Artist statement 

    I grew up in a small town. In 2013, I moved from Tamluk to Kolkata for my education, the time my journey started.
    From the very beginning, I was painting landscapes, later I started depicting urbanization and industries.

    I observed each corner of the city and its busy lifestyle.  Realized that all the people in the city are alienated from each other I began to portray in my works contemporary alienation. In modern life, most of us are addicted to social media. We are connected virtually, but we have lost our physical bonding. Presently, the pandemic situation has increased social alienation. Our society has fallen into deep anxiety and depression. 

    I feel the urgent need to capture in my paintings the loneliness and social situations. It helps me to document the present social scenario. My eyes are vividly exhausted to see the suffering, the pain and the loss. My works are consistently restrained, presenting part of the story or one suggestive aspect. I put in many clues but no specific answers, and I force the viewer to complete the narrative. I like to do my work with pen, ink, charcoal, watercolour, acrylic, and mixed media. This helps me represent through imagery and gives me the power to create lines and expressions which can make iconic images of contemporary times.

    A new chapter has opened in world history. This past year, from March 2020 to the present day, our situation has changed.  The whole world has been driven into social disaster. Every day thousands of people die.  In my life I have experienced different phases,  and I hear the song of suffering.  In India, with continuous burning, I saw the sky turn into a bloody red, the clouds becoming dark and people crying for their loved ones. Deeply tired from seeing this world, I became depressed and fell into anxiety. My soul cried and my tears turned into a line of art.  I am trying to express our present situation through this series of work.

    Curatorial statement - Loneliness knows company

    “Solitary Sensations” is Anirban Mishra’s first solo exhibition. It seeks to share his unique viewpoint on raw human emotions in contemporary life. His sensitivity pinpoints the inherent loneliness that has become an ever growing part of contemporary life. 

    Anirban invites viewers to experience with him our process of separating from living as a collective tribe, through an integral sensation of loneliness and isolation. Whether it is the outcome of city-life compared to village-life or whether it is our daily solitary existence in the shadow of Covid 19, life has caused people to separate from their communities and lock themselves in a new “cocoon” type of living.  He sees through this process and searches for a new path. 

    “Solitary Sensation’s” artistic style relates to early modern realism–a  time when artists performed the role of describing life changing events, such as the move from country life to new urban environments in a growing mechanical world.  Anirban experienced a similar transition himself, moving from the village he was born in to the big city, only to find the city in ruins.  Far from its busy characteristics, the city is under under lockdown instead. As India endures some of the most dramatic outbursts of Covid-19 in the world, it has become not only a physical danger but also a trigger for mental disease, due to the extreme cases of isolation and loneliness.

    “Solitary Sensations” shares the artist’s deep connection to his surroundings and environment, while embracing the loneliness and solitude around himself.  While we may lose some of our social connections, we gain the clarity and opportunity to observe the rare beauty of the solitary landscape and the emotions it generates. Being alone isn’t necessarily a lonely experience.

    Poison Forest Series

    The green has turned into black and brown,
    A black smoke engulfed the forest, 
    spread through my town.
    Animals are running, trees are charred
    What a doomsday came down to earth making our lives scarred.
    The forest is burning with a giant flame
    What poison we fed the nature that is unlikely to be tamed.

    Poison Forest l | Digital painting | 2480 x 3508 pixels
    Poison Forest Il | Digital painting | 2480 x 3508 pixels
    Poison Forest IIl | Digital painting | 2480 x 3508 pixels | 2021

    The Perfume Garden

    I saw a yellow land,
    The sky turned into vermilion,
    Some gentle flowers are 
    Moving their head,
    Some are standing to side the road.
    I dreaming in the afternoon,
    Me standing under the sunflower head.
    All the sunflowers become black,
    The garden full of the rusty blooms
    I inhale the mystic perfume coming from the garden,
    Write the name in my heart,
    The Perfume Garden.

