Monday, 22 December 2008

Pret-a-pARTager Images



Meeting room- Presentation time!



Graffiti round the city




Akinbode Akinbiyi, Friedrick Ploch and Jamika Ajalon



Workshop



Athi-Patra Ruga and one of our translators



Gomis Mamadou and Hubert Mahela




All work and no play



Myself and Zohra Opoku

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The WORK in Workshop

Five days into the Pret-a-Partager workshop and I am overwhelmed!

I consider myself to be more of an Art Writer/ Commentator through my blog and a Project Co-ordinator through my paying job, so to be labelled a Theoretician as I have been here has got me stuck in the mud.

I have no problems with theories, but the work and the way I like to promote art is more in the area of participation. Participation for me covers accessibility and in particular taking art away from the philosophers and opening it up to the people. For me Theorising can and usually stands as a summbling block as people struggle to grasp concepts.

Reading through previous posts and articles I have written, one thing I can definetly say about my style of writting is that it is tres relaxed. I'm more likely to say 'so and so shows this through bla bla bla' than 'so and so reflects this by means of bla bla bla'. I will definetely have to watch my language. I suppose in referencing the work I am doing here, my blog is smart/casual, while my report will definetly be black tie!

However I will try and produce a piece which meets both mine and the organisations objectives.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Dakar Update

I've been here barely two day but I have had the opportunity to socialise with artists from the field of fashion, photography, installation and film (to name a few). The project I am here to do is a Fashion and Art workshop, which will take place over the next 7 days.

My first task here was to deliver a presentation on African Fashion, which I almost fell off my seat at hearing. After much deliberation I decided it was too broad a topic and narrowed it down to my area of interest 'Body Image Satisfaction' and 'Identity', I used myself as a case study cause I'm just that vain, lol. Actually it relates a lot to the issues I faced when moving Nigeria, where my challenge was retaining who I was, while in Lagos, something I had struggled to do on previous occassions.

If you know anything about Nigeria you will know that fashion is a very important part of almost every womans life, its not a hobby but a life style. The obsession with brand and elitism are more rife than in England, primarily do to the fact that there is not really a middleclass. Suddenly my casual clothes, that had character in London felt like rags.

I have always expressed myself through my body image and style and I felt challenged as too wether or not I wanted to conform or co-exsist.I choose to learn more about my identity, I examined my style and what message I was giving off. Taking a lot of influence of Pan-African dress/ Afro-centric styles in my dress I asked myself qustions such as 'Am I trying to look African'/ 'was it possible to try too look African when you are African'? At the time I was really into consius hip hop (still am) and came too realise that that I was assimilating the styles I felt fitted into this subculture.

As it happenes I was able to find myself when I lost the need to belong in either the Nigerian high society or the hip hop head crew. In London I had to battle the weather and that really hindered my expression as I get cold really really easily. In Nigeria I embrace the weather and find that it works well for me, in that I dont have to deal so much with layering, but can now stick to lighter fabrics and statement pieces!

We begin work in the Atelier tomorrow I hope to have a final piece at the end of the workshop, if not, I at least hope to have learnt alot from my colleages. I do hope to add images but the internet is acting up tonight.

Oh Pardon, I forgot to say how important language is in this line of work, especially for me as I hope to work extensively in Western Africa. If your thinking of working in Africa its worth having a second language skill such as French, or if your thinking of working in Europe from the continent I advise German, English and French. This trip has seriously challenged me to get my 'Learn french fast' tapes out of the closet and parlez!

Au revoir pour maintenant

ma francais c'est terrible!

x

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Fashion Forward



Im on my way to Dakar to participate in a workshop around Fashion and Art. Looking at the delegate list last night I had more than a slight complex!
I am however looking forward to gaining insite into their work and networking with artists and fashion designers based on the continent so I cant really complain! Plus Darkar I am told is such a beautiful city, I look forward to blogging from there.

Here is a list of some interesting Nigerian designers/ artists working with cloth.

Deola Sagoe: http://www.deolasagoedesign.com/

Sokari Douglas Camp: http://www.sokari.co.uk/ (SEE ASOEBI)

Yinka Shonibare: www.yinka-shonibare.co.uk/

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

One Giant Leap for Mankind


I tried not to get too involved in the presidential election in America, after all I don't live there and have no right to vote. BUT today I witnessed something that has moved me beyond belief! That the current president of the United States of America is of African decent is not a small matter.

For a long time I questioned why people were voting for him and whether or not they took the time to read his policies, I assumed it was solely because he was Black.In a bid to dispel this many friends directed me to his policies and to video footage of him speaking (He truly is articulate and actually mesmerising to watch).

A friend was relaying that a friend of his watched his grandma cry at the results as there was a time when she herself could not vote, yet here she was watching an African American become president. This was history in the making, and that which was being felt by individuals as well as communities.

There are times when we feel that making a stand will not produce a result, but this election has shown that there are those that stand (strong) and make the impossible possible!

Monday, 3 November 2008

Almost Famous



Having just spent time working in the field of video art I stumbled across the Fifteen Seconds of Fame site, which is running alongside the Andy Warhol exhibition currently at the Hayward gallery. The site runs on the premise of Warhol's famous quote 'In the future everyone will have their fifteen minutes of fame'

The site invites people to enter a fifteen second clip of them self in order to compete for a screening of their clip at the Hayward as well as other Warhol goodies.

Have fun

http://www.15secs.tv/competition.php

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Through the Looking Glass

I have spent the better half of this week supervising a Video Art Workshop here in Lagos and its been really exciting working with artist from around Nigeria who work in a broad range of arts, from sound art to photography, poetry to performance. Most of the artists were experiencing Video Art for the first time and now they are really running with it! See http://artspeakafrica.blogspot.com/ for more info. The workshop has been run by members of theoneminutes organisation, who work with video art that lasts only a minute, see www.theoneminutes.org, also see my residencies section for their current open call.

Watching the artist work made me a little jealous as I would love to produce my own piece (when you work in arts admin you sometimes wonder whether or not you should be producing work)! I had a lot of encouragement from the lead artists and the participants who pushed me to come up with a concept. Having worked in both poetry and fashion I gravitated to these two areas of interest. Unfortunately time was not permitting to actually make my film (I do intend to one day bring my ideas to life), but it was nice to think about producing something.

If you cant wait for me to get my film finished you can get a bit more info on poetryfilm at www.poetryfilm.com or check out www.fashioninfilm.com.

Fashion in Film at Friday Late at the V&A
Friday 31 October 2008, 19:15 till late

Fashion in Film presents a new programme at French Connection Friday Late at the V&A, in conjunction with Cold War Modern.
Under socialism, fashion was essentially anti-capitalist and anti-consumerist. The "clothing culture" was supposed to aid the “all-round development of the socialist personality”, but the centrally-planned clothing that resulted often didn't fit the desires. In this programme we present some of the most eloquent newsreels and documentaries from post-war East Germany and Czechoslovakia exploring the rhetoric of "socialist fashion". Spanning restrained modernist taste, the majestic International Fashion Congresses, fashion espionage and the mockery of “Western” extravagance, the programme reveals complex issues and tensions, showing fashion as a key player in Cold War propaganda.
Curated by Renate Stauss and Marketa Uhlirova and presented in association with BFI Southbank. With thanks to Progress Film-Verleih GmbH and Kratky Film Praha.
For more detail visit the Friday Late website: www.vam.ac.uk/fcfridaylate + click October

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Catch a Vibe

I want to direct you to the fantastic new site http://www.catchavibe.co.uk/

Catch a Vibe is the new site from the people who brought you www.sayitloud.org.uk. It was with Say It Loud that I first started commenting on art and theater by writing reviews, so I am very happy to see them moving on and up!

Do visit the site which offers information on Afro-Caribbean arts/ entertainment in and around London, film/music/book reviews and much much more! Also if you think yourself a budding writer why not get in touch with them about doing a piece.

http://www.catchavibe.co.uk/

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

VIDEO ART WORKSHOP CALL FOR APPLICANTS

Hi all,

I would normally include this in my residencies/ opportunities section but as its something I'm working on I decided to make it a full on post. It takes place in Lagos so if you or anyone you know is interested please pass on the details.

