keeping track of african and africa-related culture in the media (film, photography, television, and print)

africa.photography: (not so) random goodness edition

Posted: May 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: fashion, globalization, photography, politics, race | Comments Off

naughten_hereros
Screenshot from Jim Naughten’s portfolio site © J. Naughten

Jim Naughten: Hereros

Each image, a portrait of Herero tribe members of Namibia, reveals a material culture that harkens the region’s tumultuous past: residents wear Victorian era dresses and paramilitary costume as a direct result and documentation of its early 20th century German colonization. Namibia’s borders encompass the world’s oldest desert. Bleak lunar landscapes, diamond mines, German ghost towns, rolling sea fogs, nomadic tribes and a hostile coastline littered with shipwrecks and whale skeletons comprise the region’s striking and haunting natural features. Namibia’s geography has witnessed a turbulent and little documented history of human settlement, upheaval and war within a particularly brutal period of European colonization.

nehralbino
Screenshot from Galerie Anne Barrault site. Image © E. Nehr

Eric Nehr: rose blesse

The spectator is confused. These aesthetical, disturbing photographs make him feel so ill at ease that he is tempted to look away, confronted with the repressed reality revealed by the artist who makes him question the body in society, the body as an “ object of socialization”

Ed: Struck by the remarkable colors and tones used to tell the story of these two social/cultural groups.

anotherafricaitsfinelevine
Screenshot from Its Fine Levine site. Images © P. Galembo and I. Penn

Another Africa and KLV: Diptique Part 3.

Another Africa and K.L.V. have collaborated on a series of diptychs that compare an intensely rich source of inspiration born in Africa with the realms of the worldwide arts and fashion. On view, the ingenuity of African masqueraders, gleaning mother nature’s closet to create visually arresting disguises. Juxtaposed with contemporary art and fashion images, the pairings highlight the qualities that connect, complement and contrast, but ultimately celebrate creative ingenuity.

sanderkeita1
Images © A. Sander and S. Keita

August Sander and Seydou Keita: Portraiture and Social Identity

Within the rather Spartan confines of the Walther Collection Project Space are to be found three worlds: Weimar-era Germany, photographed by August Sanders in his life-long project to record the ‘Face of Time’, late-colonial Mali, where Seydou Keïta operated a portable portrait studio in Bamako, and, of course, 21st century New York.

Ed: Pairing of bodies of work that are on the surface unrelated.


Image from Gwenn Dubourthoumieu’s portfolio site © G. Dubourthoumieu

Gwenn Dubourthoumieu: The Nomad Warriors of Northern Kenya


Screenshot from Ken Hermann’s portfolio site © K. Hermann

Ken Hermann: Beauty of Omo Valley

joeylomo
Screenshot from Joey L’s site. © Joey L

Joey L: The Cradle of Mankind

Ed: “Pastoralist with AK-47″ as visual staple of Horn of Africa documentary photography.


“Visions of Renegades”: Metalheads in Botswana

Posted: April 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: fashion, globalization, music, photography | Comments Off

marshallvicemetalheads
Screenshot from Vice web site article on Botswana’sheavy metal scene. © F. Marshall

South African photographer Frank Marshall’s images of cowboy-clad metaleros from Botswana collected into a body of work he calls “Visions of Renegades”. Snip from article on the otherwise ribald Vice web site:

“… many metalheads in Botswana are cowboys from the villages and farms, so they mix the cowboy image with a biker metal look. Many wear hunting knives and parts of dead animals. We drink from the hollowed-out cow horns.”

Source: ATLAS HOODS: BOTSWANA’S COWBOY METALHEADS – Viceland Today Kofia tip: This is Africa


africa.art: “Africa is Everywhere”: The Global Art Project

Posted: February 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: fashion, globalization, multimedia, museums, photography, race | Comments Off

Watch the full episode. See more SundayArts.