    The Sunflower Garden | Mixed media on canvas | 48” x 60” | 2021
    The Yellow Garden | Digital painting | 5184 x 3456 pixel | 2021
    Uncomfortable Situation I | Digital painting | 2480 x 3508 pixels | 2021
    Uncomfortable Situation II | Digital painting | 2480 x 3508 pixels | 2021
    Hope | Watercolour on paper | 14” x 16” | 2021
    The Kiss | Watercolour on paper | 30” x 30” | 2021

    The Expressive Algorithm

    I lost You
      I lost You! ! !
     Oh God I lost him !!!
     You went from me...
           I felt into a deep
     Which is    

    Crisis | Pen and ink on paper | 12” x 18” | 2020
    The Expressive Algorithm | Pen and ink on canvas | 12” x 12”

    The Fictional Fear

    All people are scared of death and loss.
    These paintings are representing the fear of death and the social condition in the present time.
    People here do not represent a social gathering. They are juxtaposed to represent society.
    Their facial expressions represent the fear, anxiety and pain of someone’s death.
    The flowers also become colorless, indicating the sadness and the uncomfortable situation.
    The background of the painting is also monochromatic and dark, to represent the dramatic situation.
    The whole painting uses exaggerated lines, which are very significant, to create distorted figures.
    Thorn wires are partially covering the bodies, conveying the meaning that people are
    suffering and living their life with troubles.

    The Fictional Fear l | Mixed media on paper | 9” x 11” | 2020
    The Fictional Fear Il | Mixed media on paper | 9” x 11”

    Without Borders

    Crossing the Border | Mixed media on paper | 12” x 12”
    A Man With An Eraser | Mixed media on paper | 12” x 12”

    A Man On His Own

    A Man On His Own I | Mixed media on paper | 9” x 11” | 2021
    A Man On His OwnII | Mixed media on paper | 9” x 11” | 2021
    A Man On His Own II | Mixed media on paper | 9” x 11” | 2021
    The Foggy Territory l | Mixed media on paper | 14” x 16”
    The Foggy Territory Il | Mixed media on paper | 14” x 16”
    Waiting | Mixed media on paper | 12” x 18” | 2020
    The Night Café | Mixed media on paper | 11” x 14” | 2021

    Breathing Hope

    These are from a series of  animated versions of my work.
    I love the fluid character of colours. My work process is different.
    I always mix a lot of water with colour to make it fluid.
    After using the colours when the colour has fallen down, I feel the motion,
    speed and rhythm which are interconnected with my emotion.
    I can relate it to my mindfulness behavior in transforming these works into animations.
    I feel, in this way, I can represent my sensibility more powerfully

    in front of the whole world.   

    Hope | Mixed media on paper (Animated) | 18” x 18” | 2021
    The Chaotic Silence | Watercolour on paper (Animated)
    | 18” x 22” | 2021
    Mystical Night l | Mixed media on paper (Animated) | 12” x 12” | 2020
    Mystical Night Il | Mixed media on paper (Animated) | 12” x 12” | 2020
    The Sound of Rain | Watercolour on paper (Animated) | 18” x 22” | 2021

    About the Artist

    I am Anirban Mishra. I was born in Tamluk, East Medinipur, West Bengal, India. I have completed a B.F.A in painting from The Indian College of Arts and Draftsmanship in 2017 and an M.F.A in painting from S.N. School of Arts and Communication, University of Hyderabad in 2019. I have done many exhibitions in India and abroad. My works are published by Google book, some national and International magazines and some websites. Recently I received an award from the India Book of Records and Asia Book of Records, as well as an award in photography.

    About the Curator

    Einat Moglad holds a BA Cum Laude in Art from Beit Berl College and an MA in Art Therapy from the University of Haifa. She participated in exhibitions in Israel, the US, England, Sweden and Italy and conducted workshops at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

    Her curatorial activity started with the project Scribble it Down, online co-creations across cultural distances. The project has resuted in six exhibitions and has seen the participation of dozens of artists from around the world. Its last iteration, "Between the Worlds", was presented as a live exhibition in 2018 at the ND Gallery in Tel Aviv.

    In 2020 Einat conducted an international workshop, which culminated in the exhibition "Rhythm of the Blue Marble" and in the creation of the Bookmark Artist Collective of which she edits the magazine. The Collective is represented by the Avanguardian Gallery in London.


  • ‘Small Fires: Notes on Emerging Artist Exhibitions’ | Nairobi, Kenya

    Inspired by the exhibition Various Small Fires, Tanzanian born writer and artist Valerie Amani reflects on what it means to be an “emerging artist”. This recent exhibition (August 11 – September 10th 2021), organized by Circle Art Gallery based in Nairobi, featured the work of young early-career artists from Kenya, Tanzania and Eritrea. The gallery’s intent is to highlight new voices, giving the audience a chance to discover new artists while offering a glimpse into the ever-growing creative scene in the region. 


