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!


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