More info on the show at: http://batonrougegallery.org
Habibi is going to appear in the Baton Rouge Gallery show, Venus Envy: Too much pink. Along with two of my cups. The show will run from April 17-28th with the reception on April 21st. I can't wait to see what the patrons think of him. Currently I'm adding the finishing touches to his display.
More info on the show at: http://batonrougegallery.org
As expected my brief experience of South Africa was wrapped in the soft sheltering of guided tourism. I've decided to describe our trip day by day since each area we visited held different perspectives and observations.
Following the 14 hour plane ride from Atlanta to Johannesburg, we began our tour of Pretoria under the guidance of Seapo our driver. It was from Seapo that I first heard the word "apartheid." Seapo was a beautiful young man with a great smile, he told us during the apartheid he had been shot by police on his way to school, he still has a piece of metal stuck in his spine from the injury. I found it remarkable that he could have suffered so much and still be such a happy strong individual. I started to look for the signs of the apartheid aftermath and how the population was healing.
Our first stop on the tour of Pretoria was the Voortrekker monument, a monolith Cenotaph commemorating the Dutch pioneers who carried the "torch of civilization" into the "dark heart of Africa."
This structure struck me as very strange, it seemed to be a monument to a people who gave everything for their ideals and freedom at the expense of the ideals and freedom of the Zulu nation. The turning point of this pioneering endeavor was The battle of Blood River where 500 Voortrekkers decimated the Zulu army of 10-15,000. In the end, the best we can hope is to learn from history and never repeat it. "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."http://www.voortrekkermon.org.za/
From there we visited the Cultural History Museum, which had a great display of archaeological ceramic figures of the Sans people. They also had an incredible collection of cultural artifacts from all over the world, my particular favorite was a collection of Japanese porcelain dolls. I loved the detail of their costumes and the inset glass eyes. Exit through the Gift Shop, which was surprisingly interesting! Instead of the normal mass manufactured second rate magnets and copies one normally expects of a US museum, there were walls of real craft, wood, fabric, beads, people sitting outside making the objects displayed within. I purchased a beautiful bowl woven of colorful telephone wire. (a driver later told us telephone wire theft has become rampant due to their popularity in the tourism industry, I prefer to believe my bowl was gathered from legitimate recycled material sources)
The last stop for this day was the Union Buildings, we had not learned anything about the riots and apartheid history at this time so we were mostly distracted by the vendors peddling craft on the sidewalk in front of the Parliament halls.
The next day we were picked up by an African born English man Finley and taken for a 6 hour panoramic drive to Kruger Park. We stopped at Blyde River Canon, the Potholes deep natural pits carved by flowing water over thousands of years, and finally the Sabie River waterfall. Each of these places had little curio shops where vendors would call you in and attempt to sell you everything your gaze, I would have liked to spend more time shopping.
Our first day on safari at GomoGomo lodge we drove right into the middle of about 30 elephants. This little baby spent five minutes making faces and entertaining us. The next few days fell into a schedule of waking at 5:30am to go out in the open safari vehicles searching for the wildlife followed by breakfast, bush walks, lunch, at 4pm we would go out again for an evening drive. The GomoGomo game lodge had a deck overlooking a large pond. During the day we could lounge about waiting for various animals to make an appearance in search of water. After dark we were walked to our rooms and told not to leave them since the property was not secured from the reserve, leopards and lions making a regular appearance in camp. Here there were very few women employees and they were very shy. We did meet Dani an Afrikaans ranger and Jeffery our tracker. Dani told us a story where Jeffery was almost eaten by lions because the ranger partner walking with him in the bush ran away from the advancing lionesses leaving him behind to fend alone with no weapon. All Jeffery could do was stand his ground and yell hoping to deter the imminent meal. Another ranger heard the commotion and drove his vehicle headlong into the bush arriving just in time for Jeffery to jump on the front of the car and survive. The ranger who ran was fired and lost his license.