I am really interested to see what is happening in Africa in the way of video art and new media and I welcome the programme. Having had the chance to speak with the artist Goddy Leye I see that there is definitely a presence within the continent and I am interested to hear a bit more. If you are a video artists based in Africa or in the diaspora it would be lovely to hear from you as the contemporary arts organisation I am working with has committed to promoting the art form throughout 2009.

Other exciting news: I have just started blogging for artsadmin. My first post is up alongside some really great articles: http://artsadminartsblog.blogspot.com/

VIDEO ART WORKSHOP

The Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos is pleased to present its first video art workshop programme for 2008/9. Following in the steps of its successful first workshop in Enugu in 2007, The One Minute Foundation will lead the training.

Workshop Content Includes

  • Screening of existing One Minute Video selected from over 60 countries.
  • Discussion on content and style of the video
  • Introduction to different video art approaches
  • Development of participants own ideas – storyboard, visual concept etc.
  • Implementation of ideas and editing of individual works
  • Screening of video art works to a public audience
  • Receipt of a dvd of the workshop, a cd of individual work/s


Dates: Monday 27th October – Saturday 1st November (6 days) 9am – 6pm
Venue: Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos, 9McEwen Street, Off Queens Street, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos

Workshop Level: Beginners

Target Audience: Artists. Experience and/or interest in the visual arts preferable. Emphasis is on talent, motivation and a keen interest in experimenting in new forms of artistic production.

Fee:N2,500 non-refundable (first come first serve basis only) Spaces are limited.

For more information call Oyinda on 07055680104 or email Oyinda@ccalagos.org

Application closes 5pm, Sunday 19th October 2008

The One Minutes Foundation is a non profit organisation stimulating the making and showing of audio-visual works that last exactly one minute. It is initiated by the Sandberg Institute, the postgraduate programme of the Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam. www.sandberg.nl.

Funded by the Mondriaan Foundation.

Coming in Jan 2009!

2nd Intensive 2week International Video Art Workshop.

Register Now

Thursday, 2 October 2008

If you view my blog via Taking It Global

If you keep up to date with my posts via the Taking It Global site do visit the Blogger page. You will be able to find opportunities/ residencies that can not be viewed via that version:
http://alter-native-me.blogspot.com/

Poetry International 2008


Friday 24 October 2008 - Saturday 1 November 2008
Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road
London SE1 8XX

Poetry International 2008 is about freedom. It celebrates poetry’s enduring ability to transcend doctrine, spin and censorship, to confirm, in John Berger’s words that ‘in the world we live in today poetry is an unbowed, unspinned means of communication’.
We celebrate poetry in translation by looking at Palestine, magnified in significance by the untimely death of Mahmoud Darwish. Speechless presents poetry beyond censorship from South East Asia.

Six Seasons evokes the poetic moods of Bengal through text and music, and some of the greats in world poetry, including Jorie Graham, Mark Doty and Tomas Venclova, read from their latest work. Look out too for Lemn Sissay’s specially curated installation running throughout the festival and join us for a reading from his new collection, Listener.

My picks from the festival are:

Sean O'Brien
Sunday 26 October 2008
Sean O'Brien, one of the great poet critics of our age, gives this year's TS Eliot Prize lecture.

Power in the Voice
Monday 27 October 2008
Power in the Voice is a British Council project that celebrates young people finding their voices through spoken word, performance poetry, rap, storytelling and the oral tradition.

Lemn Sissay
Wednesday 29 October 2008
It's been seven years since Lemn Sissay wrote Morning Breaks in the Elevator.

Jean Binta Breeze and Linton Kwesi Johnson
Thursday 30 October 2008
Jean Binta Breeze presents new poetry and spoken word with an urban flavour - the next generation of performers on the London scene.


While your there why not stop off at the Saison Poetry Library, 5th Floor Royal Festival Hall. The library houses the largest selection on contemporary poetry (1912- onwards) in England, comprising of a audio, written and visual poetry. The library is a public lending library and can be joined on providing a proof of any UK address (bill, bank statement)


http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/
http://www.poetrylibrary.org.uk



Thursday, 25 September 2008

I'm in London for a Week


So I've popped into London for a wedding and over the week I found time to catch the last day of 'The House of Victor and Rolf', chill out at the Plain Jane's launch night 'Firsts', Visit the Southbank (love it) and plan an event with Artsadmin and I am Thinktank, 'Ive Got 2012 Seconds to (Lo)go' (I'm trying to decide whether or not to do a photo journal to illustrate this. Hmmm, OK maybe 2mrrw).


The event takes place on Saturday at Toynbee Hall Aldgate East. Do stop by if your looking for an alter-native way to spend your Saturday + its FREE!!!!


Details below:


Please book online here to avoid disappointment as there is limited capacity to these events http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase?agency=ARTSADMIN&organ_val=25906&schedule=list&event_val=0057


Youth led programming at Artsadmin


Through out the past year Artsadmin has worked with over 100 young people on various Live Art projects. Artsadmin At Home gives our participants a chance to showcase their skills, imaginations and creativity.Our young people have spent the last few weeks preparing projects that give you a peek at what it is like to take part in an education program here at Artsadmin.


SATURDAY 27th 2.30pm

Starting things of with a bang will be AfroLata and their one-off appearance here at Toynbee Studios. AfroLata are the younger, fiery members of AfroReggae, whose new show, Favelization, is set to storm the Barbican this September.Using everything from drums to tins to play on, AfroLata create music that will have you dancing all over Spitalfields.


SATURDAY 27th 3.15pm - onwards

Straight after join us in The Courtroom for some Olympic themed karaoke followed by a two thousand and twelve second long workshop titled 'I’VE GOT 2012 SECONDS TO (LO)GO'. A chance for you to create an accessible, new image for everyone wanting to get involved with London 2012 – free limited edition doughnuts and tea available to all participants.


SUNDAY 28TH 2pm

On Sunday at 2pm you will have the final opportunity to see what happened during the Artsadmin Summer School 2008. The group will lead you through a series of exercises they have designed to give you a sneaky peek at what they got up to last month.Also showing will be a film and images from the performance From The Top.



Tuesday, 23 September 2008

October Events

Seun Kuti and Egypt 80
5-6 October, 2008
Cargo, Rivington Street, Shoreditch, London

Seun Kuti is Fela Anikulapo Kuti's youngest son. Seun's father, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, was Nigeria's most beloved popular musician and most acerbic social critic until his death in 1997.Seun started learning to play saxophone and piano when he was eight, and not a year later he was already performing in front of live audiences. He began his career as support band for his father's band, Egypt 80. It is with this same band that he now performs; meaning that Seun is just about the youngest in the band; all of whom have performed with the legendary Fela Kuti on stage.

Seun Kuti songs, are filled with the corruption, ignorance, malady, sadness, pollution and the many other ills that ravage contemporary Africa, but none the less are absolute musical treasures, flamboyant, jubilatory songs that make you want to get up and dance. With the same energetic and booming voice as Fela, Seun has added his own raging rhythm clearly influenced by rap. He cites Chuck D, Dr Dre and Eminem among his musical heroes. Seun has been playing with Fela’s Egypt 80 for the last 20 years, making them more than just an orchestra, they are a musical family who have the absolutely terrifying precision of the rhythmic reflexes down to the thousandth of a second that makes their ultra-syncopated polyphony the perfect ‘swing/funk’ model. Seun Kuti is a great live performer with charisma and energy radiating from every pore.

Having packed out The Barbican Seun Kuti will now perform in a more intimate setting, where you can move your feet to the sounds of the true heir to Fela Kuti's throne. For more information:www.myspace.com/seunkutiwww.cargo-london.com/event/seun-kuti-felas-egypt-80-0


Public Debate: What is The Future of Art Education?
Ikon Gallery, 1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace
Birmingham, B1 2HS
Monday 6 October 2008, 6.30-8.30pm

A debate about the future of art education is raging on the pages of Art Monthly. In October readers will have the opportunity to come along and put their questions to our panel of educational professionals. The panel will debate the future of art education – is further privatisation, corporatisation and instrumentalism inevitable or are there alternatives? Each of the panellists will answer the question What is The Future of Art Education? Before opening up the debate to the floor.

