South African’s Beaded Weaponry Series Addresses International Arms Trade

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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)

Pieter Hugo’s Portraits Reveal Skin Impurities To Comment On Race And Beauty

Federica Angelucci, Cape Town, 2011

Federica Angelucci, Cape Town, 2011

Ulrica Knutsdotter, Cape Town, 2011

Ulrica Knutsdotter, Cape Town, 2011

Rob van Vuuren, Cape Town, 2011

Rob van Vuuren, Cape Town, 2011

Pieter Hugo, a South African photographer, plays with color channel manipulation to create portraits that highlight the impurities on his subject’s skin to make a statement about race, the colonial experiment in South Africa, and contemporary ideas of beauty.

There’s a Place in Hell for Me and My Friends entails portraits of the artist’s friends- all whom call South Africa their home. Through the manipulation of color, Hugo emphasizes the sitter’s blemishes and sun damage making them look darker than they would normally appear without the editing process.

In these portraits one sees how the sitters’ environment, a place where there is incredibly harsh sunlight, has started to ‘corrode’ our epidermis. This speaks to me about the South African colonial experiment – all these people from all over the world, thrown together within the confines of a nation by the forces of history. The damage left by the sun and the environment becomes allegorical of the burden of South Africa’s tempestuous and fraught past. History leaves its marks on us. It eats away at us. We cannot escape its heavy weight.

Besides the political allegories found in the work, Hugo is also interested in highlighting the errors of racial distinction by revealing that beneath it all, beneath our skin, we all look the same. As the critic Aaron Schuman writes about Hugo’s work, “although at first glance we may look ‘black’ or ‘white’, the components that remain ‘active’ beneath the surface consist of a much broader spectrum. What superficially appears to divide us is in fact something that we all share, and like these photographs, we are not merely black and white – we are red, yellow, brown, and so on; we are all, in fact, colored.” (Images via Stevenson)

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Zanele Muholi Explores Representation Of Lesbian African Women

 Zanele Muholi

Katlego Mashiloane and Nosipho Lavuta, Ext. 2, Lakeside, Johannesburg 2007

Zanele Muholi photos

Nando Maphisa and Mpho Sibiya, Sasolburg, Johannesburg 2006

Zanele Muholi photography

Busi Mdaki and Malesedi Nthute, Katlehong, Johannesburg 2007

Zanele Muholi, a South African activist and visual artist, explores and re-imagines the intimate portrayal of the lives of black lesbian women in South Africa.

Moreover, Being, the title of this collection, according to Muholi, aims to question the construction of sexuality “and then [the] deconstruct of ourselves […] in order to see the parts that make up [the] whole.”

Black women and sexuality, in conjunction, have always been topics of heated conversation, as it not only refers to sexuality, but also a matter of colonialism and white patriarchy.

The artist is concerned with her sexual identity coming off as ‘un-African’ – perhaps a product of years of stigmatization on behalf of white colonialist and patriarchal societies, deeming the black female sexual identity as one that is hyper-sexualized and strictly heterosexual- or even then, the image of a black female to “reproduce” heterosexuality and white patriarchy.

Dillon Marsh Investigates South Africa’s Cell Phone Towers Disguised As Trees

Invasive Species, Kraaifontein (2009) Dillon MarshInvasive Species, Athlone (2009)

Using photography as a tool for generating evidence, South African artist Dillon Marsh approaches the creation of his serial landscape works with the methodology of a researcher. Marsh is constantly looking to capture his subjects “in the wild,” and his watchful eye has yielded a variety of interesting results—with some topics touching on landscape, ownership and disruption in both realms.

For his “Invasive Species” series, Marsh captures instances of oddly jarring, slightly unapologetic occurrences of poorly disguised cell phone towers as they dot the South African landscape. He notes: “In 1996 a palm tree appeared almost overnight in a suburb of Cape Town. This was supposedly the world’s first ever disguised cell phone tower. Since then these trees have spread across the city, South Africa and the rest of the world. Invasive Species explores the relationship between the environment and the disguised towers of Cape Town and its surrounds.”

Images of the Hunter and Hunted from David Chancellor

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Photographer David Chancellor‘s series Hunter documents South African big game Hunting.  Chancellor explains that while hunting safari’s were once particularly fashionable among the leisure class, the activity has since undergone some changes.  Land that had once been dedicated to farming and livestock now serve as big game ranches – a place professional hunters can once again kill for sport.  Chancellor captures the complex relationship between hunter and hunted, which is rendered even more complex by modernization.  He says that the series is “a long term project documenting human/wildlife conflict in all it’s forms, Hunters explores the complex relationship that exists between man and animal, the hunter and the hunted, as both struggle to adapt to our changing environments.”

Jess Whitehead’s Digital Mutations

South African based Jess Whitehead creates fluid worlds that mutate, melt, bend, and morph in infinite space.

Awesome Video Of The Day: Die Antwoord’s Got Major (Evil Boy) Wood! NSFW

I want to write something clever but i’m speechless. Lets just say Die Antwoord makes MIA look like choir girl. Mind Blown!

ps. I’m gassin’ up the B/D jumbo Jet to go to South Africa so we can figure out what the fuck is going on over there. Who’s coming with me?

Nicholas Hlobo

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Nicholas Hlobo is a South African artist based in Johannesburg whose work often revolves around the idea of duality, especially as seen in the South African Xhosa culture. The contrast between feminine and masculine sexuality is of special interest to Hlobo, as well as “comfort, shelter, protection, beauty, cleanliness, sacred space, pleasure and fantasy.” An intense collection of work that gracefully explores some of humanity’s founding instincts.