    Very Small Fires - Installation View | (photo courtesy Circle Art Gallery)

    Nebay Abraha | Cobweb X | 2020 | Acrylic and collage on canvas | 71.5 x 59.5 cm | (photo courtesy of the Circle Art Gallery)

    While scrolling down the guidelines of an open call for new collaborative projects, I noticed that there was an incredibly thorough definition of what it meant to be an emerging artist. As an identified “emerging artist” myself, it made me reflect on the significance of this interval of an artist’s career -- a blanket term which supposedly covers the period where most makers from differing backgrounds, educations (or anti-educations) and practices, converge with the implied intention of one day moving past the emerging phase. As opposed to artists who have gallery representation and extensive exposure, emergents are largely dependent on their own hunger, curiosity and commitment to create a sustainable practice.

    The emerging artist is in many ways romantically seen as the one with the most possibility; however, possibility comes with risk and the weight of having to navigate an industry saturated with its obsession of visibility and materiality.

    Liberatha Alibalio | Geese | Quilted cotton and barkcloth | 33 x 43cm | (photo courtesy of the Circle Art Gallery)


    Exhibitions, media coverage, online presence -- if one is to emerge, one has to find ways to facilitate this emergence, which can prove to be the singular greatest challenge of growing a creative career. Because of this, it is necessary for the longevity of the art market to have platforms that support upcoming practitioners through residencies, mentorships and, of course, the ‘Mecca’ of an exhibition.



    Wanjohi Maina | Hawkers Republic XXV - Mask Seller (Uhuru Highway) | 2021 | Spray paint, acrylic, and highlighter on steel | 71.5 x 59.5 cm | (photo courtesy of the Circle Art Gallery)

    Various Small Fires was an exhibition at Circle Art Gallery still available for online view here where the works of 18 emerging East African artists are featured. Showcasing an array of paintings, textile works, sculptures, prints and photographs, the exhibition, in my opinion, is a small rebellion, celebrating artists practicing within a region that has a young developing art market, with a limited (but budding) appreciation for the arts. The gallery stands as an anomaly, being one of the most influential contemporary galleries in the region, and the first to have international presence at esteemed art fairs and auctions.

    Mihayo Kallaye | Controlled | 2021 | Mixed media on canvas | 120 x 100 cm | (photo courtesy of the Circle Art Gallery)



    From the artists that I became familiar with during my time at Nafasi Art Space in Tanzania, such as Liberata Alibalio’s textile landscapes, Mihayo Kallaye's curious figurative paintings and Winifred Luena’s ethereal photographs, the display is a wonderful window into the practice of artists, with many I had not come across before.

    Eritrean artist Nebay Abraha’s pensive paintings of scenes suspended in timelessness hold a tender, melancholy realness, while Wanjohi Maina’s clever depictions of Kenyan road hawkers bring a nostalgic familiarity to an often overlooked aspect of the region’s economic culture.





    Taabu Munyoki | Faraja | 2021 | Acrylic and image transfer on canvas | 90.3 x 68.cm | (photo courtesy the artist)


    Another artist whose work I previously had the joy of encountering, was Taabu Munyoki, showcasing two canvas pieces.

    On asking Munyoki for some insight on the multimedia paintings, she expressed that they were both part of a body of work exploring the relationship between (black) women and their hair -- touching on the uses of hair and beauty salons beyond their practicality, transforming them into spaces of safety and communion.

    Munyoki further commented on her experience of being part of the showcase as a whole:

    “I enjoyed the experience of having my work displayed alongside really talented artists and it was refreshing to see young, emerging artists, such as myself, getting a space to amplify our voices. These spaces are integral because I believe there is so much talent and expression beaming from younger artists from East Africa.


    Taabu Munyoki | Does My Hair Make You Uncomfortable | 2021 | Acrylic and image transfer on canvas | 150 x 80.7cm. | (photo courtesy of the artist)

    On a personal note, the show was especially important as it took me outside the work and in a way, forced me to articulate what I wanted to communicate through my perspective."

    The artists mentioned are only a few out of the considerable collection of talents the exhibition has to offer, collated by Kenyan Curator Don Handa. The exhibition not only served the purpose of highlighting the bustling undercurrent of early-career artists, but also is a noteworthy reference point to how an established art organisation can actively promote young artists. Because of their inclusion in this exhibition, many of these artists now have professional bios and, through Circle Art, a presence on the global platform Artsy.net.