Panellists:
Pavel Büchler, artist and lecturer and Manchester Metropolitan University
Phyllida Barlow, artist and former lecturer at Slade
Michael Corris, writer and Professor of Fine Art, Art & Design Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield
Vaughan Grylls, artist and Director of Kent Institute of Art and Design, 1996-2005
Chaired by Patricia Bickers, Editor of Art MonthlyRead all the articles from this debate at www.artmonthly.co.uk

1968 and all that
Will the 40th anniversary of the 1968 protests inspire today's students to demand radical improvements in art education?
Students at the London College of Communication have had enough and have officially registered their dissatisfaction by demanding the return of their fees in protest at staff shortages and the lack of organisation. Staff, for their part, are over-burdened by bureaucracy, rising student numbers, low pay and low self-esteem. Vice chancellors, meanwhile, are focused on corporate-style branding and the commissioning of gleaming new buildings. The legacies of St Martins School of Art in the 60s, or Goldsmiths in the 80s, should serve as reminders that it is not buildings that make for a dynamic teaching environment but people.Extract from editorial April 2008

Mayday Mayday
The sad truth about art education today is that New Labour has finished what Thatcher started
Ironically, Thatcher's plans for factory-style education were only to be truly achieved under New Labour. It was the setting up of the dreaded inquisition, the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), by the first New Labour government in 1998, barely one year after the election, which made the institutionalisation of what Stephen Lee in his letter aptly describes as 'educational Taylorism' possible. The QAA, and its spawn, the Teaching Quality Assurance (TQA), became the means by which the product, broken down into bite-sized pieces as a result of the imposition of American-style modularisation, could be tested. Since the government had already begun to refer to the arts as the 'creative industries', a term first coined when Labour was still in opposition, this must have seemed like a perfect fit between the so-called 'aims' and 'outcomes' of an art education.Extract from editorial May 2008

Can't Get No Satisfaction
Anyone considering studying fine art (at undergraduate level) in England and Wales should google the National Student Satisfaction Survey, particularly the Results By Institution. Six of the bottom ten are or were art schools. Bottom of the survey, that is to say the 'least satisfactory', is the University of the Arts London. This will come as no surprise to anyone who has studied or taught there recently.Extract from letter by Graham Crowley published in April 2008

Educational Taylorism
I can appreciate the current state of educational Taylorism and the overbearing, corporate-style management that Graham Crowley describes. The corporate model is a powerful one. It tends to be one-dimensional and seamless, where accountability and success can be clearly measured. To understand the impact of the corporatisation of art schools it's important, I think, to examine the language or jargon used to organise and disseminate learning, then look at the extent to which fine art students adopt this language. Fine art graduates talk of promotion and marketing, or finding a niche market for their work. If a critic writes about a graduate student's work, the artist may not necessarily see this as participation in an independent critical arena. On the contrary it's likely they may see it as an opportunity to gain an additional promotional tool with which to market their work. My point is that the corporate model is pervasive in our wider culture industryExtract from letter by Stephen Lee published in May 2008

Creative Industries
Estelle Morris posed three questions for debate. 'Will the structure in the paper - with all its committees - actually damage creativity? Will the accountability mechanisms jeopardise risk-taking? And, will mainstreaming discourage some people from wanting to work in the creative sector in the first place?' Extract from report on the government's new strategy document Creative Britain: New Talents for a New Economy published July-August 2008

This event is free but booking recommendedTo book call 0121 248 0708

Yinka Shonibare at the MCA Sydney

By far one of my favourite artist, Yinka Shonibare, is being exhibited at the Sydney based Museum of Contemporary Art. See below for more details:

The Museum of Contemporary (MCA), Sydney announces a major mid-career survey of works by British-born Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE.

Yinka Shonibare MBE works across diverse media to explore ideas about African contemporary identity and the legacy of European colonialism in the present. Shonibare's art considers social class and aesthetics, and is characterised by the use of recurring visual symbols such as Dutch wax fabric. This exhibition presents twelve years of the artist's career, encompassing painting, sculpture, large-scale mixed media installations, photography and film. It is curated by MCA Senior Curator Rachel Kent who has worked closely with the artist on its realisation.

Yinka Shonibare MBE is accompanied by a 224 page monograph by Prestel Publishing. It features major essays by Rachel Kent and American art historian Dr Robert Hobbs; a comprehensive interview between the artist and Dr Anthony Downey, London; reproductions of exhibited and contextual works; and biographical information on the artist.

Yinka Shonibare MBE is on display at the MCA from 24 September 2008 until 1 February 2009. It will then tour to the Brooklyn Museum, New York from 26 June – 20 September 2009; and the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. from 11 November 2009 – 7 March 2010.

Exhibition dates: 24 September 2008 until 1 February 2009
Exhibition cost: Free entry

Contact information:
Museum of Contemporary Art
West Circular Quay, Sydney, Australia
www.mca.com.au +61 2 9245 2400

Yinka Shonibare MBE
24 September 2008 - 1 February 2009Museum of Contemporary ArtWest Circular Quay, Sydney, Australiahttp://www.mca.com.au

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Sorry, again!

Ok so I have been so busy with Camp I have neglected my blog. I am so sorry!

I had a scroll down my page and I can see a need to tidy it up a bit (my opportunities bit is in need of updating).
No worries, camp is over and out and I have dedicated tomorrow to getting you up to speed on things in London and Lagos, ooh and there are pix!

Plus I was told that its hard for people who arent bloggers to leave feedback so if you have any for me good or bad ( I can handle it), then you can email me at layobrown@yahoo.com.

Merci
x

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

The Book Club

It is amazing how much more free time I find I have when I'm in Nigeria, I actually read a book in two days, time I just could not spare in England. To capitalise on this I have decided to join a book club, started by a very good friend of mine and open to all.


Please see details below if your in the area:


A story is always better if you have someone to share it with. For those who enjoy literature and for those who wished they did!!! This is an exciting and new way to come, discuss, review and express your thoughts regarding a book you have read.


We intend to read a book every fortnight then come together to share our views and opinions. We will rotate through themes and genre’s, for example, African literature, Asian literature, autobiographies, Romance, Classics etc. But to start with we will be discussing Half of a Yellow Sun, By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.


It will be a fantastic and fun way to get a better understanding of the books. As this is a group exercise, it will mean that everyone gets to participate and at a point pick a book for the group to read.In general, we would really be putting the fun back into reading. Most importantly we can make new friends and form good relationships through a shared interest.


Initial Meeting: Saturday 13th/09/08

Time: 2pm

Venue: Posh Café, Mega Plaza, Idowu Martin’s St, Lagos

Please bring 2 book suggestions!!!Jot down the pages that you enjoyed and would like to discuss

Email: wonuu@hotmail.com

Friday, 29 August 2008

Laughing in a Foreign Language

When you move it always takes a bit of time to adjust. This is true when moving house, county and more so when moving country. Had it not been for my last few days in Youth Service I would have been tempted back into my holiday mentality. I am now officially a Lagos State Youth Corper and have had to shake off my London Swagger in order to fit in.

This was and continues to be easier said than done as I found myself speaking not only in my full English accent but also using statements like " I have been waiting ages for my uniform' to which I was met with a roar of laughter as my officers and fellow corpers proceeded to mock me.

However I am a soldier (well actually I'm a Youth Corper but there's not much difference) and I intend to make it out the other side ALIVE!

Now with every institution there are rules and regulations that must be followed i.e do not use the internet to browse porn at work, equal rights, etc. With Youth service there are a host of right and wrongs with laughable penalties. For instance you can be fine 1,000N (approx 4 quid) or face 4-6 months in jail for wearing an NYSC uniform when you are not serving. I intend to see how many people I can get to don my uniform even in the face of such terrifying consequences, lol.
I will provide pictorial proof!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

The Supremes Exhibiton Pictures as Promised!

