Monthly Archives: June 2012

Migrations: Journeys through British Art

There is just over a month left to see this great exhibition currently on at Tate Britain. Migrations: Journeys through British Art:

“explores British art through the theme of migration from 1500 to the present day, reflecting the remit of Tate Britain Collection displays. From the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Flemish and Dutch landscape and still-life painters who came to Britain in search of new patrons, through moments of political and religious unrest, to Britain’s current position within the global landscape, the exhibition reveals how British art has been fundamentally shaped by successive waves of migration. Cutting a swathe through 500 years of history, and tracing not only the movement of artists but also the circulation of visual languages and ideas, this exhibition includes works by artists from LelyKneller,Kauffman to SargentEpsteinMondrianBombergBowling and the Black Audio Film Collective as well as recent work by contemporary artists”

There are also a number of events related to this exhibition upcoming. The first is one tonight:

25 June 2012 from 6.30 – 8.30pm: Personal Journeys: Bonnie Greer on Migrations: “Join playwright and critic Bonnie Greer on a personal journey through the exhibition, as she talks about what migration means to her.”

while in two weeks time:

11 July 2012 from 6.30 -8.30pm Artist Talk: David Medalla: “Born in the Philippines and based in Britain since the Sixties artist David Medalla describes himself as a citizen of the world. His work does not come from one single cultural perspective but draws from his constant travelling, inspired by the places and the people he meets. In this talk Medalla speaks about his practice spanning painting, sculpture, installation and performance, and shares his thoughts on the theme of Migration in art.”

African Americans and the US Penal System

Trayvon Martin’s fatal shooting in late February 2012 has sparked off a whole host of debates around the problematic relationship of African-Americans to the US penal system in the popular media. Yet this has long been a contentious issue leading many to draw parallels between the contemporary treatment and incarceration rates, particularly of African-American men in the US, and former explicit regimes of discrimination in that country such as Jim Crow and Slavery. Such comparisons led one online blogger to claim that more black men are in prison today than enslaved in 1850, while there have also been a host of good academic studies in this area such as Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness – summarized via Worldcat.org as:

“…the book Lani Guinier calls “brave and bold,” and Pulitzer Prize-winner David Levering Lewis calls “stunning,” … In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet, as legal star Michelle Alexander reveals, today it is perfectly legal to discriminate.”

In relation to this Angelina Matson and the design team at Criminolgy.com created the graphic below illustrating case-by-case examinations of police brutality, for more information about this graphic click here:

Police Brutality: Know Your Rights
Created by: Criminology.com

Debates of this nature have been engaged with widely through the arts. Artist Coco Fusco for example, whose work appeared in the 2010 Afro Modern exhibition at Tate Liverpool, has engaged with issues of incarceration and exploitation in her writing (see At Your Service: Latin Women in the Global Information Network). Widening the debate internationally and also exploring the role of women in the US military as perpetrators of torture in the War on Terror Fusco published the work A Field Guide for Female Interrogators:

“Framed as a letter to Virginia Woolf – who argued that women could prevent war – Fusco asks elemental questions about how the US military has capitalized on the growing presence of women in its ranks and how it is adapting originally feminist ideas about sexual assertiveness in its interrogation strategies”

Also see our earlier post via curatorial fellows at MoCADA: Changing “The Master Plan” Hybridity and Black Art and Design.

Art, genre et dieux: un voyage de recherche a la Ghetto Biennale de Port-au-Prince

I’m happy to announce the addition of some great new resources to the Black Atlantic site relating to Charlotte Hammond‘s exciting new research (Postgraduate Research Student in the Department of Drama and Theatre, Royal Holloway) which examines visual representations of transvestism in the Francophone Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique and Haiti and their diasporic communities in France.

Charlotte recently participated in the Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince, Haiti  2011 and gave a paper titled Art, genre et dieux: un voyage de recherche a la Ghetto Biennale de Port-au-Prince as part of the ‘gender and culture’ seminar series which took place at the Université des Antilles et de la Guyane, in Martinique. An audio recording of the paper – which was presented in French – is now available to listen to on the Black Atlantic Resource and is accompanied by a transcription of the paper in English, a link to the prezi Charlotte simultaneously presented, and some images of the work Charlotte produced during the Ghetto Biennale.

Art, Gender and Gods: a research trip to the Ghetto Biennale of Port-au-Prince

Within existing Caribbean (mostly fictional) representations, homosexual and trans characters tend to appear in supporting peripheral roles, often to affirm and solidify hegemonic gender binaries. Visibility of gender crossing in popular Caribbean culture, most apparent within the parameters of carnival performance, works in much the same way, more often exhibiting and reflecting dominant ideas of gender, than destabilizing and questioning the boundaries themselves.

There is a part of my project which deals with this more popular expression of transvestism, found in Carnival representation, using the work of a British artist, who like myself hails from the North West of England, Leah Gordon, whose 2008 film, Bounda pa Bounda: A Drag Zaka, depicts drag parody performed within a Rara band tradition in Haiti.

With little at stake, due to the ephemeral and sanctioned nature of what can be seen as harmless gender mimicry, the ease with which such temporary crossover is obtained makes the act a particularly intrusive form of impersonation.  The man, adopting female dress, carelessly forays into the sphere of the Other (the woman), without any concern for ‘realness’ in order to mock that which he does not successfully emulate in what Helen Gilbert terms a “spectacle of not passing” (2003).  As a process of reinscribing and renewing aesthetic standards however, it constitutes an important means of emphasizing prevailing modes of representation….

To Read more of Charlotte’s paper click here

To Listen to the French version of this paper click here

To view the accompanying Prezi click here

To Read a previous post about the Ghetto Biennale 2011

Euromight.com – Online Resource

We are pleased to present a new online resource: Euromight.com which: “…celebrates Europe’s citizens/residents who share African
heritage, telling their stories, discussing their concerns and marking
the events that are important to their everyday lives.
We report original stories from a wide network of contributors across
the EU and curate content which focuses on the Afro-European
experience. We are mindful of our role as educators in this process
since much of the content we produce is not readily available in
Europe and beyond.”

As such Euromight.com has recently been selected by the British Library as a site of importance which will take part in their UK Web Archives project. This project will preserve selected sites for permanent use in the future and seeks to conserve websites that publish research,  that reflect the diversity of lives, interests and activities  throughout the UK, and demonstrate web innovation.

Some recent exclusive stories on Euromight.com have included:

CONFRONTING INEQUALITY IN GREECE –

http://www.euromight.com/greeceinequality.php

BLACKS IN NORTHERN IRELAND FIND THEIR VOICE –
http://www.euromight.com/afroirish.php

FRENCH ACTIVIST TACKLES RACISM – http://www.euromight.com/rokhayadiallo.php

Thanks to Olive Vassell – founder and managing editor of Euromight.com – for passing on the information about this great resource.