Monthly Archives: February 2012

Video of the Week: Regalos (Gifts)

This weeks video of the week is a bumper package – containing 2 videos freely available online – each featuring the contemporary Boston-based artist, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons:

“a woman, an expatriate, and a Cuban, [she] makes art about identity and memory. Like all good art that begins in the personal, her work echoes the lives of all Black people rooted in Cuba, and of legions of fellow travelers from around the world at the turn of the 21st century. Born in Cuba of Nigerian ancestry… She settled [in Boston] not because she wanted to leave Cuba, but because she married a Bostonian. She decided to stay, to make a marriage, to have children, to live as one from somewhere else. ” (via North Dakota Museum of Art

The first is a short video of a performance Regalos (Gifts) Campos-Pons gave at the opening of “Everything Is Separated By Water” at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in February 2007.

The second video is a focussed exploration of the work of Campos-Pons through a lecture by the artist also given in 2007  as part of the Contemporary Perspectives Lecture Series hosted by the College of Fine Arts School of Visual Arts, Boston University.

Campos-Pons’ De Las Dos Aguas was one of the artworks exhibited in Tate Liverpool’s 2010 exhibition Afro Modern: Journey’s through the Black Atlantic. Her profile page on the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston website describes her multidisciplinary work as follows:

“Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons’ work of the last 20 years covers an extended range of visual language investigations. Campos-Pons’ work emerges from the early 1980s focus on painting and the discussion of sexuality in the crossroads of Cuban mixed cultural heritage to incisive questioning, critique and insertion of the black body in the contemporary narratives of the present. Installation art, performative photography and cultural activism define the core of Campos-Pons’ practice of the last two decades. A cross collaboration with musician composer and husband, Neil Leonard, that started in 1988, has complemented and enriched the scope of Campos-Pons’ work. Together they founded GASP, a lab and studio for the 21st century. She has lectured from the Tate Modern to the Brooklyn Museum and the School of Art in Dakar.”

To find out more about the work of this artist click here.

To see more images of this artist work click the links below:

North Dakota Museum of Art

Bernice Steinbaum Gallery

Universe in Universe

Liverpool Biennial


Exhibition: The Bearden Project

To mark the centennial year of Romare Bearden’s birth, begun in September 2011, the Studio Museum in Harlem has initiated The Bearden Project: an exhibition which celebrates the profound influence of this great artist on successive generations of art-makers.

Each contemporary artist represented in the show was asked to produce a work of art inspired by Bearden’s life and legacy. The artists mined a wide range of ideas and themes associated with Bearden’s career, including Modernism, urbanism, jazz and, of course, the medium of collage. The majority chose to make new works for the exhibition, while others submitted earlier works that honor or were inspired by Bearden.

There is an innovative online element to this project: Each week 10 featured artists from the exhibition will be highlighted online and high resolution images of their work will be available to view alongside their narrative of inspiration through Bearden’s work.

The Studio Museum Harlem’s exhibition is unsurprisingly not the only event to be celebrating the work of this twentieth century American master. More information about the variety of exhibitions being held across North America to celebrate can be found at, alongside information about events, and images of 100 of Bearden’s artworks each selected by contemporary artists and made available to view online.

A Voodoo Memory

Here’s your second Video of the Week installment. This week an in-depth documentary via culture : A Voodoo Memory. This weeks video documents the Collection of Voodoo Objects acquired by Port-au-Prince resident Marianne Lehmann during a period of  more than 30 years and was directed by Irene Lichtenstein.

“Born in Kirchberg in the canton of Bern (Switzerland), Marianne Lehmann settled in Port-au-Prince in 1957 after marrying a Haitian national. She started collecting voodoo objects in 1970, out of an early fascination for this culture and in an attempt to prevent them from being sold abroad. Over the years, she has built the most important collection in the world. A voodoo heritage reveals the beauty and signification of these pieces, highlights the link between voodoo and the emancipation of the Haitian people, and draws a unique portrait of this 70-year old woman still imbued with a youthful spirit.” (description via culture

Click the image above to watch this documentary in full at culture

A Salon des Refusés for the 21st century

A Cape for Neg Mawon created by the Queer Arizona Crocheters for the 2nd Ghetto Biennale

What happens when first world art rubs up against third world art? Does it bleed? The second edition of the Ghetto Biennale tests out this hypothesis. An event initiated – by the sculptors of the Grand Rue and London-based photographer and curator Leah Gordon  – in 2009 was again held in a  downtown neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince in November and December 2011. The second edition of this unique and dynamic answer to the blockbuster biennial format is once again a collaborative effort curated by Leah Gordon along with artist and founder Andre Eugene, artist Celeur Jean Herard, and assistant curators Marg Duston and David Frohnapfel.

Well-established biennials all over the world promise utopian possibilities of surpassing the inequalities of international economic and political relations. Yet these huge events seem to remain structurally centered around presenting art as a luxury commodity and continue to be as far away as ever from providing a platform for social change globally. The Ghetto Biennale counters this inherent flaw in events organized by the elite of the arts sector worldwide – relocating the biennial franchise to the Grand Rue neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince, embedding it in the life of the local community where the context of this biennial event can reframe the functions and possibilities of art practice.

More information about this exciting new landmark event on the art world’s global biennial map can be found online at the 2nd Ghetto Biennale’s Official Site.

Reviews and information about participants involved in the 2011 edition can be found by clicking on the links below:–Haiti-s-Ghe/22E9F035C126AC4F/Events

Video of the Week!

We here at the Black Atlantic Resource are happy to announce a new feature: Video of the Week. Each week we will aim to bring you an interesting video – posted here within our debate space – which we have found freely available online. We are doing this to highlight the amount of potential research material which is now digitized and accessible by a click of your mouse!

Here’s your first Video of the Week: Cab Calloway – Minnie the Moocher

Cab Calloway and His Orchestra’s hit jazz song Minnie the Moocher is used here as the soundtrack to a Fleischer Brothers’ 1932 Betty Boop cartoon. First we get to see Calloway’s signature dance moves while he conducts his orchestra, the video then cuts midway through the cartoon to a dancing ghost walrus voiced by Calloway and sporting his moves! Cab Calloway was a hugely talented American bandleader, singer and dancer who performed regularly at Harlem’s Cotton Club in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance era and later. Click here to find out more about Cab Calloway.

Aside from this the content of the cartoon, which at that time would have been produced as entertainment mainly for an adult audience, provides an interesting comment on American society of the 1930s. The cartoon’s representations of capital punishment – in light of the Powell v. Alabama ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court associated with the Scottsboro Boys case of 1931 – or what it’s depictions demonstrate about animators and audiences associations with jazz music are all telling…

If you have any suggestions for a video of the week please leave us a comment or post us another video in reply – we look forward to hearing from you!

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.