Tag Archives: Museums and Galleries

Frederick Douglass Heritage Plaque

Many thanks to Hannah Rose Murray for passing on this information:

Abolitionist-Frederick-DouglassFrederick Douglass, famed abolitionist and former African American slave, is well known in the United States for his work as a social activist. His travels in Britain however, are often neglected on both sides of the Atlantic, but the Nubian Jak Community Organisation hopes to change this. Created by Jak Beula, this non-profit organisation has installed numerous heritage plaques to African Americans and Black Britons, including Malcolm X and John Archer (among others). On the 20th February, a plaque to Frederick Douglass will be unveiled in Kensington, at the former home of British abolitionist George Thompson. (Whilst lecturing in London, Douglass stayed at Thompson’s house.)

Born a slave in 1818, Frederick Douglass grew up on a plantation in Maryland. He escaped slavery in 1838, and attracted the attention of William Lloyd Garrison, who recognised Douglass’s talent for oratory. Douglass travelled here in 1845 for nineteen months, creating a sensation across the country.

The heritage plaque is supported by the U.S. Embassy, who will be there on the 20th, as will NBC news. Local school children have also become involved in the project, and some of their work will be displayed in the Embassy.

To find out more information about how you can support the Nubian Jak organization and the Frederick Douglass heritage plaque project please visit: http://www.sponsume.com/project/nubian-jak-heritage-plaque-scheme-fd

You can follow “Nubian Jak Projects” on Facebook or on Twitter: @nubianjak

Kafou: Haiti, Art and Vodou

Opening  20 October 2012, Nottingham Contemporary will be presenting an insightful vision into a stream of Haitian art practices predominantly inspired by Vodou from the 1940s to the present through the exhibition Kafou: Haiti, Art and Vodou.

Gerard Valcin, Simbis Voyageurs (Collection GALERIE D’ART NADER)

” Bringing together some 200 works by 40 artists from the 1940s to today, and drawing from leading collections from Haiti, North America and Europe, Kafou will be one of the largest exhibitions of Haiti’s celebrated art ever held, and is unusual in presenting it in the context of a programme dedicated to international contemporary art. With few exceptions, the artists in the exhibition came from impoverished urban and rural backgrounds, and had minimal contact with the mainstream modern and contemporary art worlds. The extraordinary beauty and imaginative power of their work reflects the richness of Haitian culture and history while also contrasting with Haiti’s experience of, and reputation for, extreme poverty, political oppression and natural disaster. Kafou is curated by Alex Farquharson, Director of Nottingham Contemporary, and Leah Gordon, artist and curator of the Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince.”

“Kafou: Haiti, Art and Vodou will trace the history of how Vodou has been represented through successive generations of Haitian art in all four of Nottingham Contemporary’s galleries, including the work of artists who were also Vodou priests (Houngans): Hector Hyppolite, André Pierre and Lafortune Félix for example. The exhibition begins with what has been dubbed the ‘Haitian Renaissance’, exemplified by the artists that gathered around the Centre d’Art in Port-au-Prince founded in 1944, which brought Haitian art to the attention of international collectors and important cultural figures. Kafou represents key figures from this ‘first’ generation, including Hyppolite, Rigaud Benoit, Wilson Bigaud, Castera Bazille, Préfète Duffaut (who lived in Jacmel in the south), and Philomé Obin and Seneque Obin, founders of the distinctive Cap Haitian school in the north of Haiti. Hyppolite, Haiti’s most celebrated artist, is represented by a large number of major works from the 1940s. They are followed by distinctive artists who followed in their wake, such as André Pierre, Celestin Faustin, Gerard Valcin, Alexandre Grégoire and Lafortune Félix, while a third room brings together examples of artists associated with the Saint Soleil movement of the 70s, 80s and 90s, whose representations of the lwa are less specific, more ethereal, and sometimes verging on abstraction. A fourth section presents several recent developments, including the Atis Rezistans group, who make arresting supernatural assemblages from recycled materials (car parts, clothing, human skulls and bones) and carved wood from their downtown neighbourhood in Port-au-Prince; the baroque and visionary depictions of Vodou spirits in sequins on flags by Myrlande Constant and Edouard Duval-Carrié’s and Frantz Zephirin’s potent fusions of Vodou and Haitian political history.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue whose texts will reevaluate the significance of seventy years of Haitian art from various cultural and historical vantage points. It features new essays by Colin Dayan (author of the seminal ‘Haiti, History and the Gods’), Alex Farquharson and a ‘trialogue’ by Leah Gordon, Wendy Asquith and Katherine Smith. A major international conference at Nottingham Contemporary will complement the exhibition by considering the many ‘Afterlives’ of the 1804 Revolution in Haiti and the Atlantic World through a wide range of disciplinary perspectives.”

