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: