A review of Emily Rapp Black's book, 'Frida Kahlo and My Left Leg'

Sophia Stewart reviewed Emily Rapp Black’s new book, ‘Frida Kahlo and My Left Leg’ for Hyperallergic:

The question that propels Emily Rapp Black’s Frida Kahlo and My Left Leg is simple and self-implicating: “Why do we (I) love Frida?” Throughout the book’s fourteen loosely-linked essays, Black lays claim to Kahlo for unique reason: like the painter became later in life, Black is an amputee, and both women’s lives were shaped by physical disability. In her youth, the author formed what she calls “the perfect imaginary friendship” with Kahlo. “I chose to try and understand the story of her body as a way of knowing or accessing mine,” Black writes, “as if the story of her life set out a path or trail that, no matter how difficult, I might follow.” Latching onto public figures like this is common among young disabled people, who are desperate to find other people in the world like us, to trace a possible road map for our own lives. Still Black admits the limits of an attachment to a woman who “lives only in the terrain of my imagination where I set all the terms of the story.”

But what about the rest of Kahlo’s legion of fans? Few, if any, other artists have become objects of such intense parasocial affection. Kahlo’s disembodied likeness adorns lipsticks, coasters, aprons, magnets, leggings, notebooks, keychains, backpacks, even Christmas ornaments. (Full disclosure: I have previously owned a Kahlo-emblazoned pencil case, t-shirt, pair of socks, and sticky-note pad; I still display her “Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair” in my bedroom.) Surely the outspoken communist would have abhorred the commercialization of her image and art. But what would she make of how her life has been interpreted, packaged, and flattened by her own admirers?

Hero worship is commonplace with the ever-evolving popularity of social media and the need to show the world and fellow fans that they love their fave and they’re better than yours. But with that adulation comes problematic behaviours, misguided quotes, and misunderstood ideologies. Frida Kahlo is no exception.

Johnson Eziefula on his art and his relationship with identity

“Gloria’s Trip to Paris” – Mixed-media on Canvas. (2021)

Johnson Eziefula is a Nigerian artist who uses mixed-media to display the various elements of life and identity:

“I find my major inspiration as an artist in a mix of my environment and its components,” he adds, citing people and their social, behavioural and cultural characteristics as key drivers to his creations. “Environment in this case goes beyond my immediate physical environment. But as far as a totally different region or space, the world as of today has grown smaller and we’re much more interconnected than ever before.” Johnson is also inspired by his own emotions and imagination, along with his daily observations and encounters, plus the “endless conflict between one’s understanding of what is and the unending curiosities, amongst other things. It’s an endless list.”

via It’s Nice That

Eziefula calls himself a “Biographer of the unnoticed” on Instagram, using materials like charcoal, acrylic, pastels, and fabric to create his pieces.

Sampira on Britain’s Art(ifact) Problem

Sammy Willbourne aka Sampira wrote about the various issues with British museums exhibiting stolen artifacts from countries around the world including the Kingdom of Benin (now modern-day Nigeria, not to be mistaken with Benin), Greece, Easter Island, and Egypt:

When you look at a mummy encased in a glass prison, you must wonder, did they ever make it to the afterlife? Or is this their fate, to be trapped behind a glass case of voyeurism, looked upon by people that do not understand them or the life and culture they lived in, whilst their soul becomes weary of never crossing over?

These artifacts are astonishing. They give us a portal into new worlds. More than this, they give us a portal into the very ground we stand on. We were born on. An empire built on spoils from murder and a spiteful tendency to destroy any cultural, historical, or intellectual significance these spectacular civilizations gave us in art, science, maths, literature, and everything else. As long as they are on our soil, they stand as a testament to a psychosis that people still haven’t woken up from. There is no reason they can not go home. There’s no reason they can not be toured collaboratively and respectfully with the countries that do own them. If the countries say no, we must accept this as an apparent tolerant and respectable country. It is the rightful respect and appreciation for other cultures and customs that we are told we have.

Sonya Clark's Black hair art

Sonya Clark, “Afro Abe II” (2010), five-dollar bill and thread, 4 x 6 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection (Photo © Sonya Clark; Photo by Lee Stalsworth)

For Hyperallergic, Lowery Stokes Sims reviewed Sonya Clark’s exhibition “Sonya Clark: Tatter, Bristle and Mend which featured at the National Museum of Women in Arts between 3rd March to 27th June this year.

Renowned for her explorations of the cultural and political aspects of hair — specifically Black hair — Clark does not disappoint in this dizzying survey of 100 works executed over the last 25 years. Essays in the catalogue adroitly outline the polemics of black hair in its natural state in our current societal context, complement Clark’s seeming endless hirsute permutations.

The pieces are remarkable in their depictions of the US and their uses of Black hair, something heavily weaponised and abused in that same country. My favourite is “Afro Abe II” (above), a five-dollar bill but Abraham Lincoln has an Afro. I love it so much.

100 incredible 3D renders of a person walking

Top 100 3D Renders from the Internet's Largest CG Challenge | Alternate Realities

A few months ago, pwnisher challenged 3D artists to create an animation of a person (or humanoid at least) walking forward but that humanoid was demonstrating some difficulty in doing so. Sorry, I suck at describing it so you’ll have to watch the above video. 2,400 artists entered and the video shows the top 100 who were chosen. 5 lucky applicants won prizes from Rokoko, Wacom, Quixel, PNY, and Aftershokz. Watch the top 100 above.

The world is full of talented and creative people.

Easy Klein is an 'Incredibly Kleinish Blue' paint for everyone to use

Simon Semple gave us the world’s pinkest pink that Anish Kapoor was banned from using in reaction to Kapoor’s exclusive Vantablack, the world’s blackest black. And now we have a new form of paint democracy from the artist called Easy Klein. But it has nothing to do with Kapoor this time.