To find out more about this exciting upcoming exhibition and its associated events on the Nottingham Contemporary’s webpages click here.

Updated Symposium Programme: Representations of Slavery

Please note that the program me for the Representations of Slavery in Neoliberal Times Symposium to be held at the University of Newcastle on Friday 25th May has been updated and will now take place as below:

Selected images from : Positive Negative Guardian Paperworks via: http://www.lubainahimid.info/

Programme of events

1.oopm – Refreshments available

1.10 – 1.15 - Welcome by Conference Co-Convener

Carolyn Pedwell, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University

1:15 – 2:15 – Lubaina Himid, Centre for Contemporary Art, University of Central Lancashire

Negative Positives: The Guardian, The Slave, The Wit and The Money

Chair: Daniel McNeil, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University

2:15 – 3:15 – Julia O’Connell Davidson

School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham

Debt, Freedom and Slavery in Neoliberal Times

Chair: Anne Graefer, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University

3:15 – 3.45 - Coffee break

3.45 – 4.45Carolyn Pedwell,

Alternative Empathies: Representing Slavery’s Affective Afterlives

Chair: John Richardson, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University

4.45 – 5.45 – Roundtable

Dr. Kate Manzo (Geography, Newcastle University)

Dr. Diana Paton (History, Newcastle University)

Dr. Rachel Wells (Fine Art, Newcastle University)

Chair: Daniel McNeil

6.00pm – Wine Reception

Northern Stage

—————————–

 
Abstracts

Negative Positives: The Guardian, The Slave, The Wit and The Money

Lubaina Himid, Centre for Contemporary Art, University of Central Lancashire

This essentially visual presentation will attempt to show how The Guardian newspaper in 2007, and then just as strongly during subsequent years, constantly suggests that European sports teams and clubs disproportionally overspend when buying, selling and keeping black players.  While this is not an unusual stance by journalists in the British sporting press, The Guardian by frequently and jokily representing footballers and athletes via mocking photographs, degrading texts and or damaging juxtapositions of both, subtly ‘reminds’ its readers, many of whom are public health and social workers, teachers and academics as well as workers in the creative industries, of historically familiar racial stereotypes. The newspaper designers, by taking this approach, contribute to a situation in which the athletes remain within a ‘state of unbelonging’.

Much of Lubaina Himid’s recent creative visual practice has been taken up with building this archive of images and texts. The creation of a series of paper works, Negative Positives, in which ‘over-painting to emphasise’ has gone some way towards reclaiming the dignity of the people represented has however, to some degree, minimalised the findings and rendered them outside the debates they were intended to develop. Through the sharing of a range of these collected images both overpainted and in their original state, many from the year of commemoration 2007, Himid will invite discussion around how this subtle and oftentimes witty degradation of wealthy black elites undermines the campaigns opposed to contemporary slavery while at the same time visually fixing the black person as ‘other’ to be bought and sold.