Great interview with Lowery Stokes Sims , co-curator of the Global Africa Project exhibition now showing at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City. Through the interview, Sims discusses how much cultural fusion there is in the “psychic African space” or anywhere African artists are in the world. Snip from exhibit description:

In order to present various dimensions of the work of African artists and artisans worldwide, The Global Africa Project is organized around several thematic ideas. These include: the phenomenon of intersecting cultures and cultural fusion; the branding and co-opting of cultural references; how art and design is promoted in the international market and the creative global scene; the use of local materials; and the impact of art-making on the economic and social condition of local communities.

See Also: New York Times Feature: “Five artists featured in the Global Africa Project


random goodness: “bookmark this” edition

Posted: January 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: books, fashion, globalization, illustration, magazine, multimedia, photography, race | 2 Comments »

1444
Screen shot from the Gold Coast Trading Co. Site © K. Johnson
FASHION: The fashion collection of Gold Coast Trading Co. Photography of the “Soweto Youth 1976″ collection is visually stunning.

Relatedly: Interview with Ivorian fashion designer Emeka Alams here.

anotherafrica

WEBSITES: Another Africa: Unravelling a Hidden Continent. Founder Missla Libsekal’s beautiful site serves as a “contemporary vision of Africans, Africa and those related to the continent and its peoples in the areas of culture, art, fashion, architecture, design, music, photography and more ….”
Screenshot from home page of Another Africa web site.

diallogreatvision
Screenshot from home page of Delphine Diallo’s web site. © D. Diallo

PHOTOGRAPHY: Delphine Diallo: The Great Vision Franco-Senegalese graphic artist/photographer’s portfolio site. Still love “Magic Photo Studio” series after first seeing it in Clam magazine a while ago.

tracefinalissue
Screenshot from TRACE web site home page

MAGAZINES: Trace: The Last Issue. Sad passing. Before there was A.V_M, there was my collection of Trace magazines and Claude Grunitzky’s concept of transculturalism.


africa.style: tribal mod

Posted: August 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: fashion, globalization | 4 Comments »

missonindebele
Screenshot of Missoni Resort 2011 collection on the style.com site.

Missoni Resort 2011 Collection. Mod fashion with a nod to “tribal” (Ndebele) style.

(via the always interesting katebomz tumblr)


Iman: Icon. Refugee

Posted: June 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: fashion, globalization, migration, politics, poverty | Comments Off

Icon: Former model Iman Abdulmajid is set to receive the Council of Fashion Designers of America 2010 Fashion Icon award. Although Iman made her mark in the “frivolous” world of good looks, the impact of her presence there and on the wider world of the African/black visual image is undeniable.

Refugee: In above puff piece, former refugee Iman makes a great point about what women displaced by the Congo conflict need. No, not charity but help to end the war (as funded by conflict minerals from that region), so that they can re-build their communities. Not sure if the whole fair-trade cellphones concept will take off, though.


Rekindling Dreams: The Swenkas

Posted: May 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: books, fashion, film, globalization, magazine, migration, music, photography, poverty | 1 Comment »

Thanks to a post on Kate Bomz’ lovely tumblrlog I happily obliterated a recent Friday evening discovering the culture of the Swenkas of South Africa. Swenkas?:

The swenkas are a small group of Zulu working men which formed in South Africa following the abolishment of Apartheid.
These well-dressed men are proud and considered to serve as an inspiration to others. On Saturday nights, these men leave their work clothes behind and don highly fashionable quality suits to impress a judge, who is a randomly picked. Traditionally, the prize for the most stylish suit is cash, but on special occasions such as Christmas, the winner may receive a goat or a cow. This traditional fashion show still happens today, but it is unclear as to precisely when it was instigated. The men follow certain set values of Swanking, such as physical cleanliness, sobriety and above all self-respect.

It is not clear what the precise roots of the swenka culture are. There is the acapella Iscathamiya music, where the performers, inspired by African-American ragtime/jazz fashions took a sense of formality and elegance. Also like migrants everywhere else the workers needed to buy swanky outfits for their return home to show those they had left behind that they had made it in the big city, regardless of what the daily reality was (is) of life in the mines, the construction sites, and white homes where they worked. Regular competition seems to have raised it all into an art form and a subculture.

