At first glance, this series by photographer Stacey Tyrell seems to portray nothing out of the ordinary, just portraits of white women living their lives. At closer inspection, however, you realize all of the women look the same; they share uncanny similarities with just a few differences in hair, eye, and skin color. In reality, Stacey Tyrell has staged these scenes representing depictions of Caucasian women using herself as a model. Interestingly enough, the artist herself is black. The title of Tyrell’s deeply memorable series is BackraBluid. Backra, originating from West Africa, means white master or person. Bluid is a Scotch word for the blood of men or kin. These two words combined represent two different points of origin in the artist’s family heritage. Tyrell explores her ancestry in this series, which includes English, Scottish, and Irish.
Most everyone in post-colonial societies, especially in the Western world, is the descendant of a diverse range of ancestry, producing many individuals with what may appear to be ambiguous ethnicities. These individuals may identify with one, multiple, or even none of their racial or cultural identities. However, by nature, humans want to make sense of their surrounding and tend to place others in categories. Stacey Tyrell has experienced this first hand. She explains the significance of this experience in relation to Backra Bluid.
Upon viewing my physical features I am automatically assigned a racial identity by whoever is looking at me. Skin color often obscures and over-rides the features and markers of other races that may be present in my genetic make-up. By simply changing my skin color and making subtle tweaks to my features I wish to show that if someone were to take a closer look at my face they would see that it might not be that much different from their own.
C. Owen Lavoie’s (better know as C. Owen) series of photographs entitled Trophies captures the emergence of exotic creatures out of darkness. Because they are shrouded in so much darkness, these portraits at first seem to be taken in close proximity to live animals, but Lavoie is able to get so close to these beasts because they are taxidermied. This creates a haunting and mysterious effect that reflects on ideas about preservation, death, and hunting. The lens captures the preserved expressions of the creatures’ vulnerability, creating a sort of double preservation of the dead animal that stares right back at us. Lavoie says that she considers the series “a way of bringing the animals back to life for the public eye. It’s sort of like a third generation; first the animal was born, then hunted and handed over to a taxidermist so it can be displayed and finally in the end, modified by my lens.”
One of our favorite new stores, Deli in Seattle will be having its grand opening on Saturday, May 30th. Along with complimentary brewskis and wine, they will also be giving you a free item when you present the above card at their store! They have some great brands represented (besides yours truly) and if you’re in the area is definitely worth checking out.
Finnish photographer Perttu Saska has created this unsettling series of Jakarta street monkey photographs titled “A Kind Of You.” These monkeys are captured as they are: dressed in children’s clothes and wearing doll faces, their chains often visible. Apparently, training and dressing monkeys to act like humans to ask for money is an Asian tradition – one that has escalated to dire conditions and circumstance for these poor creatures.
Thankfully, upon searching for more information about these monkeys and this tradition, I stumbled across a BBC article published yesterday that cites the removal of the first 11 out of 350 monkeys from Jakarta streets. They have been quarantined where they will likely remain for a few months before they can be released back into the wild. Since 2009, animal rights activists have been campaigning against this cruel tradition, and hope that this initial removal will set the stage for complete banishment of this cruel practice.
Of his series, Saska writes, “Modern city culture has turned the old tradition in to eerie and haunting act of cruel street theatre where animals become something else, never able to reach our expectations.” With the awareness created by people like Saska and animal rights activists, these Indonesian monkeys hopefully won’t have to be subjected to the unreasonable expectations of their human handlers any longer. (via ufunk)
Recently nominated for a Mercury Prize, ∆ (Alt-J) is stepping up venues on their next tour of the West Coast. LA’s Fonda Theatre will have them on December 12th which is sure to be a quick sell out. I recently saw them at the Bootleg Theatre and they have really come a long way since their US debut at School Night in Hollywood earlier this year. I’ve been listening to their album, An Awesome Wave since it was released in the UK this past May, thanks Rough Trade! Even though one of my friends thinks the singer sounds a little like Elmer Fudd, the music is infectious. Check out the video for Breezeblocks after the jump and buy your tickets ASAP for their show at the Fonda at Ticketmaster.
Aaron Leif Nicholson has an affinity for creating life-sized sculptures of imposing characters (like witch doctors and Yetis) that seem to have stepped straight out of a nightmare. Nicholson’s “Coney Island Star Man” is a prime example: faceles and hunched over the ground, he lurks on a beach as if he’s watching you. Nicholson brings his sculptural background to other works as well, which include mixed-media drawings and paintings, lending traditionally two-dimensional art a three-dimensional quality.
Perhaps taking some influence from the Hindu god Shiva, Korean artist Ahn Sun Mi creates self portraits depicting herself as some type of all seeing entity. In a surreal sense the photographs Mi creates depict the many emotions and feelings one experiences throughout the day. It conveys the complexity of human behavior by showing multiple eyes or arms. These represent the many things we see and do throughout the course of our lives. The numerous changes we undergo each day become in Mi’s work another mark in our psyche which is visually or literally depicted in her work.
While studying in Paris Mi became interested in the concept of metamorphosis which resulted from her being away from home in a strange land. Some of her photographs resemble a moth about to turn into a butterfly. Others have her struggling out of a cocoon like a covering made out of her arms. It helped her deal with all the emotions which stemmed from her new surroundings and mirrored how growth is good even though somewhat painful. By using herself in the photos we not only experience the ideas she’s trying to communicate but also get to see the biographical side in a literal visual sense. Historically Mi’s work finds reference to artists such as Yayoi Kusama and Rene Magritte. (Via faithistorment)