I really Loved this poem, I though it was very powerful!




The exhibition as a whole was moving in its profiling of the racial struggles but also in relation to the music on play.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Arts Jobs South Africa

The Africa Centre is a Section 21 Company based in Cape Town , dedicated to supporting and celebrating the rich history and contemporary practice of African arts and culture.

General Manager

Responsibility: To ensure the smooth functioning of the Centre and the effective administration of its various projects.
Requirements: At least ten years experience in managing medium scale organisations; proven administrative skills; effective people management skills; high level computer literacy; experience in devising and monitoring budgets; knowledge of, or an interest in the creative sector; own transport.

Communications and Marketing Manager

Responsibility: To ensure regular communication with the Africa Centre's stakeholders and to coordinate effective marketing, communication and media plans for its various projects.
Requirements: Excellent writing skills; at least five years experience in marketing, publicity or PR; knowledge of or interest in the creative sector; sound relationships with the media; excellent computer skills; training and/or experience in web-based communication and own transport. French would be a recommendation.

Researcher

Responsibility: To update and maintain a comprehensive portal on African Arts, Culture and Heritage
Requirements: MA degree in the Humanities or Arts Admin; research skills; excellent computer and web-based skills; verbal and written fluency in English and French would be a strong recommendation; an interest in culture, good communication skills; flexibility to travel and undertake field research.

Receptionist/Administrative assistant

Responsibility: To coordinate the flow of information within the organisation and provide administrative assistance as required.
Requirements: Excellent communication skills; administrative experience and skills; sound computer skills; ability to work under pressure and to multi-task.

Fundraiser

Responsibility: To raise funds for the Africa Centre and its various projects, and to build and maintain sound relationships with donor partners.
Requirements: Excellent budgeting and financial management skills; effective communication skills; a passion for fundraising; a commitment to the African creative sector; at least five years of fundraising experience.

Project Managers

Responsibility: To coordinate and manage major and minor cultural projects.
Requirements: Excellent organisational, planning, administrative, computer, writing, financial management and communication skills; flexibility, initiative; ability to work under pressure; own transport.

Arterial Network Project Manager

The Arterial Network is an informal, dynamic network of individuals and organisations that aims to advance the African creative sector and cultural industries. The Network is independent of the Africa Centre which provides it with infrastructural support.

Responsibility: To manage the affairs of the Arterial Network on a day-to-day basis.
Requirements: See Project Managers above; excellent verbal and writing skills in English and French.

The Africa Centre is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment both to local employment equity and to representation of the broader African continent in its staff component.

To apply for one of these positions, please send a covering letter motivating your suitability for the position, a CV and the names and contact details of two referees to Staff Applications, Africa Centre; PO Box 137, Lynedoch, 7603, South Africa or info@africacentre.net by Monday 25 August 2008. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interviews by 31 August 08. See www.africacentre.net for more information about the Africa Centre.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Stop in the Name of Love






THE STORY OF THE SUPREMES FROM THE MARY WILSON COLLECTION
13th May- 19th October 2008
Victoria and Albert Museum
South Kensington

Exhibition opening times
Daily 10.00-17.30(last ticket sold 16.45, last entry 17.00)Fridays 10.00-21.30(last ticket sold 20.45, last entry 21.00)
Advance telephone and online booking
By phone on +44 (0)870 906 3883 (more than 48 hours prior to visit only)£5.90 adults, senior citizens, full time students, ES40 holdersIncludes booking fee per ticketOnline booking £5 adults, senior citizens, full time students, ES40 holdersPlus £1 handling charge per transaction

In person at the V&A – in advance or on day of visit
£5 adults, senior citizens, full time students, ES40 holdersNo handling charge or booking fee
Concessions, Groups and Member Rates
Half price tickets for Art Fund and D&AD members. Free to under 18s, disabled people and up to two carers, V&A Members and Patrons and pre-booked educational groups

Yesterday I spent the afternoon at the V&A and oh what a treat it was.

The current exhibition 'The Story of the Supremes from the Mary Wilson Collection' combines the history of the ladies (which included the very talented Miss Ross, Diana Ross for you youngsters), with the socio-political struggles of the African American community (principally the Civil Rights Movement).

The exhibition had me glued from the minute I stepped foot inside it. Welcomed by bejewelled gowns, and stunning images of the times, all the while familiar hits like 'you cant hurry love' played in the background. If I wasn't glued to Martin Luther King declaring his 'dream' I was shimmying through the walk ways trying not to break into a dance routine.

It was clearly portrayed that not only was this a talented, record holding group but this was a talented Black Female group who at such a heightened time in race relations, found there way into the hearts and homes of White America. There stand may have not been in the street but it was just as hard and broke barriers that entertainers today should definitely be grateful for.

One great thing about this exhibition is that (unlike most), it does allow (flash-less) photography and if like me you are a sucker for a good dress and have a great tailor then get over there and start snapping!

I would include my pics but i dont want any copying going on, lol. No, I just havent been able to upload them to my computer. Will do sometime over the weekend!

http://www.vam.ac.uk/microsites/supremes/

http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/theatre_performance/exhibition_supremes/index.html

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Oh Dear

I have been so preoccupied with getting ready for my move to Nigeria that my blog has been neglected these last few weeks. I will however be uploading some new information as the week progresses.

Sorry and thanks for the support!

Re-Imagine Nigeria @ CCA Lagos

Date Saturday 16th August 2008 2pm - 4.30pm
Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos9 McEwen Street, Off Queen Street, Sabo,Opp Methodist Church, Herbert Macaulay St, Lagos.
Telephone 0702 8367106

The session will start with a presentation titled:"Re-Imagine Nigeria" – which focuses on the possibilities of young artists getting involved with helping shape a more positive external view of Nigeria via artists exchange programs that encourage cultural diplomacy. Artists Ndubuisi Nduwhite Ahanonu and Harrison Ikibah will present a review of their visit to the cultural diplomacy symposium in Berlin and share with us their experiences and findings.

Margie Johnson Reese is the Program Officer for Media, Arts and Culture for the Ford
Foundation's Office for West Africa based in Lagos, Nigeria. Margie is most noted for her ability to initiate partnerships among unlikely collaborators and her passion for global culture exchange has led her to focus her expertise on developing programs that lead to sustainable cultural institutions. She devotes her spare time to mentoring young arts managers and to helping position arts and cultural programs as a mechanism for influencing diplomatic relationships and foreign policy development.

Margie Reese is a seasoned arts management professional with over 30 years experience in cultural planning, cultural facility development and arts education advocacy. She has worked in Chief Executive positions for the city of Dallas, Texas and the city of Los Angeles, California, where she is noted for launching the city's International Cultural Exchange Program and the successful city-wide music education program, Music L.A.! She has consulted in numerous states in the US and served as advisor in all areas of cultural management and policy development.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Experimental Frontiers

Society Through The Eyes of South African and Nigerian Artists

Vansa Western Cape Space
8-10 Spin Street Cape Town,
8018, South Africa

7-12 August 2008
Opening on 7th August at 17hrs.

Curator: Okey Nwafor


Nigeria and South Africa have not really been juxtaposed under the platform of the visual arts. Despite epochal positions occupied by these two countries in the African art scene curators have never thought it expedient to bring these countries face to face under art. Both countries although have had cause to work together in different creative quests have never engaged each other under changing artistic paradigm.

This exhibition is conceptualized not only as an important occasion to address the above theme but also to compare the extent of experimental motivations among younger artists from both countries. The exhibition hopes to interrogate how society has influenced their creative production contextually and formally. Are their motivations socially relevant? Or have their creativities resonated with mere fantastic balderdash? Have they made statements considered as mere rhetoric by the society or have they defied all humanly imposed fear to speak in a manner that reminds one of the emotional temper of 19th Century Romanticism? Diderot notes of two qualities essential for the artist, “Is it socially relevant?” and “is it true?” If this statement is anything worth interrogating then this exhibition has done so in a manner that draws attention to these artists’ sense of seeing. The exhibition tries to initiate debate around the society, the meanings and the purpose of art.

