• Destreet Art Project, Art with a Purpose | Kampala, Uganda

    Destreet is the art name of Kabati Ayub, a young artist from Kampala, Uganda, who started a foundation and organization to empower youth by helping them with the knowledge, skills and capacity for personal and community development through the arts.

    http://destreetart.webs.com

    P1010369Each year we help hundreds of children and youth in various Ugandan communities by giving them career guidance, education, and practical artistic skills, a safe place to play and making art after school. Our goal is to work together to discover and promote each child's talent. We help ghetto youth enhance the physical, moral and social development in their communities…” (Kabati Ayub)

    The project ‘Destreet Art’ has something that deserves attention. As all socially engaged art projects, it poses some good questions about how different kinds of social issues (i.e.: children protection, education, art as a tool for connecting people and as agent for change) can be woven together within hands-on approaches, about how they entangle with economics and how they deal with the urgency to raise money to go on. The question that can be raised is, “Where is ‘art’ in all of this?"

    destreeetDo artists become engaged when politics lose its way? Socially engaged artists are people who more than others are eager to make a difference in the world. What they are most afraid of is that the world, the community we live in, seems to encourage us to minimize conflict, disguise suffering, and ignore inequalities. Instead of producing art to stand in front of, usually in comfort, social artists prefer to act, move, push … us down to the earth, onto the ground, to real life, not to avoid discomfort, with invaluable invisible rewards: the beauty shared among people in mutual exchanges for a purpose.

    Social artists strengthen our capacity to have a bigger vision. In a wider frame every details can have a strategic role or tactic value and it demands respect for an important vital dimension: time. We have to wait and work together to see the project display itself. It usually takes a long period of time. Destreet Poster shirts.jpg2This is a challenge for our habits of quickly seeing everything concentrated in “one” picture. In socially engaged art we do not  have an image to relinquish on, but a process closer to living things, to life, the everyday life, involving our life in a different way.  As quite opposite sides of the same coin: looking at visual art the public stand in front of a piece, which works as an agent to challenge our emotion, even our mindset; we are supposed to change and the work of art remains the same, through time. In engaged social art it is the purpose - making a better world - that drives us to a change.  The effective impact on the quality of life can be quite invisible and not so easy to measure or objectify.

     

     

     

    Art with a Purpose. Unseen and touching.

     

    Let’s begin with the name: the word ‘Destreet’ plays with different opposite meanings: an open space, a street that connects people and allows transit and communication, where opportunities and danger conflate; but also a close space, the “district”, a point of reference, maybe a safe place where everybody is respected.

    UnknownConsider the children. The Destreet project not only has a direction, but it is a safe space for the kids, where fears can be avoided and cheerfulness can blossom in smiles. In that case it is obvious that we should prefer the safety of children and their smiles to the “quality” of any art.  Consider now Kabati’s works. They deserve to be seen as a space of self expression and freedom. His works belong to a different level of production, and there is no reason to belittle them because they have to be sold for a purpose. They are the heart of the project instead, where the project started. Visual paintings had a vital role in the life of Kabati.

    Then the most invisible of thing: relationships. What is relational is vital, humans beings live and grow in relationships, especially when they are nurtured with authenticity, care and humble presences that make a difference. This project is a great example. save a childTraveling to different countries with his message, as artists do with their music, exhibitions or plays, Destreet does trying to save the high value of what truly binds people together, experiences based on generosity, usefulness and play.

    “Come to visit us and touch (and be touched!)” he says.

    There are a lot of “conversed” shoes to move against the stream and go far. There are a lot of hats to keep in mind what is really worth while. If Destreet is sending his call to anyone who had the experience of seen belittled his own child’s creativity  - at school or somewhere else - we will be a mighty movement! We can be very effective in repairing the world while still repairing our own hearts.

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    Kabati Ayub is  a 28 year old, self-taught artist, designer and art activist from Uganda. After becoming involved in art in his  youth, he  took courses at two Kampala-based universities until he passionately founded the Destreet Art Foundation – a mobile art initiative uniting disadvantaged Ugandan children and youth through their artistic talents.

     

    If you would like to support The Destreet Art Project, you can make a donation here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/my-2017-unseen-europe-travelling-art-exhibition--2#/

     

     

  • ‘That Is All There Is to It’ | Vilnius, Lithuania

    Engaging with large found objects, building others, struggling with the laws of physics. This is how Lithuanian artist Džiugas Šukys conceives of sculpture, embracing the challenge and repeating the effort over and over.

     

    My name is Džiugas Šukys.That is all there is to it.

     

    '(Un)Finished Ideas': The video shows my interaction with self made or found objects,
    which are later used for an installation.