    Meditating on the needs of emerging artists, I appreciate Emergent Art Space’s accessible platform and commitment to young, international emerging artists — providing opportunities for communication, connection, exposure and exhibition that inspire art practice along with professional development.  Emergence has the connotations of forward motion and

    growth; from the spark that birthed the flame within the emerging artist, there is an anticipation for the small fire to one day become a full and radiant blaze.





    Valerie Asiimwe Amani is a Tanzanian artist, writer and curator working in the intersection of moving image, text and textile. Her multidisciplinary explorations of artistic mediums, interrogates the daily translation of body erotics, language and memory,  aiming to create bridges between the physical and spiritual. She is currently working as an Assistant Project Curator at Hospital Rooms, a mental health charity bringing world class art to Mental Health Units in the U.K. Instagram: @ardonaxela | website: www.valerieamani.com
  • ‘MAKE-SHIFT STUDIOS’ | Shantiniketan, India

    EAS is pleased to highlight an exceptional exhibition that emerged from the Kala Bhavana, the Fine Arts department of Visva-Bharati University, a distinguished centre for visual art practice and research in India.  Students there, challenged by pandemic restrictions, created studios at home while communicating and sharing their work over the internet. Asking questions like ‘What happens when access to the studio is suddenly cut off?  How does it affect one’s practice?  Can one recreate/replace that space? What changes during that shift?’ co-curators Arpita Akhanda and Priyanka Sil, along with organizers Bihan Das & Biswajit Thakuria (current students), created an online exhibition highlighting students’ make-shift studios and work across the semester. Rahul Majumder, a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of History of Art, shares here his review of the exhibition, revealing how limitations taken in stride can lead to new directions and innovations with the capacity to influence and transform art practices. 


    A Review for the 'Make-Shift Studios’- an online art exhibition 

    Navigating unprecedented circumstances and negotiating artistic language.


    by Rahul Majumder, Senior Research Fellow, Department of History of Art, Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati

    An artist's 'studio' had been the locus of discussion since its notion as an exclusive creative workspace emerged in the Renaissance workshops. Since then, through numerous 'isms', the concept of a studio has gone beyond just being a physical-geographical place to the psychological locale of a creative individual.

    The online platform, Kala Bhavana Student Initiative, created by the students of Kala Bhavana, is hosting 'Make-Shift Studio'- an online art exhibition since 12th July 2021, curated by Arpita Akhanda & Priyanka Shil and coordinated by Bihan Das & Biswajit Thakuria.  The exhibition explores the idea of transitory workspace developed by a set of 14 selected artists and two student collectives, as they were being cut off from institutional space in such unprecedented times. The exhibition makers visualised the dispersed location of the participants by pinning their artworks through hyperlinks on an interactive map of India. Clicking one hyperlink leads the viewer to each participant's own digital display space, further juxtaposed on a regional map where the said artist has created a transient workspace.

    Basic groupings can be formed to discuss the artistic oeuvre on display, based on how the pandemic and its constraints had shaped the participants' practice in terms of scale and the process of art making


    Make-shift workspace: Ingenious outcomes

    The pandemic has confined several participants primarily to their bedrooms, and yet they learned to convert their living area as their make-shift workspace. The limitations of the physical place thus manifest into the smaller-scaled works in many instances.

    Bhagyashri Dange uses leftover small pieces of wood from a furniture factory and reassembled them in various ways, further to paint impressionistic landscapes on their surfaces with thick impastos. A series of cyanotype on wood depicting wooden furniture captured from different angles is also on display.

    Sourav Bera explored the medium of collage and digital collage to express his personal and the predominant shared public anxiety.

    Sreelakshmi KS, in confinement to her bedroom cum studio, uses small wooden roundels and meticulously painted a series of expressive human and animal eyes on them to capture how universally the eyes speak on behalf of the soul.

    Unlike others, Sun-Robin, moved through different cities, and his sketchbook becomes the locale of creativity. Around the campus, Sun-Robin captures the local flora-fauna in all its ordinariness and produces a series of captivating visuals in watercolours that also includes his fleeting inner thoughts on the paper.

    Surajit Mudi's interdisciplinary practice involves the photo development process. Surajit ingeniously converted the space under his bed into a dark room to develop images from his photo archive. He also explored an alternative 19th-century photo-printing process called Charcoal Casting.

    Sushmita Man captures her confined life during the pandemic through a series of illustrations chronicling her daily routine in the hostel campus as a visual journal.


