Matika Wilbur is a Pacific Northwest photographer who is part of the Swinomish and Tulalip Tribes (Washington). In her unique position as both an artist and a social documentarian Wilbur became interested in capturing the contemporary Native identity and experience of Native Americans. Originally simply curious about her own identity and the way it grappled with how she felt others perceived her, Wilbur began a small project on her community’s elders. That small project morphed into an ambitious process of documentation.
With great insight, depth and passion Wilbur began Project 562. Despite the current cultural, economic and political progression of the Native Americans Wilbur was distraught by the strong and incorrect stereotypes that prevail. The 2010 census shows about 5.2 million Native Americans living in the United States and Wilbur feels it is important to portray how this significant population lives today. Thus she embarked on a 60,000 mile roadtrip to begin documenting citizens of each of the more than 560 federally recognized Native American tribes in the United States.
Along with photographs, Wilbur is taking oral narratives from all Tribal communities. Seeking out elders, cultural bearers, linguists, teachers, activists, artists, professionals and other contemporary Native Americans Wilbur is organizing her photographs and stories into a comprehensive and through project. As Wilbur explains, “My goal is to represent Native people from every tribe. By exposing the astonishing variety of the Indian presence and reality at this juncture, we will build cultural bridges, abandon stereotypes, and renew and inspire our national legacy.”
Sparking conversation about Edward Curtis, Wilbur responds to comparisons by saying that Curtis was a white man, who would bring his own “props” and pair clothing with the incorrect tribe—rarely even bothering to know the names of his subjects. Wilbur, on the other hand, wants to know the stories of her subjects and wants to portray them accurately, shunning the stereotypes Curtis’ photographs, to this day, perpetuate.
Having just completed a successful Kickstarter campaign Wilbur will continue with her project. A collection of images and interviews will be on display at The Tacoma Art Museum in May.
Italian charity La Collina dei Conigli ONLUS rescues rabbits, mice, rats, and guinea pigs from labs or mistreatment. The now-adoptable pets were the recent subjects of a photo series by Rachele Totaro that’s inspired by Lewis Carroll’s famous novel Alice in Wonderland. Volunteer Attilia Conti had the idea, and it commemorates the first 10 years of the charity’s operation. So, why Alice in Wonderland? Because the book and organization both started with a white rabbit.
The fantastical photographs feature the animals holding objects, poking out of a teapot, and of course, gazing into the looking glass. “Mice were the most cooperative models, while guinea pigs were the laziest (they stayed still only with food present),” Totaro writes. “Rats were the most attractive, and rabbits… were the most disapproving.” You can see that with some of the critters, there was no coercing them into any sort of cutesy pose.
The charity’s rescue center is located in Monza, near Milan, and many of the animals are still looking for new homes. If you’re local to the city, you can adopt one. (Via Bored Panda)
The photographer Paul Koudounaris has made a name for himself by photographing the mysterious dead: mummies, skeletons, ossuaries.The enchanting subject of his recent project Heavenly Bodies are the never-before photographed relics of Europe’s Catholic churches, said to be the bones of Christian martyrs. At their discovery in 1578, these remains were taken from underground tombs and enthroned as objects of worship in place of earlier saintly relics ravaged by the Protestant Reformation.
The opulent adornments that surround the remains (i.e. wigs, gemstones, gold lace) reflect the decadence of the late Middle Ages, when churches ornamentation became more elaborate and extravagant. Dressed like royals, these saints suggest an afterlife filled with heavenly pleasures. Against rich, dark fabrics, the precious metals shine brilliantly; within a tight frame, Koudounaris shoots from below, simultaneously capturing the splendor up-close and elevating the sacred remains to a slightly higher plane.