     

    When I was just a little kid, I remember drawing all kinds of things – motifs of the animated movies on television, sights that I saw around me, intuitive visions. It happened by my own free will, with no interventions from my family or my surrounding. To this day, this seems insanely strange to me. How can a person at a very young age (about 3-5 year-old) show what he is or what he wants to be in the future? Sometimes I wonder whether it is a coincidence or if it was all planned from the beginning by someone; that I am what I am. I haven't found the answer yet, but that doesn't faze me. I'm very glad that I, from my heart’s content, am capable of doing what I do now, including gaining support and attention from relatives and the public that surround me.

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    '(Un)Finished Ideas', ingot and log installations

    My work is not conceptually difficult, but I am aware that sometimes it is hard to understand everything concerning my work visually. I am often asked ‘what is that?’ and I respond, ‘it is something for you to become anxious about, at the very least’. My works are about the problems that concern me the most. However, they can definitely be widely interpreted by the audience. They talk about my experience, my self-perception, my environment, and even daily situations. I often try to discover what is seemingly invisible to the naked eye, but felt or perceived as vibrations in our surroundings. One example could be uncontrollable or untouchable fears and perturbations, like when I feel tension and anxiety because of some simple domestic matters. Perception: that something invisible is going on around me or within me, that irritates me, in a good way of course, that's why I just can't turn away. I try to muster all of this into my works, they become a long incoherent narrative about my experience, 'about me (with no end, for now).

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    Sketch for '(Un)Finished Ideas'

    My works are also full of desire to give meaning to things that seemingly might look insignificant. I often put lots of effort into simple matters such as moving a self-made or found object from its place, inhaling or exhaling as much as my body allows me to, or just verifying whether something that I came up with is possible to do or not. All of these things functions as an inner engine in my creative works.

    ‘(Un)finished Ideas’ for example, has four parts: a video documentation, a large scale drawing and two objects. The video shows my interaction with self made and found objects, which are later used for an installation. The drawing in this work can be interpreted as a plan, something that shows the way things should be done. What is the intention? It is drawn. In the drawing the concrete ingot is shown to be lifted --put on a wooden construction or on a wrapping tape, etc. But in the installation the ingot was manipulated differently, and the same goes for the tree log. The idea behind this disorientation or inability to do something the right way becomes the ability to stop when it is necessary. Is it really so desperately important to do something right according to a previous plan?  That is for the individual to decide. I see a lot of significance in activities that have multiple routes to grow or evolve, maybe into something better than what may have been thought of first.

     

    'Set #3': The idea of this work is to give meaning to the absurd. 
    By organizing the cubes in different variations I’m trying to merge physically difficult, mentally deteriorating, routine-like actions, with abstract forms of significance.

     

    'Non-Collapsing': This video performance is showing the collision between me and a found object.

     

    Here is what friend and colleague Victoria Damerell wrote about my work:

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    'Non-Collapsing': the idea of this work is the resistance to gravity. The work's elements are loose, hopelessly assembled on each other up to the ceiling in a way they wouldn't fall.

    “The artist is interested in hanging, suspension motives. A suspension motive is not obvious but implied in a fragile balance of tin cubes put on top of each other or hung from the ceiling. The plate's vibrating mechanisms, little wheels attached to the concrete block, also seem to be prepared for transportation and suggest being seen as tools for the fixation or generation of the physical world's subtleties…..  it can be suspected that namely physical input, the necessity of will, works like an inner engine for the author…

    By rejecting the aesthetic, symbolic and functional aspects in his work, the artist leaves us in a confrontation with pure will. This will has no need for a purpose, or the other way around, the will accepts that the purpose is absurd.

    A good example would be the video ‘(Un)finished ideas’, which demonstrates comical and at the same time pitiful collisions between the artist and his own made objects; his impotent attempts to control the collisions somehow. On the other hand, even if the whole installation is filled with pitiful effort, there is no Sisyphus here. Constructions are made, already turned into autonomous pieces of art, and the author withdraws. The sculptor builds up another layer of the myth, imprinting it into concrete. The action is turned into an embodied longing of significance, and it is impossible suppress.”

     

     

    '1'can be described in different ways.  I was just brimming with curiosity of how it would
    be possible to move a heavyplate of metal with a washing machine's engine on top of it.

     

    Lithuanian artist Džiugas Šukys is currently a third year Bachelor's student in the Sculpture Department of the Vilnius Art Academy, in Vilnius, Lithuania.

     

  • ‘Curation As Praxis: Dialogues, Identities and Movements’ | Baroda, India

    First-year Master student Sarika Kumari, from Jamalpur, Bihar, India, recently participated in the exhibition of the final year MA students of the Department of Art History at Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, which revolved around the significance of curation and collaboration.

