Voice Business presents Wirework

Posted in Africa, Arts, Forthcoming Media, South Africa, United Kingdom on 2018-05-21 15:14Z by Steven

Voice Business presents Wirework

Tristan Bates Theatre
1A Tower St, Covent Garden
London, United Kingdom WC2H 9NP
Tuesday, 2018-07-03 through Saturday, 2018-07-07, 19:30 (Thurs & Sat Matinees 14:30)

A play about the unexpected relationship between Koos Malgas, a Cape Coloured shepherd and Helen Martins, a one-time actor and teacher, in the creation of the Owl House – an extraordinary environmental piece full of animated sculptures and pulsating light montages.

Set in the isolated landscape of the South African Karoo and inspired by images from pictures and postcards, their world becomes dominated by form and colour. In her struggle to find the ‘light’, Helen looks towards Mecca as Koos faces the reality of apartheid prejudice and survival.

BRITISH PREMIERE, first performed in South Africa, 2009

Supported by Arts Council England

CAST
Helen Elaine Wallace
Koos Kurt Kansley

CREATIVE
Director Jessica Higgs
Scenographer Declan Randall

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Jesmyn Ward: ‘Black girls are silenced, misunderstood and underestimated’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, Mississippi, United States on 2018-05-19 22:54Z by Steven

Jesmyn Ward: ‘Black girls are silenced, misunderstood and underestimated’

The Guardian
2018-05-11

Lisa Allardice, Editor
Guardian Review

Jesmyn Ward: ‘I fought from the very beginning.’
Jesmyn Ward: ‘I fought from the very beginning.’ Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

The author of Sing, Unburied, Sing, had a tough childhood in Mississippi, survived Hurricane Katrina, and became the first woman to win two US national book awards for fiction

If Jesmyn Ward’s fiction tends towards the epic, that is maybe because her life has been marked by monumental events. “I fought from the very beginning”, she says. Born prematurely at just 26 weeks, she was badly attacked by her father’s pit bull as a small child, her younger brother was killed at 19, and, along with several generations of her family, she sheltered from Hurricane Katrina in a truck. Yet today she is the first woman to win the US national book award for fiction twice, hailed by a leading reviewer as “one of the most powerfully poetic writers in the country”. And on the morning we meet, it has just been announced that she has been shortlisted for the Women’s prize for fiction for her novel Sing, Unburied, Sing

Ward’s subject is what it means to be poor and black in America’s rural south, where “life is a hurricane”. Modern Mississippi, she says, “means addiction, ground-in generational poverty, living very closely with the legacy of slavery, of Jim Crow, of lynching and of intractable racism”. In her first novel, Where the Line Bleeds (2008), she felt she “protected” her characters from these brutal realities, because she knew and cared about them too much: “So I kept pulling my punches. And later I realised that was a mistake. Life doesn’t spare the kind of people who I write about, so I felt like it would be dishonest to spare my characters in that way.”…

Read the entire interview here.

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Museum buys 1882 painting by African-American artist who worked in Victoria

Posted in Articles, Arts, Canada, Media Archive on 2018-05-10 17:36Z by Steven

Museum buys 1882 painting by African-American artist who worked in Victoria

The Times Colonist
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
2018-04-24

Louise Dickson


Giant’s Castle Mountain: A.L. Fortune Farm, Enderby B.C. Oct. 6, 1882, painted by Grafton Tyler Brown while he was living in Victoria.
Photograph By via Royal B.C. Museum

The Royal B.C. Museum has purchased an major landscape painting by 19th-century African-American artist Grafton Tyler Brown.

The painting — Giant’s Castle Mountain: A.L. Fortune Farm, Enderby B.C. Oct. 6, 1882 — is considered by University of Victoria history professor John Lutz to be the most important of Brown’s B.C. paintings. The painting, bought for $44,000 from Uno Langmann Fine Art Ltd. in March, shows Alexander Leslie Fortune’s farmstead on the edge of a forest. The agrarian foreground is dwarfed by a looming mountain.