    On the other hand, Suvankar Mondal has converted an old mud hut into a functional ceramic studio. He also built a primitive kiln, and the 'pit fire' process provided dark pigmentation in the burned clay pots.

    As the pandemic shows how people yearn for home, Vidhi Jangra explores the idea of 'home' in 'Ghar Chaupad'. She uses an old mat, rope and scrap yarn to execute the primitive version of today's indoor game Ludo, where reaching the central square, literally known as Ghar or home, wins the game.

    Samima Sultana, in confinement to her rented room, experimenting with different textures, introduces organic forms as patterned motifs in her Kalamkari and Tapestry works.

    Sanchit Joshi explores an inquiry 'why do we discard something?' by using discarded fabrics in a combination of one another to formulate new meaning while maintaining the original forms of the fabrics as they were being found.


    Provisional Studio: Innovation at play

    The improvised workspace also challenges the participants to think outside the box and act innovatively regarding their predominant art making process.

    Ritwika Ganguly, has produced two short stop-motion animation clips using traditional techniques. 'A lazy afternoon' shows her mundane moments at home, captured using pen and ink. The second animation, 'The Picnic's Dream', depicts a dream-like scenario of Kala Bhavana picnics. Hand-drawn frames are juxtaposed with black and white images of old picnics to create a dialogue between the artist, her representation in drawings, and the olden times' photographs.

    Maya Mima has explored the medium of embroidery in her tiny room. Her works consist of patchworks and figurative stitch-works done on quilts, based on her childhood memories. In another painting series, the cityscape in its all mundaneness is captured in fragments as seen from her terrace.

    Rishma Mariya Johnson's bedroom cum make-shift studio becomes alive with her emotive doodles of a surreal artistic world on the walls, painted in bright colours, expressing a childlike spontaneity.

    On the other hand, Skarma Sonam Tashi couldn't return to his hometown and was confined to his hostel room. He creates imageries of his hometown on the rippling surface of egg trays that evoke a sense of his mountainous state.


    Collective minds: Collaborative process

    'Make-Shift Studio' also exhibits two student collectives and their shared projects.

    Atmasanjog, an interdepartmental collective of three students, engaged with the adjacent village community and brought forth a collaborative project beyond the traditional media and medium. In one work set (titled, KutumKatum), mundane organic elements of rural life such as uprooted bamboo roots, fallen branches and cow dung are recontextualised to create new meanings. In another work, an outer wall of a house and a dilapidated wall become the backdrop for murals done in earthly hues of red and white.

    Another art collective of nine students, Uthon, explores how collaborative projects can be developed inside and outside the institutional periphery. In a performative project, 'An event-based mapping', the collective explores interconnectivity between 'body' and 'home' in the context of colonial architecture. The group traced a plan of their chosen edifice on land upon which they performed a written script they developed.

    It is interesting to observe how a workspace influences the psyche of an artist and left marks directly or indirectly in their works. At the bottom of each page of the artists, the artists had to answer a common question: 'What are you going to take forward from this make-shift studio practice experience?', presumably by the curators. This emphasises how the exhibition is envisioned by putting the same value on the exhibiting artworks and the 'Make-Shift' studios. Furthermore, the website's design language helped the show demonstrate its nuances: the location of the artists and their provisional workspace, as well as the innovative display format. The coordinator's note mentioned that they would feel successful if they could actualise the show. I believe the show's success rests on how realistically the makers managed to reciprocate the critical vision of the show through a digital platform.




    Rahul Majumder is an Art History major from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (2017) and completed his graduation in History of Art from Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati (2015). He has contributed as an editorial assistant for a forthcoming centenary volume on Kala Bhavana to be published by Lalit Kala Akademi and an Art History research associate for an archival research project (INTACH) on the tangible heritage spaces between Satna to Panna. His research articles has been published in reputed journals like Kalakalpa, Art & Deal and Academic Discourse. Rahul is currently pursuing PhD at Visva Bharati. His Doctoral Thesis focuses on the study of the performative pictorial tradition of Santhal Patachitra in eastern India.


  • ‘Synesthesia in Africa: Discovery, Awareness, Research, and Outreach’ by Caitlin Mkhasible | South Africa

    South African artist Caitlin Mkhasibe is interested in synesthesia -- a perceptual phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway -- and has explored it in her artwork. Artists are playing an important role in simulating the experience of synesthesia, bridging gaps between scientists and synaesthetes.  Caitlin, who is both a drummer and a visual artist, was invited to attend the online symposium on synesthesia in Africa on June 26, where her artwork was recognized and included in a group exhibition. Here she shares her learning from participating in the conference along with a few images of her work.