Exhibiting Artists
1. Bright Eke
2. Amarachi Okafor
3. Ozioma Onuzulike
4. Chike Obeagu
5. Dan Halter
6. Stuart Bird
7. Ndidi Dike


Okey Nwafor is a student of African Programme in Museum and Heritage Studies, a programme of the University of the Western Cape, University of Cape Town and Robben Island Museum. He has a BA in Fine and Applied Arts from the department of Fine and Applied Arts of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and MFA from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria. He has traveled widely and participated in numerous international workshops and exhibitions. He is a member of the Pan African Circle of Artists. He is also a poet and writer.

I have had the pleasure of meeting both Ndidie Dike and Ozioma Onzulike and highly recommend their work. If you find yourself in SA over that period do visit and let me know how it was!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Vogue Italia Robbed Me

I made up my mind about purchasing this months Italian Vogue pretty much as soon as I heard about the all black issue. I read a lot of comments both for and against buying it but stuck to my guns. Checking in WH Smith religiously for a sign of the issue, I started to think it may just be hoax, after all no one had actually seen a hard copy let alone held it.

It was after coming across a supposed release date that my heart again warmed to the reality of owning a copy. I made my way once again to WH Smith and to my astonishment is was still Linda Evangelista staring back at me. This was the last straw! I proceeded to Google the issue and pay another visit to the Italian site. As usual Ebay is always the top result and I decided to click on the link. You can just imagine the look on my face when I saw approximately 8 copies on auction, a couple of which were available to 'buy now' for £20. The tag line read 'Sold out in Newsagents'. My heart could take no more of this! Was this magazine all it was hyped up to be!?!

Friday night, my friend makes the same trip home, only this time all four copies of Vogue stare back at her!

10:20am Saturday morning we meet, 10:30 we both decide the Naomi cover will be more of a collectors item 10:35 off to work.

10:40 I'm ripping open the plastic wrapper and preparing to take my bite out of the magazine. I begin by flipping through the pages expecting to see more black models than I could handle. Page one- society parties, I see what I think is one black image, no she is just tanned. flick, the same body of introductory advertisements as UK Vogue, some things are just universal. Flick, Naomi, Flick, Naomi again. OK so its clear that I must be skipping a lot of pages because so far not so good.

I decide to go page by page, I should have done this to start, I discover some amazing images.
I wonder why I had jumped ship without really giving the magazine a chance, only to reach the end. It was one of those 300+ page magazines, you know the type and I just felt short changed. I handed over £6.80, yes it was better than the ebay price, but this was daylight robbery.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

The Public as Art?

I am really starting to question my own perception of what constitutes as art. I am challenged daily as I take alternate strides to forming my own art history knowledge. From found art to art activism and now the public as art, it is fair to say there is still very much to be learnt.


I stumbled across this article and I would really like to know what other people think about 'Work No. 850' and also the 'Fourth Plinth'. Do these constitute as art?



Artworks that put the public centre stage
Laura Barton
Wednesday July 2, 2008



A volunteer runs through Tate Britain as part of Martin Creed's Work No 850. Photograph: Reuters
Every 30 seconds they hurtle through the gallery, short, damp breath stirring the dry museum air. These are the runners who have been recruited for Work No 850, Martin Creed's latest exhibition at Tate Britain. Creed, who was awarded the Turner prize in 2001 and became notorious for exhibiting a lightbulb going on and off, was inspired to create the piece after a hurried visit to the catacombs of the Capuchin monks in Palermo. "This work celebrates physicality and the human spirit," the Tate website explains. "Bringing together people from different backgrounds from all over London, Work No 850 presents the beauty of human movement in its purest form, a recurring yet infinitely variable line drawn between two points." It also, apparently, returns to one of the principal themes of Creed's work: "the relationship between art and reality, art and life".


The mingling of art and reality is something that appears to be on the rise, with a number of artists enlisting members of the public to help create their work. Antony Gormley, for example, has proposed public auditions for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, with each volunteer occupying the plinth for an hour - a work of art sure to satisfy a society still besotted with reality television. Since the early 1990s, Spencer Tunick has been photographing large groups of nudes in public places, from 1,700 naked people on the quaysides in Gateshead and Newcastle to 18,000 of them in Mexico City's principal square. All his nudes are volunteers who are given a limited edition photograph for their efforts.

And the organisation Artangel was launched with the specific intention of developing "projects and events that extend opportunities for collaboration and participation". Work has included the Margate Exodus, which recreated the events of the Book of Exodus in the seaside town, and involved 5,000 members of the public.

To find his 50 runners, Creed advertised in running magazines and at sports clubs. Each is paid £10 an hour to, as Creed put it, "sprint as if their lives depended on it" along the length of the 85-metre gallery. There are limits to the level of interaction in Work No 850, however; the gallery stipulates that, "for reasons of safety, we ask the public not to run or obstruct the runners".

Friday, 4 July 2008

English National Ballet @ the Southbank Centre

Last night I was lucky enough to attend the English National Ballet show @ the Royal Festival Hall (RFH) and it was fantastic. I cant pretend to be well versed in the art of Ballet, but I definitely appreciate the beauty and strength in each movement.




If you are in the area/ free this weekend definitely try and get down to the showing or attend some of the free events and workshops taking place on the Clore ballroom in the RFH. There are also opportunities to watch the cast rehearse.

If you've never been to the ballet then do take the opportunity to see some of the best dancers in the UK take centre stage at such an amazing venue. Also, if like me you are so easily distracted then I'm here to say that the ballet is so for you. Each act is broken down to bite sized scenes that are so visually stimulating you wont be thinking about what to have for dinner.

more info: http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/festivals-series/english-national-ballet

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Jay-Z live at Glastonbury 2008

Jay-Z tore it up at Glastonbury on the weekend, silencing critics such as Noel Gallagher who proceeded to rubbish Jay-z’s selection as the headliner. I read and laughed as people wrote into London papers saying how s**t Jay-Z was. First of all most of these people probably couldn’t distinguish between his songs let alone give any reason for using such derogatory/ strong language other that ‘Money, Ho’s and Clothes’ and in Jigga’s words ‘What kind of facts are those?’

Even if you don’t listen to a certain type of music is it right to say it is s**t, I mean a multi-platinum artist like Jay Z???? Most of the bands that play Glastonbury seem only to be big in this little island called the UK and could no way compete in terms of fans or records sold. I mean I understand the festival is meant to be about guitar bands but what about sheer entertainment and showmanship? Well I guessed Jigga showed up and showed off!

Now I am no whelly wearer or a camp out side for a gig type of girl but the prejudice I witnessed surrounding this event left me with a bitter taste in my mouth, leading to this rant!

I pay attention to lyrics in music and to say that all they get from his music is bling, guns and drugs is hilarious when all I see from most of these bands (e.g Baby shambles, I couldn’t be bothered to learn the names) seem to promote crack and heroin use without any remorse and barely a slap on the wrist.

In a time where artists are starting to see beyond the borders of their genre’s and start working outside the box, its up to the consumer to give way to this, Linkin Park and Jay-Z’ Encore/ Numb is a great testament to this.

Last day to see Flow @ The Studio Museum Harlem


April 2—June 29, 2008
Image: Dawit L. Petros, Proposition 1: Mountain, 2007

Flow is the first twenty-first century exhibition focusing on art by a new generation of international artists from Africa. These artists are uniquely conscious of, and responsive to, recent African history, global economics and the idiosyncratic culture of the new millennium. Presenting approximately seventy-five works in all media by approximately twenty emerging international artists under the age of forty, this exhibition will feature models of imaginary architecture, wall sculptures of beads and decorative elements, digital photography, new video, paintings and site specific installations, among other media. The artists, who hail from eleven African nations, reside mainly in Europe and North America and travel to and from Africa regularly. The majority of them have never been included in major U.S. museum exhibitions and are virtually unknown in this country. Modeled after Freestyle, our landmark 2001 exhibition, which was followed in 2005 by Frequency, Flow will illustrate the individuality and complexity of the visual art produced by a dynamic generation of young artists, this time with a global perspective.
144 West 125th Street, New York, New York 10027
tel 212.864.4500 fax 212.864.4800

Weighing the Africa in South Africa

Original article found at: http://www.frieze.com/comment/article/weighing_the_africa_in_south_africa/

Opinion

The morning papers on May 19 recorded a grim scene. A young Mozambican man was pictured on hands and knees, his body engulfed by flames. Set upon by a group of South African youths, the unidentified man had been stabbed and severely beaten before being set alight. Taken in Ramaphosa, an impoverished settlement east of Johannesburg, the photograph forms part of a mosaic of news photographs documenting the ruthless wave of attacks targeting African immigrants resident in South Africa’s townships.

