Unequal Scenes- Exposing Inequalities in a Post Apartheid World

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

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EU, Brexit and the Arts Industry: What will happen to the UK Arts Sector?

Is the UK better off in the EU?
Is the UK better off in the EU?

I’m undecided which way to vote and need to consider to what extent the EU provides opportunities I can personally take advantage of. In theory, access to Europe and the freedom of movement is great but a rise in far right politics, nationalism, Islamophobia and continued discrimination, particularly against ethnic groups, doesn’t encourage me to think we are closer to practicing the harmonious union of nation states our leaders advocate. Many groups consider it difficult enough in the UK so will Europe, with all its challenges, be any easier for citizens with non-European origins to move freely? It’s all about perspective.

For most people, the Brexit issue didn’t appear life threatening but with the vote less than a month away, Brits are now considering the benefits of staying in. Despite the scaremongering and poor performance of leading politicians explaining the issues, we do need to consider if benefits of lower prices, more jobs and increased trade will be at stake.

The Economy

The UK economy is undoubtedly strong and has benefited from being in Europe. Whilst the ‘Out Campaigners’ argue Britain is the fifth largest economy and can survive on its own, we should consider whether its economic ranking is a direct consequence of having preferential access and influence on the EU trading block comprising of half a billion people. We also need to consider the view of the Bank of England and IMF who provide an overview of the UK’s likely performance as a consequence of exiting. There remains a belief by many that Britain is in a position to command the same political and economic clout as it did at the peak of is colonial empire but this simply isn’t true, particularly with the rise of new global economic blocks and their growing influence on the political sphere. There are so many things to consider such as what is right for businesses, particularly small enterprises and how will they compete on a world market?

So what does this mean for the UK Arts sector?

In theory, being in the European market opens up opportunities for its creative industries. European Union funding nourishes and protects innovation in the UK and it is hoped such benefits will continue. Arts funding has historically been one of the first areas to be cut by UK Governments in periods of austerity so would a UK Government exiting the EU act differently during what may be a financially turbulent time?

The vibrancy of our arts sector is one of Britain’s great qualities. It is an arts superpower and home to recognised artists, musicians, filmmakers and theatrical impresarios. The UK is apparently the second-largest exporter of television in the world, worth £1.2bn in 2012 and home to the second-largest design sector on the planet, worth £131m in exports in 2011. The EU is Britain’s second-largest export market for music. Approximately 1.6 million people in the UK are employed in the creative sector, pumping out £71.4bn in gross value added. Of course, this is the result of the talent and drive of individuals in the British arts sector but there is no doubt that EU membership and funding from the EU’s Creative Europe initiative has and will continue to be been a contributing factor.

So Yes or No?

I’ll be the first to say the EU is not at all perfect and I do have my concerns about how the UK handles immigration and its economy. Is it right for Britain to throw away 40 years membership of one of the most lucrative markets on its doorstep, not to mention once again jeopardize the continuation of the union of the UK with a possible second Scottish referendum?  What will all this mean for the creative industries? I’d love to hear your views. It’s time for UK arts professionals to speak up and vote!

Artist Kerry Zacharia’s Solo Exhibition at Starfish & Coffee London

City Roof by Artist Kerry Zacharia
City Roof by Artist Kerry Zacharia

I’m back in London and I’m very pleased announce my friend and fellow artist Kerry Zacharia will be having a solo exhibition at Starfish & Coffee from the 3rd to 30th of June as featured ‘Artist of the Month’. Starfish & Coffee is owned by actor Aykut Hilmi and supports local artists and musicians. It is situated on Aldermans Hill opposite Broomfield Park in Palmers Green. An open evening is arranged for 10th of June when Kerry talk about her art and inspiration.

The show entitled ‘London in Different Dimensions’ will showcase her London themed paintings and include a cross section of her large format paintings spanning four collections: Inner City London; London Landscapes; London Skyscapes and Love London, which have been created between 2013 and 2015. Local people may well recognise some of the park scenes from the area. Kerry’s work responds to the urban scene in an expressive graphic style that is highly individual, addressing the viewer in a very decisive and engaging way.

Kerry is a North London born artist with Greek-Cypriot origins. She displayed creative talents at a young age, but for one reason or another her career took on a different path. However, her passion for art long remained and Kerry now has an established following and exhibits primarily in London. Kerry is an artist that draws upon inspiration from the environments that she experiences and from within. Her creative vision is translated with lines, fine brush strokes, patterns and a selective range of colour within the outlines she has drawn. Kerry chooses to paint with ink on paper as she likes its fluidity and transparency but it is unforgiving, which further adds to the challenge of working in this media. Kerry is self-taught, with a style not influenced by a formal art education and  largely received as different. Kerry is looking to reach out to her local community to gain their support and following throughout her art journey.

Venue details: Starfish & Coffee, 92 Aldermans Hill, Palmers Green, London N13 4PP. www.starfishlovescoffee.com Nearest station: Palmers Green (Overground)

Artist details: Kerry Zacharia www.artistkerryzacharia.com kz64artist@googlemail.com

50 Ways to Land a Job in the Arts

Like others, I do advise creative colleagues with tips to further their careers. I also welcome advise from others as none of us know everything!  It’s common to come across other creative professionals providing tips and suggestions on how to progress with their careers but this week I was fortunate to come across an article by ArtsHub’s Australia’s Deputy Editor Madeleine Dore that provides a very comprehensive approach I wholeheartedly agree with. Moreover, a number of the suggestions can be applied to many professional disciplines. The full article ’50 ways to land a job in the arts’ is available via this link . It’s a very good read!

50 ways to land a job in the arts

 

Ittenology: Theories on Colour Explored at Rook and Raven Gallery

Yesterday I attended the private viewing of Ittenology. The show features the works of Marita Fraser and Nancy Milner who explore Johannes Itten’s theories regarding the juxtaposition of colour and its perceptual contrasts.

Australian Artist Marita Fraser lives and works in London, graduating from Sydney College of the Arts with first class Honours in 2005, continuing her studies at the Academy of Fine Art, Vienna (2006-2010). The artist has exhibited extensively across Australia and Europe. Fraser has held solo shows with James Dorahy Project Space, Sydney; Kerstin Engholm Gallery, Vienna, and Engen Stadt Museum, Germany, as well as participating in group shows in London, Manchester, Sydney, Perth, Vienna, Eindhoven, Linz, Amsterdam, Basel, Berlin and Frankfurt.

Barnsley born artist Nancy Milner, graduated from The Royal Academy Schools in 2013 and previously studied at the University of Reading. Her resume includes, Royal Academy Schools Show, London; Form from Form, Matthews Yard, London (both 2013), Premiums Interim Projects, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2012); Architectural Fragments, Apiary Studios, London (2011). Nancy won the Jerwood Purchase Prize for Painting, 2012 and was awarded the Abbey Scholarship in Painting, 2014 – 2015 at The British School in Rome.

Unfortunately, despite the merits of the artists and the theme of the show, I found the exhibition, disappointingly uneventful and lacking in energy. Personally, I would have preferred to have seen a more colourful collection of work. The lack of this made me recall a quote from Itten himself –  ’ Colour is life; for a world without colours appears to us as dead.’

However, I’m always encouraged and provoked by the work of others. I encourage you to see it and judge yourself. The show runs at the Rook and Raven Gallery London from 22nd January – 5th March, 2016. For further info please visit www.rookandraven.co.uk