The Royal B.C. Museum holds the greatest number and most significant of Brown’s Canadian works. Giant’s Castle Mountain is considered to be a work of artistic and historical significance to British Columbians. It was painted in Victoria after Brown visited the southern Interior…

Read the entire article here.

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Grafton Tyler Brown: Exploring California

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2018-05-10 15:20Z by Steven

Grafton Tyler Brown: Exploring California

Pasadena Museum of California Art
490 East Union Street
Pasadena, California 91101
(626) 568-3665
2018-04-04

2018-06-17 through 2018-10-07

Bridget R. Cooks, Curator; Associate Professor of Art History and African American Studies
University of California, Irvine


Grafton Tyler Brown, Grand Canyon and Falls, 1887. Oil on canvas. 30 x 20 inches. Courtesy of the Melvin Holmes Collection of African American Art. Photo ©John Wilson White Studio

Grafton Tyler Brown: Exploring California is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art and curated by Bridget R. Cooks Ph.D.. The exhibition is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors, PMCA Ambassador Circle, and the California Visionary Fund.

Grafton Tyler Brown (1841-1918) was a painter, graphic designer, and lithographer in the 19th century. A talented artist and entrepreneur, Brown was the only documented African American in his field in the western United States at the time.

Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Brown learned about lithography while working for a printer in Philadelphia at the age of fourteen. The gold and silver mining boom in the 1800s encouraged him to venture West to establish a business and home. In 1865, Brown founded his first lithography business in San Francisco, where he served the emerging business communities in the area, designing stock certificates for a wide variety of companies ranging from ice to mining corporations, as well as admission tickets, maps, sheet music, advertisements, and billheads

Read the entire article here.

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The Evolution of Jurnee Smollett-Bell

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2018-05-07 17:49Z by Steven

The Evolution of Jurnee Smollett-Bell

Shondaland
2018-05-04

Rebecca Carroll


Jurnee Smollett-Bell GETTY/BRIANNA ELLIS-MITCHELL

I’m always in serious awe of really skilled child actors, because contrary to what a lot of folks likely think, it’s not just about playing make-believe. Sure, there is an element of pretending, but even that, I think, is a really courageous thing to do as a kid — to go deeply into your imagination, and stay there for hours upon hours. What if you forget who you really are? And, of course, a lot of child actors, especially those who find success, do end up forgetting who they really are. But one instance of a child actor who legit held it down as a young talent and then grew up to be straight fire: Jurnee Smollett-Bell.

Most striking of Smollett-Bell’s childhood cinematic oeuvre, to my mind, is her star turn in Kasi Lemmon’s gorgeous beyond belief breakout independent film “Eve’s Bayou,” which the late Roger Ebert named the best film of 1997. The story takes place over the course of a thick, blistering summer in rural Louisiana, and Smollett-Bell gives a searingly vivid performance as 10-year-old Eve Baptiste, whose daddy (Samuel Jackson), even though he’s a doctor, is no-count as hell, and the rest of her Creole family is kind of a hot mess, too. There’s a lot that can be said about the film on it’s own according — including Lemmons’ fierce command as a first-time filmmaker, the fine and brittle performance by Lynn Whitfield (Queen) as Eve’s mother, the sinewy depth of the cinematography, and set production, and just all the glistening, damaged, and glorious black skin in every single scene. But it’s Smollett-Bell, in her little denim overalls and mile-high Eve attitude that has stayed with me all these years.