 

Debt, Freedom and Slavery in Neoliberal Times

Julia O’Connell Davidson, University of Nottingham

In dominant discourse on ‘trafficking’, mobility, debt and dependence are configured in a very particular way and the kind of debt involved is clearly marked as disturbing, dangerous, illegal, morally wrong. The trafficker’s objective is to make repayment impossible and so to establish personal, inescapable, and highly asymmetrical relations of power and dependency. Relations between trafficker and victim are represented as the very antithesis of freedom – trafficking is frequently referred to as ‘modern slavery’. And yet debt that generates relations of dependency is also often a feature of forms of mobility that are legally sanctioned; debt that compels people to take on work that they would otherwise refuse is hardly uncommon in Western liberal democracies; and the techniques used to recover legally sanctioned loans from citizen-debtors can be highly coercive. But legally sanctioned debt, backed by the coercive powers of the state, is not framed as ‘modern slavery’. Indeed, in neoliberal times, access to credit, i.e., the ability to indebt oneself by entering into socially sanctioned creditor-debtor relations, is a marker of social inclusion, something that both reflects and affirms political belonging and subjectivity. Starting from an interest in debt as a social relation, and in questions about why some debt relations are sanctioned while others are denounced, this paper is concerned with the ways in which liberal discourse on freedom, rights and citizenship constructs particular types of debt and dependency as ‘modern slavery’ while endorsing other arrangements that, from the vantage point of the individual affected, may appear equally if not more pernicious.

Alternative Empathies: Representing Slavery’s Affective Afterlives

Carolyn Pedwell, Newcastle University

Against the dominant universalist injunction to ‘be empathetic’, this paper explores the possibilities  of alternative histories, practices and affects of empathy in the context of postcoloniality and neoliberalism.  Offering a critical reading of Antiguan American author Jamaica Kincaid’s postcolonial  text  A Small Place (1988), it examines how empathy expressed at the margins of our social and geo-political imaginaries might disrupt or refigure some of the dominant ways that affect is thought and mobilised in liberal and neoliberal discourses.  As a powerful commentary on the political, economic and affective links between colonialism and slavery and contemporary practices of tourism in the Caribbean that has provoked intense emotional responses among its readers, A Small Place offers a pertinent site through which to explore how history, power and violence shape the meanings and effects of empathy.  It illustrates how the affective afterlives of colonialism, slavery and racism shape contemporary subjectivities in ways that are not easy to penetrate, nor possible to undo, through the power of empathetic will or imagination alone.  In doing so, Kincaid’s text also considers the role that alternative empathies can play in interrogating the idea of time as linear, progressive and universal.  The continuing dialogue with loss and its aftermath that alternative empathies can engender, I argue, allows for engaging with ‘the performative force of the past’ (Munoz, 2009) in ways that invite us to break from fixed patterns and positionings and enter into a ‘more   demanding’, and potentially more ethical, relationship to the world and our being in it (Kincaid, 1988: 57).  I thus explore how alternative empathies might open out to affective politics which do not view emotions instrumentally as sources of – or solutions to – complex social and political problems, but rather examine diverse and shifting feeling states for what they tell us about the affective workings of power in a transnational world.

CFC: Savvy | art.contemporary.african

Call for Contributions for the 4th edition of savvy|art.contemporary.african. journal.

“Curating: Expectations and Challenges”

Contemporary African Art looks back at a vibrant history of  ‘presentation tactics’ and curatorial conceptualisation strategies within the different frameworks of biennials, independent projects, museum exhibitions, and even ethnographic collections.  Over the last 100 years, the ways of exhibition-making changed profoundly and  particularly within the field of Non-Western art one can perceive a change of parameters of curating – especially since a  generation of Non-Western curators decided to take over the reins and seize the sceptre, which was until the late 80s mostly in the hands of some Western curators, the Western art market and its critique. The debate on “how, who, and where to show” has increased fiercely in the last 20 years. So we now pose the questions again in a bid to deliberate on current curatorial theories and practices in the framework of Contemporary African Art.