In preparation for our upcoming trip to South Africa, I have been developing my preconceptions of which I previously had none besides National Geographic photos of lions and ethnographic dancers.
This piece is based on a 1949 black and white photo of a Nigerian dancer. I was fascinated by her body modification brands and confident expression. When I come back from Africa I plan to make work based on my impressions of the experience.
After watching every documentary available I have mixed emotions about the trip, the preconceptions developed by micro-focused information describe both a thriving economy and a continent ravaged by disease and HIV. I feel strange going to have a "rich American" (I am by no means rich, this trip is only possible through the grace and generosity of others) experience in a country where the class quality of life still seems to be so greatly skewed.
All of these thoughts are completely biased on information out of time and out of place floating in the convergence. I look forward to developing my impressions of reality in South Africa on an actual personal experience.
It feels strange to have accomplished all of my immediate goals for the next few weeks. For the past two months I have been working late almost every night to pull together the spring batch of applications and fresh work to go with them.
Thank Fedex, it’s Leap year, I was able to finish my proposal for the Japan/US Friendship Commission Monday and overnight it to meet the March 1st deadline. Although they only received two illustrated pages in the application I mailed, with my new found time off/freedom I decided to finish illustrating the whole application. As much of my narrative imagery tends to do, the pages take on an elemental theme. Below is water, the others are in Misc Medium.
I'm in the process of a through spring cleaning which is always my way of beginning a new making session.
Habibi is an enigma of too much information. I tend to be influenced by whatever I am currently interested in/looking at. His inspiration started with the graphic novel "Habibi" where (SPOILER ALERT) one of the main characters is manipulated into the decision to become an aesthetic eunuch. I decided to approach the subject as a sexual choice verses spirituality or involuntary subjection. Dressed Habibi has the calm dignified posture found in many photographs of wealthy women.
I am still thinking about how to put into words what I feel about Habibi, but in the end I believe it will take seeing the interaction between him and the public before I know for sure what he is.
Almost there, this is after the first enamel firing. It looks great the tats totally cover any issues and really add a lot of detail I think you can finally tell where my inspiration came from now.
And here is a sneak peak at the second color coat.
Update: the reapplication to bisque was not successful.
I don't know if I've mentioned how much rushing ceramics increases the fail potential, but it really really does. I'm unsure if the cracking was due to the Sigg not being dry or due to applying to bisque. I do have another piece to test that has had plenty of time to dry.
My art professor Christopher Hentz used to tell us, "anything worth doing is worth doing the easy way." I have always taken this to mean the right way is the easy way because the wrong way is never easy in the long run. So I'm a day behind on the china firings because I spent Saturday grinding off the cracked spots.
After grinding I covered the discolored spots with henna inspired tattoos. The below picture is where i started, you can tell from the lines there is a bit too much oil in the enamels.
Its that time of year again, when all the art grants and applications are due. So in yet another attempt to woo Penland (www.penland.org)
I've discovered that you can get a better application when its applied to a soft 07 bisque. Apply several coats allowing each to dry. burnishing with a plastic grocery bag can produce a nice soft shine, but using metal burnishers or agate knives before using the plastic will give you a high shine like silver. Below you can see the pieces drying between coats.
Dedication= staying up all night to reapply the Sigg so that firings can be finished for Monday.
After sitting undisturbed for 2-3 days the slip will separate into three layers, water, the Sigg in the middle and denser particles at the bottom. Using a turkey baster extract the middle layer and put into another clean air tight container. Below is an image of the correct consistency which should be like skim milk. I wanted to add mason stains for color in mine so I measured one cup Sigg to one teaspoon of stain.
Sigg is a very thin slip so apply several coats allowing drying time between each. After you have a good coat of sigg, the last layer dry to touch but still moist in color, use a piece of plastic to burnish to a shine.
I want to utilize this blog to explore expressing my ideas, and to define an art movement born of a collective love of Near and Far Eastern cultures.