Five days after the publication of the Ramaphosa photograph, the deceased man’s identity remained a mystery. On Friday May 23, Johannesburg’s The Star newspaper attempted to honour the man’s life with an obituary, of sorts. ‘They called him Mugza,’ read the front-page headline. The narration was sparse: the man had shared a shack with another Mozambican man, also murdered; the two had only recently arrived in the area. Accompanying the words was a new photograph. Taken four days after the attack, it showed a pair of shoes, a scattering of concrete blocks and a duvet heaped over a pile of burnt clothing, the latter belonging to the deceased. It was a devastating image, recalling Joel Sternfeld’s photograph of the Los Angeles roadside where Rodney King was beaten – even Roger Fenton’s famous study of a cannonball-strewn landscape in Crimea. Art-historical allusions and photographic doubling aside, what gave the photograph its real impact were the three schoolgirls in the distance. In one news report, it was claimed that school children in Alexandria (the Johannesburg township where the wave of xenophobic attacks first started) had laughed at terrified immigrants seeking shelter at police stations.

In his contribution to the South African edition of the ‘Africa Remix’ catalogue, published in 2007, Achille Mbembe, a Cameroonian social scientist and writer based in Johannesburg, makes a bold claim for his adopted city. A place of atrophying skyscrapers and recently constructed African head offices, of casinos, shopping malls and expensive sports cars, of levitating restaurants and electrified suburban compounds, Mbembe regards Johannesburg as ‘the centre of Afropolitanism par excellence’.

You don’t have to look too hard nowadays to see this newfangled word popping up in cultural criticism. (Holland Cotter, in his recent New York Times review of the pan-African group show ‘Flow’, currently on at the Studio Museum in Harlem, uses it.) But what does it mean? ‘Afropolitanism,’ writes Mbembe, ‘is not the same as Pan-Africanism or negritude. Afropolitanism is an aesthetic and a particular poetic of the world. It is a way of being in the world, refusing on principle any form of victim identity – which does not mean that it is not aware of the injustice and violence on the continent and its people by the law of the world.’

Johannesburg, with its multiple racial and ethnic legacies and globalised economy, argues Mbembe, is a model for African development. ‘It is where an ethic of tolerance is being created, likely to revive African aesthetic and cultural creativity, in the same way as Harlem or New Orleans once did in the United States.’ There is some substance in these words, notwithstanding the evidence of people and their homes being torched, of the displaced seeking refuge in churches, police stations and tented camps in Johannesburg, of busses hurriedly ferrying African nationals out of the continent’s richest city, away from a confused citizenry desperately grappling with the contradictions of a post-apartheid enlightenment. There is truth. The thing is, it is a fragile one and coexists with other truths. Perhaps this what energises and so haunts Mbembe’s writings, what makes Okwui Enwezor’s ongoing curatorial projects – so critical and engaging – also fraught with ambiguity.

In a recent interview, author Chinua Achebe spoke of the competing narratives that have come to define Africa. Rather than banish the news photographer, whose subject is suffering, this signal figure suggested that we allow the contradictory pictures to coexist, that Africans strive to uphold the worldliness and mobility so much a part of their everyday life and history – notwithstanding the reality of its multiple shadows. Which reiterates, rather than contradicts, what Mbembe is arguing, just differently.

Coexistent with this attempt to define a ‘theory’ of cosmopolitan enlightenment, the recent pogroms in South Africa point to other, more furtive realities at play. One of these deals centrally with money: South Africa is the dominant economic power in sub-Saharan Africa. Where money exists, so too do impoverished economic migrants and culture. (Just take a walk around contemporary London.) One spin-off of this somewhat reduced reading is that South Africa has become an important conduit for trading into Africa, economically, politically, even culturally. Fact: five South African artists appear on ‘Flow’ – no other country enjoys as prominent a representation.

I recently interviewed Clive Kellner, director of the Johannesburg Art Gallery, arguably the country’s foremost public institution, and put it to him that South Africa’s international successes have often been at the expense of Africa – more pointedly, that South Africa is a proxy for Africa. Lazy curators seeking to engage the continent visit South Africa, sleep and dine well, make a few easy selections, and fly back home, comfortable in the knowledge that Africa has somehow been represented. ‘Absolutely, I agree a lot,’ responded Kellner. ‘What happened with a lot of South African artists is that they entered these contemporary African shows, and then they get a gallery overseas, and then divorce themselves from South Africa and Africa – they just want to be international. Which is fine – labels are a problem – but there is a very particular process and trajectory they seem to go through.’

Which is not to gainsay the successes of South African artists internationally, nor to suggest that they are morally complicit in the xenophobic attacks. That would be plain ridiculous. But just like the ongoing debate about white South Africans and their debt to apartheid, the recent flare-up of xenophobia in the country highlights the very real debt that South Africans owe to Africa. It is a tangled debt, tied at once to anti-apartheid struggle history, current economics and, in this context, global art trends. Denying that any such debt is owed is tantamount to denying Mugza a name. It is a realization not lost on South Africans. On May 25, a Sunday, the country learnt that the 22-year-old man senselessly murdered in Ramaphosa had a name. He was Ernesto Nhmawavane.
Sean O’Toole

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Speak at Theatre Royal Stratford East


The performance was originally featured in the Lift Festival in Stratford and now they are back for a second showing:


Theatre Royal Stratford East's Young Actors Company present the story of Jamie Lee, former tough girl in her neighbourhood, who struggles to make a new start while her old mates are involved on the fringes of crime.

Running for 2 performances only on Wednesday 2nd July and Thursday 3rd July at 8pm SPEAK tells East London stories that need to be heard.

You can book your tickets online at http://www.stratfordeast.com/ or by calling: 02085340310.

Tickets are just £6 or £4 for concessions.
If you're booking as a group then we can offer 1 free ticket for every 10 purchased.
Don't miss this exciting opportunity to see some of the finest young talent Stratford has to offer.


I really enjoyed the production and would recommend you go and see it, especially if you have/ are a young person who is dealing with some of the themes in the performance.

This Day Music and Fashion Festival


This Day (Lagos)



Naomi Campbell: "It is fantastic that THISDAY and Mr Obaigbena are helping improve the positive awareness of Africa as too many people have stereotypical and negative views of the Continent.

He obviously had a remarkable vision, a real passion and a special message... The more I found out about his mission to promote positivity and understanding, the more I wanted to be involved going forward with the 'Africa Rising' Festival"
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Nduka Obaigbena: "Right now the international community seems to be dealing with the symptoms not the problems of Africa. The symptoms are poverty and disease, but the problem is lack of social and physical infrastructure. This initiative is to highlight the need to focus sustainable solutions on the problems through massive investment in infrastructure and microfinance in order to rebuild Africa from the ground up. Europe is what it is today because after World War II the 'Marshall Plan' took hold. It did not deal with poverty, it focused on rebuilding Europe"

Ozwald Boateng: "I'm very proud to be a part of this exciting moment. We have all come together in a celebration of culture and art, helping to bring Africa's attention to the international community. We no longer have to see the same message of poverty and war, but we can show case the best of Africa's talent to help drive the message home that Africa is on its way up and encourage other continents to build bridges and ensure Africa achieves its rightful place in the world's economies by, rebuilding infrastructure and creating businesses that transform the lives of Africans"

This year's edition of the THISDAY Music and Fashion Festival which would be staged across three continents from July 11 has received the endorsement of international music, fashion and cultural icons who praised it as the most significant effort made to get global solutions for the problems of Africa.