    Synesthesia in Africa: Discovery, Awareness, Research, and Outreach, hosted by the Synesthesia Society of Africa (SSOA), was the first Pan-African synesthesia symposium. It was held virtually via the Accel Events platform on the 26th of June, 2021. Abiola Ogunsanwo, based in Nigeria, is the founder of the SSOA. The event was hosted with support from the International Association of Synaesthetes, Artists, and Scientists (IASAS) and the Centre for Sensory Studies at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. This was the start of SSOA’s global collaboration, featuring international speakers, artists, designers and institutions on the topic of cross-sensory phenomena.    Participants from the following 25 countries attended: Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Botswana, Rwanda, South Africa, Iraq, Argentina, Australia, China, Iceland, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, England, Ireland, Spain, Greece, Germany, Poland, Russia, Canada, United States.  Judging from the comments of those who attended, the symposium was very successful and the IASAS is now raising funds for their next event in Washington, D.C.

    Synesthesia is a neurological phenomena which involves the overlapping of senses. For example, a person with synesthesia might taste chocolate when seeing the colour blue, see orange when hearing an orchestra or associate February with circles. “There are more than 100 forms of synesthesia, which is not an illness, but is instead a neurocognitive difference that affects about 4% of the world population” (SSOA media release on ssoafrica.com).  Professor of neuropsychology and developer of the MULTISENSE synesthesia toolkit at the University of Sussex in England, Dr. Julia Simner, PhD, translated 4% to 307 million synaesthetes - equivalent to the entire population of North America or the combined population of Algeria, Nigeria, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

    SSOA’s online symposium began with welcoming addresses from founder Abiola Ogunsanwo and Carolyn ‘CC’ Hart (IASAS secretary, artist, author, neurodiversity advocate, manual therapist and mirror-touch synaesthete, based in the United States). A total of eight speakers from Nigeria, Uganda, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Russia and the United States presented talks. Despite some presentations being pre-recorded due to poor internet connections, speakers were still accessible and answered questions in the comments section of the platform. All presentations, including those that were live, will be available on the IASAS’ Youtube Channel.

    Online screenshot of symposium speaker, CC Hart, giving her welcoming address

    African Synesthesia - Issues, Support and Solutions

    Keynote speaker, Dr. Mahmoud Bukar-Maina, PhD (a Nigerian scientist, educator, and advocate for neuroscience in Africa, based in the United Kingdom) emphasized that Africa, with the highest and oldest genetic diversity rate, is under-funded in the area of neuroscience research and under-represented by publications in prestigious journals. The visibility of work from Africa is not prioritized, despite having three powerhouses of neuroscience – Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa. These three countries receive local funding, whereas the rest of Africa receives international funding. A lack of local funding means laboratories are under-equipped. Corruption in African countries also affects aid in scientific research.

    The formation of SSOA is in good timing, as visible, online camaraderie against intolerance and stigma is crucial in the world’s current, polarized social climate. The symposium was a supportive and reciprocal environment for the combined effort of seeking families to share experiences and information – a space that had been lacking in Dr. Sheila Clare Butungi’s life.  Dr. Butungi, a polysynaesthete, is the SSOA secretary, trustee, veterinary surgeon for the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries of Uganda.  She experienced public skepticism while trying to create a platform on Facebook.

    For neuroscientific research to truly become pan-African, local scientists and artists must be prioritized to work on research studies.  Local scientists can engage participation from willing synaesthetes’ in their areas and local artists can help to bridge gaps between scientists and synaesthetes by simulating the experience of synesthesia.

    Synesthesia Art Exhibition

    I was invited to participate in a virtual group exhibition as part of the SSOA symposium, because of an article published in 2015 on the Emergent Art Space website about my project on synesthesia. Four of my past artworks that interpret the intersection of hearing and sight under various topics, using abstract mark-making, were chosen for the exhibit. These works can be engaged as examples of how sound is subjectively simulated through visuals. In being a drummer, I find myself creating art that mimics the circular shape of drums. Through my artistic participation in the symposium, I further learned about synesthesia and had the opportunity to show my support for the community.

    Drum Moon I (2020), acrylic and ink on Remo drum head, 37cm x 37cm

    Drum Moon I (2020) was created using ink and acrylic on two old, Remo drum heads that the artist played on.