What are the prominent issues of display and curating that inform and condition exhibition making? Which curatorial concepts (past or current) do you consider seminal and which improvable? Where and how do artists position themselves in exhibitions authored by curators and can artistic knowledge be implemented as method of curating? What are the relations between artists, curators, public and institutions? Is there a cognizable methodology in curating Contemporary African Art exhibitions with regard to Western or Non-Western curators? How do non governmental art project spaces on and beyond the continent influence and revolutionize the trajectories of curatorial practices? Can the curator effectively serve as broker or facilitator between art and audience?

The 4th edition of the SAVVY Journal will thus position itself as a knowledge-sharing platform, wherein ideologies and philosophies, sciences and economics, ethics and aesthetics  of the curatorial practice discipline,  and in general, the semantics of exhibition making will be elaborated upon. We put the finger on the pulse of  time and want to explore the contemporary expectations and challenges of curating  in general and Contemporary African Art in particular.

Therefore, we invite artists, curators, art historians, theoreticians and other intellectuals to submit texts, not exceeding 3500 words in length, treating the above mentioned issues.

Furthermore, we are interested in other articles such as artist-features, exhibition reviews and previews of circa 1500 words.
For more information please visit www.savvy-journal.com

Submissions to: editorial@savvy-journal.com

Deadline: 01. July 2012    
Contact: editorial@savvy-journal.com with any further questions.

Open Arts Archive Publish Video and Audio Online

New audio and video files on a wide variety of themes have been added to the Open Arts Archive recently to join with an established archive of resources. These include:

Contemporary Art: World Currents – Panel Discussion

“This panel discussion, in collaboration with the Open University, explores Terry Smith’s book Contemporary Art: World Currents (Laurence King, 2011).

It was part of a launch for the book given by Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery.

Speakers include: art historians Terry Smith, Anthony Downey and Leon Wainwright, and Tessa Jackson, OBE, Director of the Institute for International Visual Arts (inIVA).”

Leon Wainwright offering some thoughts on ‘Hymn to the Sun IV’

“This recording was made on the occasion of the exhibition Aubrey Williams: Atlantic Fire, at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, from 15 January to 11 April, 2010, and played on an audio loop for visitors alongside the display. Aubrey Williams: Atlantic Fire was curated by Reyahn King (Director of Art Galleries, National Museums Liverpool) and Leon Wainwright (Dept. of Art History, The Open University). It was the first nationally-funded, major retrospective exhibition of the Guyana-born painter (1926-1990). In the recording Leon Wainwright offers some thoughts on a painting by Aubrey Williams, his ‘Hymn to the Sun IV’ of 1984, one of the artist’s Olmec-Maya series (oil on canvas, 119 x 178 cm).”

Click here to read Leon Wainwright’s 2010 catalogue contribution for this exhibition, Aubrey Williams: Atlantic fire.

Rashid Rana and David Elliot in Conversation

“On Saturday 1st October 2011, as part of ‘Rashid Rana: Everything Is Happening At Once’ exhibition at The Cornerhouse, Manchester artist Rashid Rana was joined in conversation with David Elliott, a freelance international curator based in Hong Kong and Berlin.

A small audience heard a presentation by the artist of his practice. The event was presented as part of the Asia Triennial Manchester 2011 with the support of the Lisson Gallery.”

‘Timed Out’ Panel Discussion and Book Launch

We are happy to announce this exciting event taking place at InIVA next week:

Panel Discussion and launch of a new book, Timed Out: Art and the Transnational Caribbean (Manchester University Press), by Dr Leon Wainwright. With panellists: Sonia Boyce and Paul Wood. Chaired by Paul Goodwin.

Timed out is a pioneering study of modern and contemporary art in the aftermath of empire. It addresses the current ‘global turn’ in the study of art by way of the transnational Caribbean, offering an in-depth account of its integral role in histories of art in the Atlantic world. The book looks at why art of the Anglophone Caribbean and its diaspora has been placed not only ‘outside’ but ‘behind’ more familiar and dominant art canons, and how the politics of space and time can be engaged in new ways to rethink the global geography of art.”

