative, effect on a person’s health and wellbeing. The viewer is also encouraged to think about the relationships between tones and textures in paintings , how they provoke emotions and contribute to the therapeutic impact of colour.

Wishing you a great day!

‘Pictures at an African Exhibition’ at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Illustration by Nate Harris
Illustration by Nate Harris

Wishing you all a great weekend ahead. I hope it’s both a relaxing and enjoyable one! For those in or planning a trip to Philadelphia next weekend, please visit the Museum of Art. I’m happy to announce my art will once again be exhibited and accompany a one-night performance by Darryl Yokley’s Sound Reformation, as part of the Pictures at an African Exhibition promotion. This event forms part of the Museum’s successful Friday Nights calendar. Performances on Friday 16thNovember are at 5.45 and 7.15pm in the Great Stair Hall. Please visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art for further information. For further info on Darryl, the album and artwork please visit darrylyokley.com Have a great day!

African and Diaporan Voices on African Architecture 

During the UK Black History month of October, I’m privileged once again to introduce another guest blog by fellow creative Livingstone Mukusa on his current project celebrating African architects and architecture.

People, locale, environment. These components of a landscape are interrelated, and in the hands of a sensitive practitioner, are approached collectively when considering design intervention. In Sub Saharan Africa, however, this is the exception, rather than the rule.

Colonialism introduced to Sub Saharan Africa new means of construction and building aesthetics. Dominated by industrialized, mass produced materials, this new architectural language spread, permeating rapidly through previously distinct architectural landscapes to creating a region replete with architectural expressions reduced to basic physical attributes that are divorced from their environments, and social meaning of those who inhabit them.

Traditionally, African architecture, much like its art, has always been a verb rather than a noun. It was a language of ritual rather than objectification, a language of climactic response, a language of resource availability.

Patterns, tessellations, fractal designs, and numerous other elements were generally not for the embellishment and decoration that ordinarily meets today’s eye, but carried with them specific meaning and purpose. While the Western tradition of compartmentalized knowledge, combined with the modernist concept of the exploration of each medium in isolation, led to a virtually complete separation of art and architecture. The integration of art or craft and architecture, on the other hand, was and remains an essential part indigenous African cultures— a result of the experience of unity between art and life.

Today, architecture throughout Sub Saharan Africa, and its Diaspora is more of a testament to expressions and materiality borrowed from elsewhere. Occasionally, a nod or two is given to the locality and culture, forms and techniques that speak of the place and the people. Where does this place the idea of an African Architecture? In our attempts to frame, within a modern day context, what African architecture is, how can we bridge the huge chasm of a dichotomy between African architecture of old and new African architectural expressions? What frames African architecture? Should it even be framed?

Sub-Saharan Africa is incredibly diverse in landscape, climate zones, ethnicities, cultures, and economies. And the answers to these questions are as complex, contradictory even, as this diversity. But these are questions worth examining. To this end, I am seeking an assortment of UK and Europe based architects, artists, activists and scholars to lend their thoughts for an upcoming publication.

Interested parties please contact the author.

Livingstone Mukasa

Livingstone Mukasa, founder of Afritecture, a blog focused on the contextual engagement, and exploration of the African vernacular in modern architecture. He can be reached with Twitter: @livmuk, or email: mukasa@yahoo.com