Posts Tagged ‘South Africa’
In this world, there are two kinds of people: those who see how far we’ve come and those who are fixated by how far we still have to travel.
At the Ubuntu International Project showcase at Vauxhall Fashion Scout, I was unfortunately one of the latter. The show got off to a turbulent start, running close to an hour late and then frustrations growing as people jostled for seats. By the time the lights came down and Nelson Mandela’s voice rang out, defining the ‘ubuntu’ concept: “I am what I am because of who we all are,” my expectations were high but my patience was low.
The show got off to a good start with Clinton Lotter‘s collection of dogtooth shift dresses, fitted jackets, pencil skirts and finger gloves in black and forest greens. Fashion for sinister ladies-who-lunch. But soon I was more bemused than blown away. Jewellery by Frankli Wild was by turn both fascinating and – from the third row – somewhat reminiscent of a crafts project: all golf balls, copper wire and brightly coloured stones. By the end, I concluded that the show would have probably been be better appreciated with my eyes closed as I couldn’t fault the music but had no shortage of criticique for the designs. Read the rest of this entry »
One of my bugbears is the term ‘world music’. This all-encompassing genre, into which all music not in English and made in the global south, falls.
It’s a meaningless throwaway term that ignores that all music is inspired by other music. Cameroonian jazz saxophonist, Manu Dibango, has been sampled by everyone from Michael Jackson to Will Smith. Indie rockers, Vampire Weekend, borrow liberally from the electronic guitar riffs of Congolese music and on and on.
So I love this newly discovered South African act, The Brother Moves On, for being musical shape-shifters. Part musician, part shaman, their influences are diverse: rooted in South African music, yet spanning, Latin, electronic, dance, folk and even spoken word. In this TEDx Soweto video, it’s hard to tell at times whether singer, Mr Gold, is performing or actually evoking spirits.
Visiting the V&A over the weekend, the works of Zimbabwean artist, Kudzanai Chiurai, caught my eye. Familiar yet strange, the collection exhibited as The Parliament in London but called Dying to be Men at the Goodman Gallery exhibition in South Africa, is a satirical representation of a fictional African president and his cabinet.
The images marry African stereotypes of greed, voilence, superstition and corruption with the flamboyance of hip hop culture; all set against an opulent wallpaper background – another nod to the popular tradition of the staged portrait across much of Africa.
The above images are of the minister of enterprise and the minister of finance.
Figures and Fictions – Contemporary South African Photography, is showing at the V&A until 17 July 2011
In a small room in the basement level of the Royal Festival Hall, 50 or so people gather to listen to a talk on the exhibition we’re about to see: Reflections of the Self – five African women photographers.
The speaker and curator of the exhibition, Cameroonian Christine Eyene, introduces us to seven photographers who all explore the identity of the African woman in art. No longer just the mother, voluptuous female and object of male desire, these artists are reclaiming their identities through a camera lens, all the time aware of the stereotypes applied to them. Read the rest of this entry »