    “Curation As Praxis: Dialogues, Identities and Movements” is an exhibition of researched materials, archival data and visual references inspired by the dissertation topics of the final year Masters students of the Art History Department. The exhibition explores a variety of topics, addressing issues of traditional Indian art and ancient architecture as well as contemporary art and art practices.

    At the culmination of a two-week intensive workshop, after two semesters of study, this exhibition was a collaborative curation effort between first and second year students in the MA program. Rahul Bhattacharya, the leader of the class and workshop, mentored the students on the theoretical and practical aspects of art curating.

    “The first module focused on exploring the tentative dissertation topics of the second year Masters students, which became the foundation of their curatorial proposals. The emphasis was on generating a body of curatorial texts, which would become the frameworks for the final exhibition. Simultaneously, the students were introduced to the theoretical aspects of curation, the various types of curation and their relevant methodologies.
    “The second module … focused on the practical aspects of curation. The students engaged in designing and building a display for the culminating group show. At the commencement of the second module, the students exchanged their curatorial materials [with different groups] with the notion that the display would benefit from a fresh and objective pair of eyes. Each curator brought their own approach to dealing with the research material and curatorial obstacles, to create a visual representation of the idea.” (from the “Curation as Praxis” blog, http://curationaspraxis.blogspot.in)

    Eleven curatorial projects in total were researched and presented in the exhibition. Here are some of their titles: ‘Reconstructing the Baroda sculptures with new form and material’, ‘Unfinished pre-imperial Rashtrakuta structures’, ‘Materiality and everydayness in the works of Partha Pratim Deb’, ‘Arts and Crafts movement’, ‘Enquiries into the shifting paradigms of Chahar-Bagh’.

    To read more about them click here: http://curationaspraxis.blogspot.in

    The exhibition was held at the Faculty of Fine Arts Exhibition Hall, Maharaja Sayajirao University, on the 20th and 21st of February, 2017.

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    Click on any image in this post to enlarge it.

     

     

  • ‘Purgation’ by Fariha Rashid | Lahore, Pakistan

    ‘PURGATION’ is a solo exhibition of intimate, introspective miniature paintings by Pakistani artist Fariha Rashid, who employs a personal symbology to deal with emotionally charged memories. It opened December 20th, 2016 at the Art Scene Gallery in Clifton, Karachi, Pakistan.

     

    farihaCollage

     

    I refer to my artwork as symbolic, and each of the symbols I use has its own meaning to justify the subject matter. Yet the number of symbols is limited, since I look for simplicity in the life which inspires me to paint.

    When one observes my miniatures closely, one can see that leaves and ropes are the main symbols I use.

    Leaves represent hope, revival and growth, but if dead leaves are painted, they will be regarded as signifying despair and hopelessness.

    15590294_646401318896738_1353820481419130287_n
    The day of the inauguration

    Ropes on a broader scale refer to knowledge, but the color differentiates their various meanings. In some of the paintings one can see white ropes, which represents a positive type of knowledge, but in other images some black areas in the ropes are left empty, signifying black magic and dark wisdom. Both of them have played an important role in my life, leading to some incidents which now induce me to paint them in order to let out the anger that they have caused.

    All of my art pieces are painted on a black base, to show the darkness inside, but creating imagery out of that darkness is the actual task. Hoping and wishing that all that darkness is not permanent requires a big effort to battle with oneself.

    15626490_647554075448129_757236547890424921_o
    Review of 'Purgation' in 'The Express Tribune: Karachi'

    Thus on the whole my artworks are based on the expression of inner feelings, anger, aggression, and love. I experience all these emotions very strongly in regard to various events in my life, and they compel me to paint and represent them.

    It won't be wrong to also name ‘Catharsis’ this series of miniatures, since in them I give expression to what is inside me, and expressing it has a liberating effect. The voices inside my head don't let me sleep. They are like a film that every night replay in my mind all the events that hurt me and that I detest, that are just the opposite of those events which I wish would happen, opposite to self-developed memories, to the happiness that my own mind creates.

    The compositions in my works are not visually chaotic; most of the paintings I create offer on the contrary a very calm imagery, expressing what I want to feel, and how at the same time I wish to get rid of all the anger and hatred that have built up inside me.

    Click here to see the whole series of miniatures.

  • ‘Black/White Series’ | Cape Town, South Africa

    Johannesburg artist Lawrence T Jadezweni, along with friend Sakhile 'Sax' Marvis, has created a collaborative project that through photographs explore each other's perspectives during a trip to Cape Town.