A statement issued in London at the weekend by organisers of the festival stated that some of the international and African stars who have signed on to feature in the festival to be held in Abuja, Lagos, Washington and London are Jay-Z, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Chris Brown, Rihanna, Fat Joe, Naomi Campbell, Oluchi, Tyson Beckford and Yousou N'Dour.

Others who will feature on the World-class festival aimed at promoting massive international investments in infrastructure and microfinance in Africa are Liya, Kebede, Alex Wek, Ozwald Boateng, Chris Aire, 9ice and Shank.

The theme of the festival is "Africa Rising" and will be used to project positive images of Africa by showcasing the renaissance of Africa's music, fashion and the arts.

Giving her endorsement to the festival and its objective, World renowned model, Naomi Campbell praised the chairman and editor-in-chief of THISDAY, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena for developing the vision to use culture and music to promote the best of Africa and sending the right signal on how the world community can partner with Africa to solve the continent's problems.

"It is fantastic that THISDAY and Mr Obaigbena are helping improve the positive awareness of Africa as too many people have stereotypical and negative views of the Continent. He obviously had a remarkable vision, a real passion and a special message... The more I found out about his mission to promote positivity and understanding, the more I wanted to be involved going forward with the 'Africa Rising' Festival," Campbell said.

Also, Ozwald Boateng, the renowned coutorier, said the festival would provide the best forum to positively project Africa's image and tell the world that Africa is not about poverty and war but that with good investments channelled into creating business opportunities and rebuilding infrastructure, Africa would take its rightful place in the world community.

Said Boateng: "I'm very proud to be a part of this exciting moment. We have all come together in a celebration of culture and art, helping to bring Africa's attention to the international community. We no longer have to see the same message of poverty and war, but we can show case the best of Africa's talent to help drive the message home that Africa is on its way up and encourage other continents to build bridges and ensure Africa achieves its rightful place in the world's economies by, rebuilding infrastructure and creating businesses that transform the lives of Africans."

Obaigbena also commented that the festival would demonstrate that the real problem of Africa is lack of social and physical infrastructure and that what Africa desires is deployment of investment in infrastructure and microfinance in order to rebuild the continent.

"Right now the international community seems to be dealing with the symptoms not the problems of Africa. The symptoms are poverty and disease, but the problem is lack of social and physical infrastructure. This initiative is to highlight the need to focus sustainable solutions on the problems through massive investment in infrastructure and microfinance in order to rebuild Africa from the ground up. Europe is what it is today because after World War II the 'Marshall Plan' took hold. It did not deal with poverty, it focused on rebuilding Europe, " Obaigbena said.

The festival will take off in Abuja on July 11 and will move on to Lagos on July 13. It will also hold in Washington DC on August 1st while the grand finale will hold in London on October 14.

"The continent's culture will be on full display as patrons will live the fun African experience at every event", the statement stated. It added that the mission of the festival is "not only to reflect the culture and positive attributes of Africa's social, political and economic progress, but also to reach out to the continent's diverse population as well as the diaspora and international communities".


The 2008 edition for the THISDAY Music and Fashion Festival is the third, as the festival has become an annual parade of stars from all over the world. The last two editions held in Lagos and saw stars like Alicia Keys, P Diddy, Missy Eliot, Ne-yo, Busta Rhymes, Ciara, John Legend, Snoop Dogg, Shakira, Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and Rihanna.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Four Monks And A Nun

Guffaw with God…Four Monks And A Nun return with a new show!
”beautifully performed sketches" The London Lite
"A show not to be missed” The Link
Are these Christians really funny? Or do they deserve to be thrown to the lions? Only one way to find out...come along.
See free sketches at: http://www.myspace.com/fourmonksandanun
25 July 2008 at 7:30pm
tickets £7.50

Italian Vogue shows black models only




Italian Vogue has used only black models for the July issue of the magazine, in a statement against discrimination in the fashion world.


More than 100 pages of the issue, including the cover, will feature images of black women taken by the acclaimed New York based photographer Steven Meisel.


The pictures will be accompanied by articles on successful black women in arts and entertainment.


The move is in reaction to recent anger over the reluctance of fashion magazines to feature black models on their covers. Many industry insiders claim black girls are not used because they just "do not sell".


Leading black figures, including models, designers and agents, have now formed a protest group in New York to highlight the problem of racism in the industry.


Italian Vogue's editor, Franca Sozzani, said her decision was influenced by the New York group, as well as by Barack Obama's success in the US presidential primaries.


Meisel photographed several of the black fashion world's biggest names for the issue, including Naomi Campbell, Iman, Tyra Banks, Liya Kebede, Jourdan Dunn, Alek Wek and Pat Cleveland.


Meisel said: "I thought, it's ridiculous, this discrimination. It's so crazy to live in such a narrow, narrow place. Age, weight, sexuality, race - every kind of prejudice.


"I have asked my advertising clients so many times, 'Can we use a black girl?' They say no."


Naomi Campbell has also spoken out several times on her concern that black models are "sidelined" by the major modelling agencies.


Italian Vogue's all-black issue is unlikely to be emulated by its US sister magazine, but American Vogue is planning to run an article about the lack of black models.

made in lagos

Ok so my guilty pleasure is by far contemporary Nigerian music, I just can't help myself- IM OBSESSED!

I have decided to pretend I am posting this to promote Made Magazine- Nigeria's answer to GQ magazine, and not putting it up so that I can play it with out having to do a tedious search on Youtube.

http://mademags.com/#

Are All Nigerians Criminals ???

Most of the oil in Nigeria comes from the delta area, I spoke about the exhibition at CCA Lagos that I attended on the issue.
The issues with crime and fraud started with low amount of money being fed back into the communities and poverty increasing.

HOWEVER growing up in the UK I have never felt so afraid of being here in all my life. I feel like the fear epidemic has caught up to me and I literally feel the tension with every step I take.

SO as I count down to my move to Nigeria for a one year residency I am preparing to put together some work on migration and on identity.

I found this video very interesting as a Nigerian / Black-British-African or what ever box I have to tick.

Hope it encourages and challenges you either as artists or as individuals to highlight these type of isssues in your work.

Africa Beyond Panel Discussion with Iniva:

Thursday 26 June, 7-8.30pm
Venue: Rivington Place, London, EC2A 3BA

Andrew Esiebo, Mahmoud Khaled and Goddy Leye join Gasworks' Residencies Curator Mia Jankowicz for a panel discussion. The discussion will reflect on the artists' projects and working approaches, while the practical hurdles - from visa difficulties to working with their subjects of interest – will be drawn upon as a source of reflection on internationalised and residency practice. Their residency forms part of an exchange in which three UK artists have taken up residencies at institutions in South Africa and Kenya through Triangle Arts Trust.

Admission is free, however as capacity is limited booking is essential. To book, phone 020 7749 1240 or email: bookings@rivingtonplace.org

Monday, 16 June 2008

Artist Talk: Andrew Esiebo

23rd June 2008, 7pm
Nigerian artist Andrew Esiebo, currently on an artist residency in London co-hosted by Gasworks and The Photographers' Gallery, will be speaking about his participation in Black Box, a photography collective in Nigeria and his work in London.

He will be In Conversation with Nilu Izadi from Photodebut.

Free, booking required
To book please contact the Information Desk on 020 7831 1772, or email info@photonet.org.uk

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Lift Festival at Stratford



The Lift Festival Stratford opened on Thursday night with a house warming party complete with Chinese food, wine and live music. The event saw the return of Lift to it's roots of producing an International Theatre Festival, which it has not produced since 2001. It also saw the opening of their new mobile venue The Lift.


The building is quite pleasing to the eye, almost tipi like in structure with a multi-coloured based design over a white backdrop. The structure houses a screen, devoted to a film on how the lift was made and two much larger indoor and outdoor screens. A stage has also been built which continues to platform established and emerging artist throughout the festival. The event makes use of both Stratford Circus Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East, the later showcasing the fantastic Dangalnama.