    Drum Squares (2016) dipped drumsticks and fingers in ink, charcoal on squares of old book paper and Fabriano paper, 84.1cm x 59.4cm

    Drum Squares (2016) depicts dipped drumsticks and fingers in ink, or charcoal sticks used as drum sticks, to play various drum patterns and percussive techniques onto squares of paper to create a visual catalogue of drumming samples.

    Drum Squares (2016) - detail - dipped drumsticks and fingers in ink, charcoal on squares of old book paper and Fabriano paper, 84.1cm x 59.4cm

    Drum Squares (2016) - detail - dipped drumsticks and fingers in ink, charcoal on squares of old book paper and Fabriano paper, 84.1cm x 59.4cm

    Film photograph (left) by Charl Fourie | @kameragraaf



    In 2015, Caitlin Mkhasibe graduated with a BFA from the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town. She is a Cape Town based multi-media artist and drummer (Morning Pages) who uses abstract mark-making to mimic texture and sound. Mkhasibe’s interests include ecology and outer space. 





     A Solo Exhibition by Pebofatso Mokoena


    From the Curatorial Statement by Valerie Kabov:       

     "Pebofatso Mokoena is uncomfortable. Uncomfortable with the artworld he has to operate with, uncomfortable with political and cultural dynamics, which attempt to dictate what he can and can’t do, ought and ought not speak to as an artist and prescribe the categories of thinking permitted to him.

    His very being rebels against the idea of that prescription because even when righteous it is a bind and an oppression. His titles – deliberately confounding, deliberately at 180 degrees to the images on his canvases which are in turn deliberately antithetical to anything that might be eulogized as ‘reality’.

    What happens to those who still believe we need poetry, even when others are building barricades?


    What happens, when struggle to live becomes life, when struggle to survive, spells the death of dreaming? What happens when the alternative is pervasive toxicity of cynicism, which says that there is nothing beyond the inevitability of the divide between rich and poor, that wellbeing and prosperity are always contiguously connected to corruption and theft?

    One of the greatest gifts that art can give is the gift of freedom, a reminder that we are born free to dream and be happy, with no debt and no apology for being who we are.

    For Mokoena, freedom does not mean turning his back on the deep fissures in South Africa’s moral fabric, the unresolved traumas and unfulfilled promises of 1994. What he does do however, is face himself as a maker of the world he lives in, giving himself the agency and responsibility to reimagine the world anew as radically as he wants and without apology and in that world claim the right to be happy, to not have to make sense to anyone but himself, to be free and to share that freedom with others..."


  • ‘Chambia’ and the ‘Black Mountain’ exhibition by Stary Mwaba | South Africa and Zambia

    An artist currently in Lusaka offers her impressions of Zambian art and artists, highlighting the work of Stary Mwaba, as an example of a non-traditional artist who is “breaking the mold”.  In the 'Black Mountain' show, Mwaba explores complex stories of individuals that interact with places marked by a strong Chinese presence in Zambian mines and infrastructures.


    'Chambia' | Projections on newspaper

    The visual art sector in Zambia largely consists of two art genres which are painting and sculpture. In the midst of an industry dominated by traditional modes of art making, is a category of artists that are pushing boundaries and redefining artistic practices in their own ways and terms. By traditional modes of art making, I am referring to painting with oil, water and acrylic, and sculpting with marble, stone, wood and other mediums. Although I use the word traditional to point to materials used in production, for the case of a majority of artworks in Zambia this could also implicitly point to the fact that most of the subject matter is drawn from practices and activities of local linguistic and social-cultural groupings, conventionally referred to as "tradition" or "culture" within the country. Stary Mwaba is an example of an artist who is breaking this traditional norm by going against the grain and interestingly subverting modes of artistic production in Zambia.

    'Chambia 2' | Projection on newspaper

    I saw his 2019 MFA exhibition entitled "Black Mountain" at Rhodes University Gallery, Makhanda, South Africa.

    In this exhibition, Mwaba uses an experience he had helping his daughter to understand the process of absorption in plants as an entry point into discussing nuances and complexities in the relations and interactions of Zambian and Chinese individuals. "Black Mountain" explores stories of individuals that interact with specific localities that are somehow related to the presence of China within the landscape of Zambia.  Mwaba identifies three important places:  1) the Black Mountain which is located in the Copperbelt Province and is a pile of residues from mining activities; 2) the Tanzania-Zambia Railway which is popularly known in its abbreviated form TAZARA; this rail line runs through Zambia and onto the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania; and 3) the Chambeshi Bridge.