A paint called YInMn Blue was released as a modern interpretation of Yves Klein’s famous International Klein Blue (my favourite blue ahead of cobalt blue, by the way). But at $200 a bottle, it’s not for everyone. So Semple decided to do his own thing:

Semple’s response was to do away with both that prohibitive pricing and Klein’s legal protection of his blue which stated in 1960 that other artists would require permission to use it. According to Culture Hustle, which is selling Semple’s new easy to use, acrylic paint version, it has “an uncanny scent of CK One.”

“Due to legal reasons, I can’t tell you our blue is IKB, International Klein Blue, but what I can say is that it’s an Incredibly Kleinish Blue,” says Semple. “In my mind, it’s the most beautiful blue ever and, although YinMin is cool, a lot of us have always dreamed of having a go on IKB.”

Quote from Creative Boom article

Easy Klein is a fraction of the price at $29 a bottle and it looks just as good, in my opinion.

gal-dem on visual artists depicting life in Jamaica

Happy Jamaican Independence Day!

For gal-dem, Pacheanne Anderson compiled a list of filmmakers, artists, and photographers showcasing life in Jamaica from the Blue Mountains to the troubled streets:

There are of course many artists belonging to the Caribbean diaspora working and living in the US and UK such as Karen Mc Lean, Terrell Villiers and RIP Germain (all of whom are worth a mention in this arena). However, here, we are focusing on artists living and working on the island. Artists who take a close look into Jamaican lifestyle in all its facets, from the spirituality found within the bushes high up in the mountains, to the political and economic turmoil present in the depths of parts of its most celebrated towns like Kingston.

There’s some amazing work on the list so go check out the article on gal-dem. And Jamdown forever!

Scribble Fix drawing on black paper with POSCA Pens

Drawing with POSCA PENS on BLACK PAPER!!!

Last August, Scribble Fix took on a challenge to draw with POSCA Pens on black paper. As a fan of POSCA Pens and art on black paper, this piqued my interest. The finished product is amazing and showcases the quality of the pens.

(This isn’t sponsored—I just love POSCA Pens. But if anyone from the company is reading, I’m open to a collaboration.)

The watercolour art of Rachel Walker

Rachel Walker is an artist from New Zealand who specialises in watercolour, spray paint, pen and ink artwork.

Rachel’s creative work has seen her involved in a range of projects, from commissioned pieces to painting for film and stage sets. Her career to date has included a number of solo gallery exhibitions, creating cover art for magazines, school journals and albums, and a stint living and painting in rural France. Rachels original and printed works can be viewed in galleries around New Zealand, as well as the walls of many wonderful homes.

I love the vibrancy and energy of her work.

Follow Rachel on Instagram.

Brasilândia: a platform for Black and LGBTQIA+ communities in São Paulo

METAL PRETO / Brasilândia

Ayla Angelos wrote about Brasilândia, a new multidisciplinary platform that showcases the work and communities of Black and LGBTQIA+ people.

Founded by Kelton Campos Fausto and Iama Martinho, Brasilândia was launched to provide content for the people in their neighbourhood. Kelton, a multidisciplinary artist, produces works in the video, painting and performance sphere. “They’re currently interested in the plastic construction of spiritual and cosmological scenes that propose living spaces and possibilities of health,” says Iama, “based on other ways of apprehending reality and the body.” Iama, on the other hand, is a stylist, creative, thinker and fashion producer whom within the Brasilandia space contributes to the production, styling and creation of content in all formats. She graduated in technical garment design and has since been centring her work on the production of fashion in conjunction with the “re-signification” of textile waste, as well as combining her experience as a trans woman living in a country where “transgender people are treated as garbage”.

I really like the tagline: “uma plataforma não uma objetificação” (a platform, not an objectification)

(via It’s Nice That)

Distorted sculptures by Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford

Garden Gipsoteca: Hercules

Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford is a visual artist and Assistant Professor of Sculpture at Indiana University Northwest. His series of glitched classical sculptures reimagine works of art as a representation of modernism vs. classicism.

Throughout the underpinning of modernist design, aspirations of efficiency and comfort have galvanized visions of what might be possible in the future. Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford revisits these foundations, seeking fractures, little failures on the surface that reveal the invisible workflow and the breakdown of functionalism. Inspired by the history of the 1927 architectural competition in Geneva, which asked architects to submit plans for the creation of the Palace of Nations, Hulsebos-Spofford points to the unsettled quandaries and contradictions between classical design, and modernist functionalism.

via City of Chicago

Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford’s ‘League of Nations’ exhibit is on display at the Chicago Cultural Center until 29th August.

(via Colossal)

Black Archives: a multimedia showcase of the Black experience

Archiving is so important in an information era that favours the new and quickly discards the old when it’s deemed surplus to requirements (read: it’s not making profit). This is especially true for Black cultures and Black Archives works to change that.

[…] Through an evolving visual exploration, Black Archives provides a dynamic accessibility to a Black past, present, and future.

Going beyond the norm, its lens examines the nuance of Black life: alive and ever-vibrant to both the everyday and iconic — providing insight and inspiration to those seeking to understand the legacies that preceded their own.

Besides archiving, Black Archives also offers:

  • Content creation and visual curation
  • Archival research and licensing
  • Social strategy and creative direction

For more, check out the Black Archives website.

The celebratory art of Aurélia Durand

Aurélia Durand is a French illustrator with a penchant for vibrant designs depicting Black people in joyful, proud, and empowered poses.

Her client list is a who’s who of major brands, including:

With so much bleakness in the world at the moment and heightened Black trauma, vivid celebratory images like Aurélia’s are a welcome relief and a reminder that Blackness is multifaceted and joyous.