Music & Art
“FORGET WHAT YOU THINK YOU KNOW ABOUT AFRICA, THE WORLD’S SECOND-LARGEST CONTINENT IS JOURNEYING TO NEW FRONTIERS. COME FACE TO FACE WITH THIS INSPIRING VISION AS YOU ADVENTURE WITH LA RINASCENTE INTO AN AFROFUTURIST DESIGN CULTURE”
With a bold statement like that, Afrofuture’s exhibition was always going to be one to explore.
The windows were designed by illustrator Emily London as inspired by Jungle Jim’s pulp fiction magazine covers. An arresting visual challenge to forgo all preconceived notions and stereotypes. Celebrating the African art of storytelling (varying across the continent), each eye-grabbing comic book type window brought to life a story. Writers and stories included Kola Boof’s ‘Modelling sucks’, Jerome Cornelius’s ‘Story from the tracks’, Jonathan Dotse’s ‘Virus!’ etc.
Curated by critic Beatrice Galilee, the interactive event and exhibition saw visitors engaged by a diverse lineup celebrating design, architecture, culture, art, music out of Africa. Activities included a carpentry workshop, talks by Kelly Berman, Design Indaba expo manager, Kunle Adeyemi the Nigerian architect, Kenyan artist Cyrus Karbiru’s C-STUNNERS in digital version, iconic and fantasy coffins from Ghana, Yuri Suzuki and Mark McKeague’s using mobile technology to conduct an orchestra of Congolese music, Christina de Middel’s photography documentary series and more.
Held at La Rinascente in Milan’s Piazza del Duomo from the 9th of April till 14th April, Afrofuture challenged one to consider, discover and explore a new vision of the African continent.
Discover more on Afrofuture at La Rinscente here.
C-STUNNERS have a certain energy and playfulness that really captures the sensibility and attitude of a youth generation in Nairobi. They portray the aspiration of popular culture bling; they reflect the ingenuity and resourcefulness of people; the lenses provide a new filter giving a fresh perspective onto the world that we live in transforming the wearer not only in appearance but in mind frame as well. – Cyrus Nganga Kabiru.
Kenyan artist Cyrus Nganga Kabiru is a self taught sculptor and painter. His work offers a wit, youthfulness and clever inventiveness which sees him play both roles of observer and avid explorer.
Press garnered by the artist includes the likes of New York Times, TED and The Cultureist. In March this year his work was shown at Frank Pictures Gallery at Bergamot Station in Los Angeles. That same month he also received a TEDGlobal fellowship and spoke at their conference for young undiscovered talent.
He is perhaps best known for his body of ongoing eyewear sculptures entitled C-STUNNERS. Each sees Kabiru resourcefully reuse and re-purpose castoffs in the creation of wearable art that not only reflects the energy of Nairobi’s youth but provides urban social commentary and births hopeful perspective.
In 1932, Charles Revson changed the beauty industry forever when he created the first red nail varnish. Modeled on car paint, it took nails from the basic transparent lacquers of the Great Depression to the iconic scarlet hue women have grown to see as a classic.Enamoured: 80 Years of Revlon was a recent retrospective exhibition as curated by the ever so talented Ryan Lanji and held at the London Film Museum. Curator Lanji (also behind the acclaimed Nailphillia 2011 show) took you on journey through 80 iconic years of the Revlon brand history. Lanji’s genius with this show is he told the revolutionary Charles Revson and Revlon story not only through the run of the mill brand archive piece but by also having a cleverly selected array of creatives give their angle on it from the perspective of their respective fields. There was nail artist Jenny Longworth’s ‘Enamoured Nails’, which is art meets nail art. This junction of both is also explored in her false nail covered bust called ‘Cherry’. There amongst the historical archives of Revlon was ‘Architecture of an Empire’ by Bobby John Patmore. Patmore’s piece comprises of an infinite number of Revlon nail varnish bottles in a giant sized Revlon nail varnish bottle. Then on what looked like rotating discs was ‘Lips and Tips by designer and artist Alex Noble. Not too far away on a wall was artist Linton Meagher’s ‘Baton Rouge’. A giant red lip made of infinite imitation lipstick tubes in resin on perspex. In Enamoured, Lanji takes you on the 80 year Revlon journey but through his inventive curative style (and the creatives he pools in), he manages to encapsulate how truly game changing the brand has been (and how it has affected multiple fields and sectors outside of the beauty industry). More on Enamoured: 80 Years of Revlon here.