Smollett-Bell, who comes from an entire constellation of stars — her brother Jussie is on a little show called “Empire,” and there’s also brothers Jojo, Jocqui, and Jake, and sister Jazz — grew up in New York City, where she and her siblings all began acting very young. All six siblings starred in the short-lived ABC sitcom “On Our Own.” They’ve remained close and recently published a cookbook together called “The Family Table.” The sitcom led to a handful of film roles for Smollett-Bell, among them “Eve’s Bayou,” also “Beautiful Joe” with Sharon Stone, and later, “The Great Debaters” with Forest Whittaker and Denzel Washington (who also directed). Smollett-Bell went on to work consistently in television, appearing as a series regular on “Friday Night Lights,” “The Defenders,” “True Blood” and the black folk family favorite, “Underground” (hootie hoo!), which earned her two Outstanding Actress nominations from the NAACP Image Awards

Read the entire article here.

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The Myth of Brazil’s Racial Democracy

Posted in Articles, Arts, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2018-05-02 15:46Z by Steven

The Myth of Brazil’s Racial Democracy

aperture
2018-04-18

Amelia Rina
Brooklyn, New York


Jonathas de Andrade, Eu, mestiço, 2017–18
Courtesy Alexander and Bonin, New York

In a new exhibition, Jonathas de Andrade confronts his country’s complicated past and present.

Brazil is renowned in the world for its racial democracy,” begins anthropologist Charles Wagley in the 1952 study Race and Class in Rural Brazil. Produced by Columbia University and UNESCO, the text describes ethnographic studies performed by Wagley and his colleagues in four regions of Brazil. In each region, men and women from what they determined to be the four major racial groups—caboclo (indigenous and Afro-Brazilian), preto (Afro-Brazilian), mulato (Afro-Brazilian and white European), and branco (white European)—were shown photographs of other Brazilians from these categories and then asked to assign them different traits, such as most/least attractive, best/worst worker, most/least honest, most/least wealthy, et cetera. This binary restriction was one of the study’s major flaws that first intrigued Brazilian artist Jonathas de Andrade, and inspired his recent project, Eu, mestiço, currently on view at Alexander and Bonin

Read the entire review here.

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Bedside Books: How Half-Breed by Maria Campbell connected musician Nick Ferrio to his grandmother

Posted in Arts, Audio, Autobiography, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2018-04-25 23:50Z by Steven

Bedside Books: How Half-Breed by Maria Campbell connected musician Nick Ferrio to his grandmother

CBC Radio
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
2018-04-16


Musician Nick Ferrio examines Maria Campbell’s autobiography, Half-Breed, and its depiction of race issues in Canada. (Jeff Bierk/Goodread Biography)

Musician Nick Ferrio is based in Peterborough, Ont., but his roots are in Saskatchewan. He recently read Maria Campbell’s memoir Half-Breed and its account of an Indigenous woman’s encounters with racism, and the book resonated with him, thanks to his own Cree ancestry.

Ferrio’s album Soothsayer also mixes several influences to create a personal style and sound.

Mapping internal conflict

“I think every Canadian should read Half-Breed. It’s an incredible story of a mixed woman whose ancestry is part Cree. She explains the racism she faced in Canada. It resonated with me as my paternal grandmother is Cree. Because of the Indian Act, her family was forced to leave the reserve. When she moved to Toronto, she had internal racism. She was ashamed of her identity. She passed as white, so she blended into white culture in Toronto. That’s a dark thing.”..

Listen to the story here. Read the story here.

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Richard Potter: America’s First Black Celebrity

Posted in Arts, Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2018-04-23 22:42Z by Steven

Richard Potter: America’s First Black Celebrity

University of Virginia Press
February 2018
352 pages
6.13 × 9.25 in
Cloth ISBN: 9780813941042
Ebook ISBN: 9780813941059

John A. Hodgson, Former Dean
Forbes College, Princeton University

Apart from a handful of exotic–and almost completely unreliable–tales surrounding his life, Richard Potter is almost unknown today. Two hundred years ago, however, he was the most popular entertainer in America–the first showman, in fact, to win truly nationwide fame. Working as a magician and ventriloquist, he personified for an entire generation what a popular performer was and made an invaluable contribution to establishing popular entertainment as a major part of American life. His story is all the more remarkable in that Richard Potter was also a black man.

