Yinka Shonibare is hands down one of my favorite contemporary artists. His stunning explorations into world history, the poetics and policies of identity, authenticity, globalization and imperialism raise interesting political questions without being patronizing. They are beautiful on a formal level, as well as conceptual.
In the large Ivory Coast city of Abidjan it was once common to see Hââbré, the ancient custom of scarification. Today only the older people wear scarifications and when Joana Choumali decided to photograph them for her series “Haabre, The Last Generation 2013-2014” she had a hard time finding people to pose for her.
“Scarification is the practice of performing a superficial incision in the human skin. This practice is disappearing due to the pressure of religious and state authorities, urban practices and the introduction of clothing in tribes.”
Choumali photographed the participants against a neutral backdrop in the attempt to remove any stigma or judgment from the images. On her website she pairs two images for each portrait—one from behind and one from the front or side, showing the scars. This is an interesting choice which seems to reinforce the idea that the scarification serves as an identity card of sorts. Where people are interchangeable from the back, they are marked and classified and unmistakable from the front. The images are also accompanied by quotes.
“Opinions (sometimes conflicting) of our witnesses illustrate the complexity of African identity today in a contemporary Africa torn between its past and its future. This “last generation” of people bearing the imprint of the past on their faces, went from being the norm and having a high social value to being somewhat ‘excluded.’”
It’s intriguing to note that while Hââbré is becoming extinct in Africa, it is gaining popularity as “body modification” in other areas of the world. According to National Geographic “over the last seven or eight years scarification has become remarkably widespread in the U.S. and Australia and across Europe, from London to Prague.” Is it cultural appropriation or appreciation? Will these scars start as emblems of individuality and end up, as in Africa, visual reminders of regret? (via feature shoot)
Whether it’s hand painted, collaged, and/or sewn together, Jenny Toth imaginatively entwines colorful drawings of the animal kingdom to meditate on a sometimes humorous, and always surreal study of the female condition.
Of her work, Toth states, “For many years I have been intrigued by the way women artists choose to depict themselves. Like many other artists, my view dramatically differs from a historical approach to the female model. I choose to include elements not traditionally viewed as beautiful—for example, a deformed toe, hairy legs, unkempt hair. However I have no interest in shocking the viewer, but seek to share my honest, uncensored observations. I have always been allergic to pretense and slickness.”
If the Beatles were right and all you need is love, I’ll take Morag Myerscough and Luke Morgan’s version thank you very much. Built for the Festival of Love held in Southbank Centre, London (June 28 – August 31, 2014), The Temple of Agape is a visual feast. Neon colors, geometric patterns, and bold typography combine to make love a vibrant, exciting place to be.
The structures are inspired by those encountered by Myerscough in India and elsewhere in Asia where bamboo is used extensively for scaffolding as well as the Watts Towers in LA. The vibrant colours and handpainted lettering are similarly inspired.
Much of the success of the design is due to the restraint shown by Myerscough and Morgan, which may seem counterintuitive when looking at the riotous structure. Look closer, though, and you’ll see that there is one typeface and one type treatment. The color palette is strictly controlled, a neon rainbow, plus pink, black, and white. All of the shapes are simple and geometric; even the counters of the letters are removed, streamlining the shapes of the letters. Minimizing the design elements allows the installation to be ebullient but not overwhelming.
The Festival celebrates the legalization of Same Sex Couple Act by choosing seven Greek words describing love. Myerscough and Morgan’s were given Agape, a spiritual, selfless love; the love of humanity. Their temple represents the power of love to conquer hate.
“The Temple stands proud like a peacock with its giant Martin Luther King quote, expressing the power of love to the world,” say Myerscough and Morgan. “Inside its heart is calm and dappled with light for contemplating complex emotions, a place that can transform with Love expressed within.”
This is a temporary construction, which is a shame. The world could use more love, especially when it’s executed so beautifully. (Via Creative Review) Photos by Gareth Gardner.
Curiosity led photographer James Friedman to cut into his collection of golf balls to see what the cores looked like. To his surprise, he discovered that each golf ball contained a unique interiority, revealing elegant formal qualities and inspiring Friedman to become more enthusiastic about the possibilities of abstraction in his photography, especially as a corollary to his documentary work. His series, entitled Interior Design, captures these surprisingly colorful and distinctive golf ball guts, displaying the inner beauty contained within their homogenized white forms. Friedman has been fascinated with photography since he took his first self-portrait at 5 years old. He does not play golf. (via Lost at E Minor)
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Our favorite watch makers Casio G-Shock and RESPECT. Magazine team up to bring you an inside look into the creative process of the people driving creative culture. This time, we clock in with the Grammy Award–nominated production team The Stereotypes. The L.A.- based crew—Jeremy “Jerm Beats” Reeves, Ray “RayRo” Romulus and Jon “JonStreet” Yip— discuss how they came together and what lead them to lose their day jobs and chase their passion full time. They also discuss their love for G-Shocks and why the brand has been a consistent accessory in their lives as they keep on creating in the studio.