A stint in prison for selling drugs helped Australian artist Bindi Cole refocus her mode of expression. Having always been interested in photography, shortly after her release Cole began focusing her work on issues of identity. Aboriginal, but fair skinned, Cole had never really been sure about the way she identified with the stereotype of the Aboriginal. Her Not Really Aboriginal series, which featured fair skinned Aboriginal people in blackface, garnered her much attention.
In another work, EH5452 (Cole’s prisoner number), Cole documents her time in prison using photos, diary entries and prison issue personal items such as cigarette papers and lighters. Cathartic, for Cole, the project in her words “aims to turn something dark, hidden and shameful into something light, revelatory and beautiful.”
In yet another series, Cole spent a month capturing portraits of the Tiwi Island culture’s “Sistagirls.” A Sistagirl is a transgender person. Formerly revered in the culture, after the culture was colonized and converted to Catholicism, the Sistagirls became shunned and excluded from their tribe. Existing in their own mini world, Cole sought to capture the essence of who they are and the spirit o their community.
Amanda Lear: previous male, current female, muse of Salvador Dali, multimillion selling Disco Queen three decades ago, subject of an incredibly long Wikipedia entry (yes, her official site is hosted on Tripod), feast for ironic art eyes, and just strange strange strange. Whenever I watch her videos I wonder “is this shit for real?”. But yeah. It is.
Haunting and provocative, “Ghosts” South African artist Ralph Ziman’s recent photography exhibition addresses the international arms trade. The series features 200 beaded gun and ammunition sculptures created by 6 Zimbabwean artisans who were commissioned by Ziman. The sculptures are made from traditional African beads and wire and are replicas of AK-47s and general purpose machine guns (GPMGs). The artists are also the subjects of Ziman’s photographs, alongside some construction workers, and a member of the South African Police Services who just wanted his picture taken. The idea for the project began as a series of murals in Venice that were a response to the international arms trade and Africa. The result is a powerful representation of the intimate relationship between Africa and arms trading.
“In bringing his exhibit to the US, ‘the world’s biggest arms exporter,’ Ziman goes some way to redirecting the one directional flow of the arms trade, inviting viewers to consider the original source of the guns on display.” “Ghosts” features the gun sculptures, installations, and photographs, and is on display from February 8 through March 2 at C.A.V.E. Gallery in Los Angeles. (via hi fructose and okay africa)
Fashion photographery duo Sofia Sanchez & Mauro Mongiello have many projects for clients both big and small but I’m most interested in these still life and portraits from their personal work that have a dark and mysterious twist to them.
French artist Marc Giai-Miniet packs hidden tales into small, elaborate dioramas, a craft he has been pursuing since the 90s. This month his work is on display in New York’s Jonathan LeVine Gallery in a show titled “Theatre of Memory.” His work explores remains; of libraries, laboratories, waiting rooms, dungeons, prisons, hospitals, interrogation rooms, all places with signs of evident use, but all completely absent of people.
“Every room in Giai-Miniet’s boxes are dismally packed with hoards of books and machinery. Influenced by childhood visits to the garage his father worked in as a mechanic, the utilitarian organization of objects has long been a theme of interest to the artist. This aesthetic was also greatly impacted by his exposure to images of the Holocaust at a young age, specifically how the Nazi regime systematically seized and cataloged the personal belongings of concentration camp victims.
Giai-Miniet views his boxes as a metaphor for the human condition, which is comprised of biological functions, as well as a desire to achieve intellectual and spiritual enlightenment. This duality is represented by the presence of machinery in the works, symbolizing the physical side of human nature, while literature suggests the logical side. The artist states, ‘From the whiteness of books to the darkness of sewers, there is a never-ending to and fro between the two main poles of humanity: bestiality and transcendence, human fragility and inaccessible divinity.'”(Excerpt from Source)
Emmanuelle Pidoux lives and works in Dunkerque, France and is one of the founding members of the Frederic Magazine drawing collective. Her work frequently features mysterious dark matter. These menacing black masses engulf every scene. Occasionally figures and animals are barely visible within the dingy fog. The drawings reference the grim side of nature as well as man-made air pollution to comment on the power of the universe and our often damaging effect on the environment.
Texas based photographer Nick Minton has been working on a personal project over the past few years titled Days With Rose. The series documents his great grandmother’s journey, at age 90, as she moves from her lifelong home & a life of independence to an assisted living community.