     

    The Black/White Series

     

    This is a series of photographs, taken from a cellular phone, which portray the collaborative visual endeavour during a one week trip taken by Lawrence T Jadezweni and Sakhile 'Sax' Marvis in the city and outer regions of Cape Town.

    What makes this series of images unique is the fact that each of us had his own visual interpretation of the other, yet the similarities between the images contextualize the overall journey here represented. The experimental features within the edit style in each image are meant to create a certain texture and evoke emotions that resonate with each individual viewer.

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    Wale Street consists of five images taken within the city of Cape Town upon our arrival inside the high walls and feeling surrounded by the extravagant architecture presented to us. Looking back I think of the overwhelming feeling of excitement as well as anxiety.

    lawrenceblckwhit

     

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    The Realm, in essence, is about our transitional phase, when we begin to engage with the city and what it had to offer. By this time we had entered Gordons Bay where we were to live for a period of time.

    I tried to blend in some of the images together in a signature style and also a mixture of tonalities and colour for some of the images, attempting to create a deeper story and mood.

    daRealm

    To see all the photographs go to the Series page, here.

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    Bucket List represents the third and final sequel in a three-part photo-series. The subjects (us) are here fully immersed in their surroundings, embracing the full spectra of the city. This is why the series has been created as an audio-visual installation.

    https://youtu.be/HfYR6HxarX0

    Photo Cred: Lawrence & Sax
    Edited By: Lawrence
    Music Composed By: Oracle (Jazz Orchestra)
  • AGRIshelter: A biodegradable shelter for refugees | Milan, Italy

    A project designed by Narges Mofarahian, an Iranian student of Architecture at Politecnico University, Milan, Italy, which won the international competition "What Design Can Do".

    The prototype was built by students and refugees by the Ticino River, a few miles from the city.

     

    10(3)The project for a temporary, biodegradable housing

     

    “During the Spring and Summer 2016 thousands of refugees arrived each day in European countries. Due to their great number they don’t receive a dignified place to live during the period they are waiting for asylum, and the wait can last for years.

    Screen Shot 2016-12-16 at 4.04.12 PM copyThe problem in the reception centers is that they are overcrowded places, with little chance for social integration, no identity, lack of privacy and a feeling of not belonging, all factors which lead to tensions inside the centers and many further negative consequences.

    The isolation of the reception centers is another problem that makes integration much harder, and causes great tensions which could end in strong negative reactions from both groups (the refugees and the population of the hosting cities) as a result of ghettoizing one group out of mainstream society.

    The ‘Agrishelte’r is a dignified, cheap, biodegradable home, with excellent thermal performance, and it can be built in a short time to last 3-5 years. It also creates integration through the methods of collective construction, gardening and market.

    Screen Shot 2016-12-16 at 4.04.20 PM copyBuilding the agrishelters inside the hosting cities is another positive aspect, because it prevents the formation of isolated, ghetto like camps. The materials used to build the shelters are all biodegradable, and they can be easily demolished with no negative impact on the land. We believe that this is a very important aspect, that can make a more convincing case when asking the authorities for land inside the city, because that land it will be occupied temporarily.

    My experience in building the first prototype was extremely positive. Beside the technical aspects, which seemed to work well, I witnessed the social interaction between all the team members, students and refugees, while working together, trying to know about each other’s languages and cultures, and just enjoying the collaboration and having a great time. It also seemed very interesting to the participating refugees that the flexibility of the design would allow them to contribute with small interventions and changes in building the shelter according to their tastes.

    Screen Shot 2016-12-16 at 4.04.02 PM copyAnother great experience was that the people in the neighborhood seemed curious and excited about what we were doing, and even tried to contribute to the project in different ways.” (Narges Mofarahian)

    The project won the international competition "What Design Can Do", devoted to the question of refugees and co-sponsored by IKEA and UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council).

    A small prototype of the shelter (3 by 3 metres, as opposed to the 5 by 7 metres, with kitchen and toilet, of the designed project) was built last October by a group of students of the Politecnico University and a group of refugees. The first real prototype will be built and presented to the public in downtown Milan.

    Coordinators: Richard Ingersoll (Politecnico), Elisa Cattaneo (Politecnico) and Davide Biolghini.  Assistant: Filippo Cattapan. Students: Wenjun Zeng, Shreyaa Jaya, Giulia Crotti, Nicolò Croce, Thesu v. Gowda, Yuanxiang Chen. Refugees: Espoire, Adamo, Musa, Balu.

    Screen Shot 2016-12-16 at 4.04.32 PM copy    Screen Shot 2016-12-16 at 4.04.42 PM copy

    unnamedagri    Screen Shot 2016-12-16 at 4.04.52 PM copy

    agri shelter effect

     

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