Although he exalts his subjects in this way, Koudounaris’s images remain touchingly human; while some images capture gigantic, enthroned figures with the utmost deference, others focus on small, humble details. A gap where a tooth once sat or a clenched skeletal hand serves as a poignant memento mori, reminding viewers of the human deaths that happened long ago. The mysterious remains, of whom no one knows the full story, are seen ambiguously, both as a suggestion of an enraptured afterlife and a morbid recognition of mortality and decay. Take a look at the mesmerizing images below. Heavenly Bodies is available in print here. (via Colossal and Hyperallergic)
Upon viewing the sculptor Alasdair Thomson’s flowing, dreamy garments, you might be transported to the sunlit meadows of a William-Adolphe Bouguereau painting filled with young, fresh-faced girls in flowing white sundresses. On second glance, however, the clothes reveal themselves to be carved from hard, cold marble. The artist, using hanging outfits borrowed from his friends as unusual muses, renders miraculously enlivened clothing from the durable material, dresses that seem to dance in the wind despite remaining entirely immobile.
Here, Thomson, who holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Edinburg, reinterprets the Renaissance and classical treatment of marble; in the stead of Michelangelo’s strapping David or ancient tributes to mythological heroes, he presents simple, delicate, and feminine attire. The juxtaposition of soft content with sturdy material compels the viewer to consider deeper themes, and as these cottony sculptures hang convincingly from hangers, the everyday is elevated to a level as significant and moving as ancient mythologies. Notably, the clothes are also fetchingly modern; in the place of togas, Shine carves belted jumpers and strapless gowns.
While marble art historically has usually been used to express the powerful eroticism of both the male and female body, these hanging garments maintain a charming innocence. Seen in pale white and adorned with frills and ruffles, they wait to be inhabited by a body that will never arrive; limply, they fall and strain against the hanger. Indeed, the pieces are delightful, and viewers might be covetous them, if only they could actually be slipped over human bodies. (via Oddity Central and Colossal)
Estonian artist Eiko Ojala expertly creates illustrations using paper. His complex collage pieces are at the same time simple in execution. His background as an illustrator is clear in each of these pieces. Ojala is able to communicate a considerable story with minimal imagery and medium. Whether a series of trees interacting through different seasons, or portraits, Ojala weaves interesting narratives using simple poignant scenes.
Acid Drops is a breathtakingly exquisite yet simple ongoing animation series by Matt Box that psychedelically captures the individual styles of influential skateboarders.First up is one of my favorite skaters, Jason Dill. Watch the full video in all its technicolor glory after the jump.
To promote a new line of recycled paper, the creative ad-agency Soon made these fantastic sculptures of bugs. The bugs are inventive in form and colour, but are still recognizable as beetles, bees, dragonflies, and other species of insect. The wings are meticulously cut out to imitate the texture of real wings, but without the thin film that would allow them to fly. The sculptures really are all about texture. One that looks like it could be a fly has the texture of a fly’s eyes over the entirety of its body, and feelers that look like the filter-feeding system of a baleen whale.
It’s funny to see the “making of” video, because the bugs are as large as their creators’ hands. It’s entertaining to see the process of making the bugs. The video shows everyone at the agency sorting the papers by colour (even enlisting their children to help them), cutting the paper into different shapes or folding it like origami, and gluing it to create rather sturdy looking sculptures. It’s totally enjoyable to see such a collaborative effort to successful effect.
Soon also created flowers and other plants as a sort of habitat for the bugs. Using the habitat, they made a short film of the bugs flying around it, that is equal parts playful and funny. (Via Bizarre Beyond Belief)
Kyle Kogut is a recent graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. His mixed media work often blends technical printmaking techniques with expressionistic, supple applications of paint. Set within a refreshing, distinctive palette, his compositions are full of energy and variation, yet never come off as cluttered or overly busy. This ability to conduct myriad elements within a functioning, harmonious whole works well with his current subject matter- Nature, and organic life. From the artist’s website:
“While impossible to surpass Her, my study of Nature and the phenomenon that is life has been a continuous investigation of organic patterns and forms, stemming both from visual observation and also subconscious mark-making.”
Kogut just closed an exhibition at Philly’s F&N Gallery. Make sure to check out his tumblr.