This event will be held at InIVA, Rivington Place, London beginning at 6.30pm. To find out more click here.

To find out more about the book and its author click here.

The French Atlantic: A Tricoloured Ocean Workshop

We are happy to announce an upcoming collaborative workshop that will focus on the French Atlantic:

“Final details – including the rationale behind the workshop, information about speakers and a full programme – for ‘The French Atlantic: A Tricoloured Ocean’ are now available on the website of the Centre for the Study of International Slavery, based at the University of Liverpool:

http://www.liv.ac.uk/csis/

This is a collaborative workshop taking place at the International Slavery Museum, Liverpool, on Monday 21 May 2012 from 12.30 to 4.30 pm. As spaces are limited, we would be grateful if you would inform Devi Hardeen (d.hardeen@liv.ac.uk) by Monday 7 May 2012 if you would like to attend.

We hope that you will be able to join us.”

Video of the Week: Curating in Africa Symposium

After last weeks break we are getting back on track this week with some in-depth talks from the Curating in Africa Symposium which was held at Tate Modern in October 2010. “This symposium brought together leading curators involved in some of the most active areas of artistic production in Africa to address the state of curatorial practice in this region.”

There are four videos from the symposium available online. To access these click on the video image link below which will take you directly to the page on Tate’s site where you can watch these. If you have a problem accessing the videos when you first press play – try refreshing the page and then clicking play again.

Below is some more detailed information about the symposium and the speakers who took part in the first day’s open symposium:

“The Curating in Africa symposium, organised by Kerryn Greenberg (Curatorial Department, Tate Modern) in collaboration with Tate National, and funded by the World Collections Programme (WCP), brought together seven leading curators involved in some of the most active areas of artistic production in Africa to address the achievements of and challenges facing curators working in Africa today.

The participants were Meskerem Assegued (Zoma Contemporary Art Center, Ethiopia); Raphael Chikukwa (National Gallery of Zimbabwe); Marilyn Douala Bell (Doul’art, Cameroon); N´Goné Fall (Independent Curator, Senegal); Abdellah Karroum (L’appartement 22, Morocco); Riason Naidoo (South African National Gallery) and Bisi Silva (CCA Lagos, Nigeria).

Day One – Open Symposium

The first day was attended by approximately 100 invited curators, artists, graduate students, art historians and collectors and consisted of 30 minute presentations by each of the speakers on the context they are working in and a recent curatorial project.

N’Gone Fall, an independent curator who works between Dakar and Paris emphasized the importance of exhibitions that deal with history, geography and politics. She also talked about the benefits of collaboration, particularly with regards to Contact Zone an exhibition at the National Museum in Mali.

Raphael Chikukwa, the curator at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe focused on the history of his organization and its resilience during times of political instability. He talked about the challenges of fundraising and developing new audiences, as well as the importance of opening the debate and increasing the visibility of Zimbabwean artists internationally. The Harare Festival of Arts will take place from 26 April – 2 May 2011.

Marilyn Douala Bell spoke about the importance of site-specific projects, especially in a city without museums. She talked about some of the ways Doual’art has supported artists and engaged the local community over the past two decades. The next edition of SUD, organized by Doual’art, will open on 4 December 2010.

Bisi Silva, founding director of CCA Lagos spoke about Nigeria’s recent history and the infrastructural, physical and intellectual deficit Nigeria was left with after the dictatorship. She talked about the importance of professional development opportunities and the limited number of exhibition catalogues and monographs published in Africa. She also presented several exhibitions she has curated atCCA Lagos, including the inaugural exhibition DemocrazyLike a Virgin, and Art, Fashion and Identity. She also talked about J.D. Okhai Ojeikere’s exhibition which opened at CCA, Lagos on 1 October 2010. A mini retrospective of Ojeikere’s photographs will open at Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki in April 2011.