WhatValentino: Master of Couture.
When29th November 2012 – 3 March 2013.
WhereEmbankment Galleries, South Wing, Somerset House, Victoria Embankment. London WC2R 1LA.
RundownThis is an extensive major retrospective on the work of couturier and high fashion designer Valentino Garavani. Better known as Valentino, his work (the couture is all painstakingly all hand stitched) known for beauty and elegance spun five decades and was synonymous with the style of icons such as Jackie Onassis, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Princess Marie-Chantal and Grace Kelly. Modern day celebrities who have worn his work include Julia Roberts (she famously wore a vintage Valentino creation in 2001 to accept her Oscar for Erin Brokovich) and Gwyneth Paltrow. Celebrating both his life and inimitable work, in the form of installation, the attendant gets to walk a sixty meter catwalk from which one hundred and sixty couture designs can be viewed (most for the very first time) on the sidelines. You not only get to discover the breath of his work (there is also a special commissioned group of films that transport you into the process of the craft of couture at the Valentino atelier) but Valentino the man is revealed as well. For tickets and further information visit here.
So much more than just an artist, the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat was so many things brilliant things at once.
Considered one of the most influential artists of all time. The work of Jean-Michel Basquiat conveyed socio-political criticism, the re-imagination of art (by Van Gogh, Picasso, Pollock, Da Vinci), anthropology and more.
This vivid, intimate honest and compelling documentary by filmmaker Tamra Davis, is built around an interview with Davis and Becky Johnston (both were friends of the artist) shot by Davis of Jean-Michel Basquiat twenty years ago.
Davis pieces her interview footage of Basquiat with close-up footage of Basquiat (both at play and painting), his work, his inspiration, rare footage of Basquiat press interviews and commentary from the likes of Fab 5 Freddy, Diego Cortez, Rene Ricard and Larry Gagosian etc.
Charting from the days of his underground text based graffiti to international acclaim. The documentary reinforces his singular and inimitable genius.
“All these hairstyles are ephemeral. I want my photographs to be noteworthy traces of them. I always wanted to record moments of beauty, moments of knowledge. Art is life. Without art, life would be frozen.”
Viewing his work is joyful enough but reading J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere’s biography really brings the context of it all home.
He went from a Brownie D camera (bought in 1950) to capturing what is probably the most extensive body of photographic work centered on Nigerian hairstyles.
The hairstyles of his subjects on the streets, at home, at work and at celebratory events.
This series, is unique in that it is entirely self funded and not commissioned and is such a large body of work, with over 1000 photos.
Hairstyles by J.D ‘Okhai Ojeikere is art that comes together to form an essential social cultural anthropological and ethnographic document.
- J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere
Discover his work.
WhatJohan Van Mullem: Movements of the Soul.
When2nd November 2012 – 24 November 2012.
WhereAndipa Gallery, 162 Walton Street, Knightsbridge, London SW3 2JL.
RundownVan Mullem who originally trained as architect is having his first solo exhibition in London. Entitled Movements of the Soul, Van Mullem depicts human faces in a rousing ephemeral manner. The Belgian figurative painter purposes to explore emotion, vision and perception over actual focus on resemblance. His background and experience informs his work. His nomadic childhood in Congo and across Europe (Van Mullen was born in Congo to a diplomat father) has affected his use of light but also has contributed to the introspective nature of his work. Further information on the exhibition here.
WhatEverything Was Moving: Photography from the 60s and 70s.
When13 September 2012 – 13 January 2013.
WhereBarbican Art Gallery.
RundownThis exhibition takes its viewer into the social and political realities of the world during the sixties and seventies through the lens of twelve key photographers. The exhibition gives historical photographic insight into key movements and issues of that time. From images of apartheid by David Goldblatt, studio shots documenting the times by Malian Malick Sidibé, photos during the Vietnam war by the late Larry Burrows, telling images capturing the Civil Rights Movement by Bruce Davidson, Northern Ireland and so on. This 20th Century photographic exhibition is a look at what was going on in the world then, an essential social documentation and reflection. Further information and ticket prices here.
The setting is usually high in texture with multiple prints. This is seen in the furniture, clothing her subjects wear and the soft furnishing. Thomas’s use of print alone is like a collage in itself and adds further dimension to the built on nature of her work.
Her chose of subjects (women, comfortable with the sensuality) suggests that Thomas’s work explores sexuality, pop culture and beauty.
More on Mickalene Thomas here.