Make Space for ‘Black Space’

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

Black Space by artist artist Jon Daniel
Black Space by artist artist Jon Daniel

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

Artist Fae Simon – Future Projects, Diversity in the Arts and her album entitled Outrospective

A few years ago I had the pleasure to blog about the very talented Fae Simon, whose track ‘New Londinium’ featured on my video Let’s Jam. We caught up recently to discuss her music, her career to date and future projects we can all look forward to knowing more about.

Q- Since your debut album ‘Melodrama’ you’ve been extremely busy touring and collaborating with various artist. What’s the theme and general inspiration for your second album?

FS- My inspiration for Outrospective was my observations of all the people I encountered while on tour with Yarah Bravo & Jehst. I saw first hand the true power of music in action; as it didn’t matter wherever we went and performed the love of music unified us all. It is also a critique of my environment, as I believe it is the responsibility of all good creatives to do so, and to try and affect change though our art.

For example, ‘Running’ is dedicated to Mark Duggan and the residents of Tottenham, following his death and the subsequent riots. I was actually stuck in the studio for 5 days unable to get home, as they’d blocked off the whole of Tottenham High Road, so it allowed me to reflect on the situation and write the song for the album.

Q- Has this album been easier to produce?

FS- No, not at all. Besides personal issues I had during the creation of the album, I had some unforeseeable and predictable obstacles to hurdle to complete it.

It was more stressful trying to get the administration of the initial collaborations finalised than actually writing and creating the music. I had to re-record some tracks with the band but they were the most fun to do and nothing can touch the sound and feeling of live music, so it worked out as it was supposed to.

 

Fae Simon - The One That Got Away Remixes
Fae Simon – The One That Got Away Remixes

Q- You’re a multi-disciplined artist. Apart from promoting the new album, what else does the immediate future hold for you?

FS- my new single ‘The One That Got Away’ is due for release in April, produced by CloudFistConceptz, with remixes by DJ Raw Sugar, Shaun Ashby & Beyond Tone. The video is due for release in 2wks, directed by Chiba Visuals.

I am making my acting debut on March 19th at the University of West London for national storytelling week, in a production called ‘Soweto Voices’. It’s raising awareness of Apartheid and celebrating South African culture.

The cast are all 25 and under, so I’m the only artist/tutor who also gets to perform, so I’m extremely excited, having studied drama from GCSE to degree, and this being my first professional drama production.

I am also raising my fine art profile this year. I have been commissioned for murals and exhibited in London, New York and Berlin, so I know I have a market, I just need to build my portfolio this year. I have been offered an exhibition in Copenhagen with a certain amazing fine artist called David Emmanuel, so I should be ready to take on the art world by then.

.
Q- Yes, the Scandinavian connection is still in the making! lol You’ve spent time in Germany, amongst other places recently. In light of the very public discussion over a lack of diversity in the arts, do you have any particular views or experiences that support a call for a greater degree of representation? 

FS – I think all people who are of an ethnic background who live and work in the West feel underrepresented.

Of course that is something that needs to be addressed, as only last week, for the first time in a long time, there was a black family in anadvert (I believe it’s the new Samsung ad) and other black people noticed enough for them to comment.

It’s a sad state of affairs when that is a noticeably surprising occurrence on television in the 21st century, so how can we be too surprised when no black actors or directors are nominated for Oscars?

I think it was last year or the year before there was public outrage when Viola Davis was called “not classically beautiful”, as opposed to Kerry Washington. Both beautiful black protagonists in major US dramas, but I guess Viola’s features were considered too classically African to be classically beautiful?

As someone who studied dance and drama to degree level, I was very much used to being the token representative for my whole race in a lot of circumstances; or the class or project would reflect the country on a microcosmic ethnic level. It amused me, as stereotypically black people are artistically creative, yet I would always be 1 of 1 or 1 of 3 – from the age of 8-21.

Since I was a child representation has meagrely improved, or is still prejudiced to the point of subliminal, (i.e. Zayn Malik’s Pillowtalk video) so we can only continue to take a stand, make some noise and continually voice the injustice or our silence will be misconstrued as acceptance.

For further information check the following links

Outrospective Album Download Link:
http://www.bbemusic.com/data.pl?release=BBE289ADG#.Vmr3pMlFDqC

Magic City Video:
http://youtu.be/rqa-3Irordc

Fae Simon on Facebook

Fae Simon on Twitter

Robel Temesgen: Art Inspired by the Ethiopian Belief of Adbar

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2016! January starts with visiting the first of a number of shows featuring inspiring art by inspiring artists.

Robel Temesgen with his work entitled 'Adbar 2'
Robel Temesgen with his work entitled ‘Adbar 2’

Tiwani Contemporary now represents Ethiopian artist Robel Temesgen and hosts his first UK solo exhibition this month. The exhibition collates a series of work inspired by the Ethiopian belief of Adbar and its associated rituals. In Amharic, the term ‘adbar’ refers to the embodiment of protective spirits within various elements of the natural landscape, such as lakes, mountains, rocks or trees. Trees, represented highly in this show, are strictly protected and act as a link between people and the spirit world. They can serve as shelter, places of worship and meeting points around which to discuss community matters.

Temesgen received an MFA from Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art, University of Tromsø, Norway in 2015, and a BFA with high distinction in Fine Art (Painting) from Addis Ababa University in 2010. He has profiled highly in the Ethiopian art scene, participating in exhibitions, workshops, residencies, festivals and conferences, both locally and internationally.

Speaking to Robel during the private viewing, I found his explanation and inspiration for producing this series of pieces as fascinating as the art itself. The show runs from January 7th to February 6th at Tiwani so if you are in London over the next month why not pop by?

On Friday 8 January, 7pm Robel Temesgen will be in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist at the Gallery. For further info please visit http://www.tiwani.co.uk/Home/Exhibitions