Riason Naidoo, Director of the South African National Gallery (SANG), gave an overview of his institution’s history and stressed the importance of resisting the pressure to produce exhibitions that may have popular appeal, but little gravitas. He talked in detail about 1910–2010 From Pierneef to Gugulective, the first exhibition he curated at the SANG, and the importance of creating discursive spaces.

Meskerem Assegued, founder of Zoma Contemporary Art Center in Ethiopia, discussed the impact of the military government on the Ethiopian art scene in the 1970s and 1980s. She presented Temporary, a public art happening she organized in Meskel Square and Green Flame, an exhibition in Vienna which included Julie Mehretu, Stephan Vitiello, and Elias Sime. Assegued is currently working on a major exhibition of Elias Sime’s work and a seminar Where do we go from here that will take place in Addis Ababa in January 2011.

Abdellah Karroum talked about studying abroad and not knowing one’s home on returning. He introduced various projects that he organized which enabled him to reconnect with Morocco. He discussed the genesis of Apartment 22 and the challenges of financing independent spaces.

The day ended with a roundtable discussion which touched on the following topics: arts education, censorship, the development of local audiences, and the internationalisation of exhibition programmes.”

There is also some information available on Tate’s site about a closed workshop involving 30 curators which took place on the following day. The themes addressed in this workshop included:

The Current State and Future of Art Museums in Africa

Alternatives to the Museum: Independent Spaces in Africa

The History and Sustainability of Biennials in Africa

How to Shape the Future

To read more about any of these discussion or to find out about the outcomes of the symposium click here.

Video of the Week: Haitian Master Artists

This week’s videos wing their way to you from Gail Pellett Productions. These short 5 minute and under ‘mini-docs’ accompanied the exhibition ‘Haitian Art’ held at the Brooklyn Museum in 1978. Curated by Ute Stebich this exhibition was a landmark in the U.S. both in terms of its focus – as a major exhibition – on Haitian Art and its use of video within the gallery spaces.

Click the image links below to access five short videos: 1 introductory overview and 4 surviving videos out of 13 which each contain an interview with individual Haitian artists:

Haitian Art

“In 1978  the Brooklyn Museum mounted the first major exhibit of Haitian art in the U.S. — which later traveled to several other cities… Ute Stebich, the curator of this major exhibit, convinced the Brooklyn Museum to send a videographer  to travel around Haiti, shoot interviews with the artists and capture something of the world that inspired their work … the resulting mini documentaries produced were shown on monitors throughout the galleries — a controversial sensation at that time.”

Jasmin Joseph: Haitian Master Artist

Jasmin Joseph by Pascale Monnin

Jasmin Joseph by Pascale Monnin

“In this portion of the mini-doc we hear about Joseph’s early years as an artist, his transformation from sculptor to painter and his imaginative and spiritual world. He also explains why he doesn’t like the term “primitive” in describing his and other Haitian artists’ work … Joseph began making art through carving terra-cotta sculptures that came to the attention of Jason Seley, an American sculptor who partnered with Dewitt Peters…”

Continue reading

BP British Art Displays: Thin Black Line(s)

Currently showing at Tate Britain is a special one-room Focus Display entitled Thin Black Line(s) devised by artist Lubaina Himid MBE, Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire, with curator Paul Goodwin.

This display focuses on the contribution of Black and Asian women artists to British art in the 1980s. Taking as its starting point three seminal exhibitions curated by artist Lubaina Himid in London from 1983 to 1985, the display charts the coming to voice of a radical generation of British artists who challenged their collective invisibility in the art world and engaged in their art with the wider social and political issues of 1980s Britain and the world.

This exhibition is free to enter and on display until March 18 2012.

More information about this Focus Display can be accessed online at Color Code and Making Histories Visible.