The three video clips below highlight the various threads that make up Swenka.


Mini-feature on the Zulu ISICATHAMIYA choir competitions in Johannesburg


“artsworld” feature on Iscathamiya choral and Swenka fashion competitions in Johannesburg


Trailer for 2004 documentary “The Swenkas” by Danish director Jeppe Ronde. Synopsis here

viceswenkas
Screen shot from Vice magazine site featuring the Swenkas. © M. Shoul

See also: Vice magazine: Swanky Swenkas Snip from article from Adolphus Mbuyisa on swenking:

I am one of the organizers of the Joburg swenkas. I don’t know how many suits I own, maybe 20 or 30. If I see a suit I like, I simply must have it. I also have lots of shoes, ties, and shirts. It is important for everything to match if you want to win a competition.

….

I live in a room in Soweto. My family is very supportive of me and my clothes. They don’t mind that I spend so much money on suits—they are proud of me and they like it when I look smart.

paulsmithmainline
Screen shot from designer Paul Smith’s web site

Speaking of Swankiness, See Also: Underscoring the power of the imagination in subcultures like the Swenkas and sapeurs, fashion designer Paul Smith has a new fashion line for spring/summer 2010 called “Mainline” influenced by Congo Brazzaville’s sapeurs:

See Also: Through all this I can’t help but think of Hugh Masekela’s song “Coal Train” (aka “Stimela”) about a train carrying men from the hinterlands of southern Africa (all of Africa these days?) who uproot themselves from their homes, lands and loves in the pursuit of dreams of wealth and comfort. The dreams that crash into the reality of migrant life and that are rekindled in Swenka fashion and Iscathamiya music/performance.


Hugh Masekela: “Coal Train Live”


africa.film: nollywood

Posted: April 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: film, globalization | Comments Off

spiegelnollywood
Screenshot from Spiegel Online site photo gallery: “Action Flicks and Love Stories”

Spiegel Online article and photo gallery on Nollywood. Bet you did not know that it is the second largest employer in the country after the oil industry. Snip:

Nollywood is the massive, pulsating film industry in Nigeria, which the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has declared the world’s second-largest film industry, after India’s Bollywood, based on the number of films produced. Shooting past Hollywood without the world noticing, Nollywood has made it to second place with films about family, love and honor, about AIDS, prostitution and oil, and about ghosts and cannibals.

In other words, films about Africa.

Hat Tip: Scarlettlion via Twitter


africa.architecture: david adjaye’s urban africa

Posted: April 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: architecture, environment, globalization, museums, photography | 3 Comments »

adjayearchitecture
Screen shot from BBC site of David Adjaye’s African urban architecture photos. © D. Adjaye

ARCHITECTURE: Tanzanian-born star-chitect David Adjaye has a show at London’s Design Museum. Urban Africa contains over 2000 images that he has taken over the last 10 years of the civic/commercial/residential architecture of all of Africa’s 53 capital cities. In a BBC interview he talks about how people have strong visual connections to the wild landscapes of the continent, but are a little baffled when told about about how cosmopolitan the cities are. The show’s goal is to redress this situation.

I wish I could go see this show. These days when I go back to Nairobi, I see the architecture in a different way. There are many old buildings that intrigue me (designed to address a certain notion of africanness and local climate needs) and new ones that leave me aghast (designed to mimic some bland, uncreative notion of modernity).

PHOTOGRAPHY: See also: Flickr: Nairobi Architecture

cine_afrique_znz
Cine Afrique building, Zanzibar. Photo by your humble servant © K. Mucoki


photography: vodou in brooklyn

Posted: February 4th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: globalization, photography | Comments Off

vodoubk

Vodou in Brooklyn: Audio slideshow featuring the images and commentary of photojournalist Stephanie Keith who has documented a series of vodou parties involving Haitian immigrants who live in New York City. [via the never boring boing boing]