Dangalnama is a gripping account of sectarian rioting in India since the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984. Performed in five languages, with English subtitles the piece through the voices of journalists, students, artists and politicians presents survival stories that are in turn moving, shocking, thought-provoking and surprisingly humorous. The show runs until the 17th June and is a truly moving and educational piece of theatre.


The Lift festival will continue on to the Southbank and will also appear at the Shoreditch Festival.


For more information on the events please check out http://www.liftfestival.org.uk/

Saturday, 7 June 2008

How to Protest and Survive

After spending time with the I am a Think Tank project I feel it is only right to promote Art Activism by directing you to a post from the Guardian Blog, around successful protest!

How to Protest- and Survive
A poorly planned boycott is pointless, while a badly worded banner can land you in the cells. In this extract from her new book, Bibi van der Zee explains how to campaign effectively - without falling foul of the law
Bibi van der Zee
The Guardian,
Thursday June 5 2008
Article history



Direct action
Campaigns against the over-packaging of food have jolted supermarkets into acknowledging the need for change, while campaigns against the growth in aviation have kept airlines and the emissions in the headlines. In Wales and the west of Ireland, new gas pipelines have been the subject of unwanted attention. Direct action, done well, is probably one of the best ways of raising awareness and even getting a final concession.
Many of these actions have involved breaking the law: criminal damage, harassment, obstructing the highway, aggravated trespass. But direct action does not have to be illegal: it simply involves putting yourself on the line. You could spend your Saturdays outside the local petrol station dressed as a polar bear; that's direct action and it's certainly not against the law. You could, Women's Institute-style, bring back handfuls of packaging to your local supermarket, or stage a die-in in front of a coffee chain. Neither of these should land you in a police cell. Even entering an office or shop to stage a sit-in - as long as you do it peacefully without forcing entry - is not a criminal offence because trespass is a civil matter.
However, it is important to remember that, however well-behaved you are, the police may still arrest you. The shocking truth is that you do not have to do anything illegal in order to be arrested. If you are "making a nuisance of yourself", it is entirely possible that the police will haul you off. Still, you may well feel the risk is worth running. Direct action is cheap, quick and easy to organise. It can be massively embarrassing for the company involved, or for the government. Shame is one of the most potent weapons a protester has.


Demonstrating
Slightly different laws apply to demonstrations (static protests on public land) and processions/marches along a planned route.
For demonstrations, the world's your oyster, as long as you're not planning on protesting within the "designated area" around parliament, in which case you'll need police permission. You must, however, make sure you are not obstructing the highway, which is any road or path over which the public has the right to pass. This is a criminal offence under the Highways Act 1980. Make sure the demo remains polite and not threatening in any way, otherwise the protesters could be accused of aggravated trespass under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. If you have more than six vehicles, under the same act, the police can ask you to leave.
If you are organising a march, you will need to begin by letting the police know. You need to give them the names and contact details of the organisers, as well as the date and proposed route, and you should ideally get this to them six clear days before the march. If you fail to comply with police conditions, you face up to three months in prison.


Banners
Misworded banners can get you into trouble. The Public Order Act 1986 prohibits the display of material that could be threatening, abusive or insulting to members of the public, or provoke violence, or cause members of the public to fear violence, or cause harassment, alarm or distress. In 2001 the peace protester Lindis Percy and an evangelical Christian were both charged under this act, the former for defacing an American flag at a US airbase, the latter for displaying a placard reading, "Stop Homosexuality, Stop Immorality, Stop Lesbianism". Percy was cleared, the Christian, a 67-year-old called Harry Hammond, was convicted.


Boycotts
Mark Farmaner, who heads the Burma Campaign, suggests a campaign group "should have something planned every week for the first six months of the boycott: postcards, protests, handing letters to staff as they go into the office". For the campaign to get British American Tobacco out of Burma, he and his colleagues found out the names and home addresses of all the directors and sent press cuttings about the regime to their homes. If you can get some big colourful publicity coup in there too, you're on to a winner: when the Burma Campaign targeted the lingerie-maker Triumph, they had posters of women in barbed-wire bras, which was, Farmaner says, "the only campaign I've ever run which made it into the Sun". And once you get a reputation, just a threat can be enough. MK One, the fashion retailer, agreed to stop sourcing clothes from Burma four hours after Farmaner sent out the press releases. It helps, he points out, if companies actually know they're being targeted. "I get so many things asking me to boycott someone, but not asking me to contact the company and tell them. How are they going to know?"


Letter-writing
Anna Tims, the Guardian's consumer champion, says that it's vital to be polite and reasonable, otherwise you increase the chance that your letter will just be ignored.
"Even I'm tempted to ditch letters from people who are just ranting, so imagine how a company feels."
The first thing to do is work out who you should be writing to. "Find out people's names - that gives your letter more impact," she advises. Follow all the old-fashioned rules of letter-writing rather than doing it email-style (snail mail is better than email, she believes, because "you never really know where those emails go"). So begin your letter Dear so-and so, and put your address at the top and your name clearly at the bottom beneath your signature. Tims says she's astonished at how often people don't follow these basic rules. Keep a copy for yourself and start a log.
It is also worth sending your letter to multiple destinations: find out the name of a couple of directors and cc your complaint to them. In Jasper Griegson's book The Complete Complainer he gives an example of contacting three directors of the same company in this way: one did not respond, one offered a partial refund, and the third offered a full refund.
As for politicians, MPs do pay attention to the letters they receive, and will almost always answer. They even take note of those pre-printed postcards that campaigns ask their supporters to send in, and, according to one parliamentary researcher, start to think about taking some action when they've got a stack that's about a thumbnail's width. There is a wonderful website called Write to Them (writetothem.com) that takes all the faff out of contacting your MP. You can knock off an email in 10 minutes. Again, keep your letter polite; a rude rant about Palestine will simply be ignored.
The letters page in a newspaper is also a fantastic forum for local and national issues. Bertrand Russell, philosopher and anti-nuclear campaigner, wrote hundreds of letters to editors, and it was an angry reader's letter to the Times in 1937 that led to the creation of the 999 service. It's a tribute to their power that, in 2005, Labour press officers in the national office adopted the practice known as "astroturfing" - stimulating grassroots support - by writing model letters for supporters and party members to send to local papers.


Being arrested
The relationship between police and protesters is historically a bit sticky. The police should be more grateful, really: one of the reasons they were brought into being was the public uproar after the Peterloo Massacre in 1819, when local volunteer yeomanry were sent in to break up a political gathering. Eleven people were killed. After that a police force began to seem like a good idea, although anyone who has seen the police charging on horseback into a march might be feeling a bit confused at this point.
It is vital to know your rights during demos, marches, civil disobedience and direct action. First, it keeps you calmer. Second, it saves you from getting into daft arguments - I met one campaigner who didn't realise the police had the right to take her fingerprints in the police station and ended up having a big row.


So, when can they arrest you?
1) When you have committed, are committing or are about to commit an offence (criminal damage, perhaps, or threatening behaviour, or simply obstructing the highway).

2) When a police officer has reasonable grounds for suspecting that you have committed, are committing or are about to commit an offence.

3) When a police officer has grounds to suspect you are guilty of an offence that he or she has reasonable grounds to suspect has been committed.
Frankly, most things are covered in here, aren't they? The police can always come up with a reason for hauling you away if they want to; they must, however, inform you that they are arresting you as they do it. The police can keep you for up to 36 hours without charging you - 96 hours if authorised by a magistrate. Once under arrest, the police don't need your permission to take fingerprints, photos, oral swabs, saliva or footwear impressions. They can use force if necessary. They do need permission to take a blood sample, a urine sample, a semen sample, a dental impression, a pubic-hair sample or a tissue sample.

· Rebel, Rebel: The Protestor's Handbook, by Bibi van der Zee, is published by Guardian Books at £14.99. To buy a copy for £12.99, visit guardianbooks.co.uk or call 0845 606 4232.
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This article appeared in the Guardian on Thursday June 05 2008 on p18 of the Comment & features section. It was last updated at 10:33 on June 05 2008.