This was an era when few African Americans became highly successful, much less famous. As the son of a slave, Potter was fortunate to have opportunities at all. At home in Boston, he was widely recognized as black, but elsewhere in America audiences entertained themselves with romantic speculations about his “Hindu” ancestry (a perception encouraged by his act and costumes).

Richard Potter’s performances were enjoyed by an enormous public, but his life off stage has always remained hidden and unknown. Now, for the first time, John A. Hodgson tells the remarkable, compelling–and ultimately heartbreaking–story of Potter’s life, a tale of professional success and celebrity counterbalanced by racial vulnerability in an increasingly hostile world. It is a story of race relations, too, and of remarkable, highly influential black gentlemanliness and respectability: as the unsung precursor of Frederick Douglass, Richard Potter demonstrated to an entire generation of Americans that a black man, no less than a white man, could exemplify the best qualities of humanity. The apparently trivial “popular entertainment” status of his work has long blinded historians to his significance and even to his presence. Now at last we can recognize him as a seminal figure in American history.

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Adrian Piper: The Thinking Canvas

Posted in Articles, Arts, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2018-04-23 00:34Z by Steven

Adrian Piper: The Thinking Canvas

The New York Times
2018-04-19

Holland Cotter, Co-Chief Art Critic


Adrian Piper’s “Self-Portrait Exaggerating My Negroid Features,” 1981. In all of her work, our critic writes, “her aim is not to assert racial identity but to destabilize the very concept of it.”
The Eileen Harris Norton Collection, via Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin

She’s an artist and scholar, and at “A Synthesis of Intuitions” you see thinking — about gender, racism, art — happening before your eyes.

Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965-2016” at the Museum of Modern Art is a clarifying and complicating 50-year view of a major American artist’s career. It is also an image-altering event for MoMA itself. It makes the museum feel like a more life-engaged institution than the formally polished one we’re accustomed to.

Despite the show’s retrospective cast, we find fiery issues of the present — racism, misogyny, xenophobia — burning in MoMA’s pristine galleries. The reality that art and its institutions are political to the core — both for what they do and do not say — comes through. And the museum, for once, seems intent on asserting this. For the first time it has given over all of its sixth floor special exhibition space to a single living artist. The artist so honored is a woman, who has focused on, among many other things, the hard fact of racism and the fiction of race.

Ms. Piper was born in New York City in 1948 to parents of mixed racial background. (Her father held two official birth certificates. In one he was designated white, in the other octoroon, one-eighth black.) Raised in a cosmopolitan environment, she studied at the Art Students League in her teens, and in 1966 enrolled at the School of Visual Arts. The MoMA show opens with a salon-style hanging of figurative paintings, including self-portraits, from that time, influenced by 1960 psychedelic graphics and by her youthful experiences with LSD

Read the entire review here.

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Artist At Work: Mequitta Ahuja Wins A Guggenheim

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2018-04-22 20:20Z by Steven

Artist At Work: Mequitta Ahuja Wins A Guggenheim

BmoreArt
Baltimore, Maryland
2018-04-16

Cara Ober, Founding Editor

An Interview with Mequitta Ahuja About Success, Heartbreak, and a Recent Guggenheim Award by Cara Ober

The July 24, 2017 issue of the New Yorker described Mequitta Ahuja‘s work, then on view at the Asia Society Museum, as “whip-smart and languorous.” According to the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, where she was just named a 2018 Fellow, Mequitta Ahuja’s works have been widely exhibited, including venues such as the Brooklyn Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem, Saatchi Gallery, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Crystal Bridges, Baltimore Museum of Art and Grand Rapids Art Museum. Ahuja, a Baltimore-based artist whose parents hail from Cincinnati and New Delhi, has long employed her own image to challenge historic traditions of portrait painting.

I caught up with the artist to ask about her momentous Guggenheim award, announced April 5, 2018, and to discuss the new opportunities and ideas abounding in her studio…

Read the entire interview here.

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