    'Chambia' (detail) | Projection on newspaper

    Mwaba works in various mediums that come together to paint a complex picture that bring to light personal stories and experiences of individuals who navigate these three historically significant spaces. In a subtle manner, he provides an opportunity for viewers to momentarily shift their gaze from dominant narratives about the relationship between Africa and China, that are often driven by large media houses, to focus on what he refers to as small narratives.

    'Black Mountain Black Born Again' | Installation view

    The work that I would say really points to the idea of diverging from larger narratives to small narratives is "Chambia" (2018). Chambia is a colloquial word that combines the words ‘China’ and ‘Zambia’ and has locally been used to infer derogatory insinuations that Zambia has become a colonial state of China. The artwork "Chambia", installed in one of the smaller rooms of the gallery, is comprised of images of people that were taken aboard a train along the TAZARA and then projected onto a large newspaper that was made by stitching together many newspaper pages. On closer observation, one is able to see that Mwaba not only combines the newspapers, but also goes through a laborious process of erasing parts of the words in the newspapers by making holes that appear like the edges of partially burnt paper. The juxtaposition of the images of individuals, who have personal interactions with this rail line, onto widely circulated newspapers is a powerful visual. Noteworthy that because of the low lighting in the gallery space, the words that are not erased are also not easily readable, while the pictures are illuminated so that they become more visible than the newspapers.

    Another work that stood out, particularly to me, was "Black Mountain Born Again". It consisted of pieces of black plastic bags, suspended from the ceiling, with mushrooms growing out of them. The bags were hung quite close to the wall and created interesting silhouettes or shadows on the walls. The silhouettes were quite reminiscent of the Black Mountain itself.

    'Black Mountain Born Again' (detail) | Mushroom in plastic

    The Black Mountain consists of residuals from mines in Kitwe over a period of time and has recently become a site of illegal mining. When one views the mountain, it does literally look a mountain that is black in colour. The dirt in the black bags could arguably be likened to the black piles of land, and the mushrooms could be conceptually associated with the illegal mining activities that in turn contribute, in most cases, to the economic situation of most individuals who participate in the activity of illegal mining at the mountain.

    Another outstanding work is "Black Bodies"an installation of more than twenty black and white portraits of different people with a red laser painted across the chests of their portraits. When talking about this piece Mwaba relates this work to the construction of the railway line. He mentions that the red line is created with a spirit level, a tool used to make straight lines. He adds that he was inspired by the historic fact that when the TAZARA was being constructed, the builders would ask the local Black workers to stand in a single file line, in a way creating a "human spirit level."

    'Black Bodies' | Oil paintings on board and digital spirit level

    Relations and interactions of Zambia with China, or of China with Zambia are quite complex. There is a bigger and dominant narrative that generally focuses on ideas of economic colonization. Beyond this bigger narrative are smaller and complex stories that are barely ever brought to light. In saying this, the exhibition and project "Black Mountain" is quite refreshing and intriguing in the way that it is put together.

    Photos of artwork from the exhibition are provided courtesy the artist, Stary Mwaba.



    Stary Mwaba is a Lusaka-based artist. Mwaba obtained his Master of Fine Art degree from Rhodes University, South Africa. Mwaba's work, research and current working process highlight specific subjects using personal little narratives that engage with archival materials as components of his work, and these then function as the starting point for the works to engage with the current socio-political circumstances in Zambia.
    He is recipient of the Commonwealth Arts and Crafts Award, the Zambia National Arts Council Award and the 2014/2015 KfW Stiftung Grant at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin.
  • Art Sharing During the Lockdown

    An artists workshop during the pandemic.

    Twenty artists from 14 countries worked together for four weeks, sharing art, ideas and experiences through an online collaboration that left a mark.


    From the 'Free Flow' series by Maria Di Gaetano | Acrylic on canvas

    The way we all made the choice to collaborate together and join our interests and “real life” with the others, represents the reason why this workshop was a great idea since the beginning. What we did was to create a microcosm that was ours, intimate,  that came from “the inside” and exposed it online for the view of the others in “real time” and beyond it. We all decided to welcome to our house people that we didn’t know, to open our mind and to share our art to “strangers”. This “strangers” became therefore collaborators, artists friends. We all made this choice for each other and the beauty of all of this was and is the building of an active and interactive relationship that is taking us further than a mere exhibition.

    The important “glue”, the strong node we made, started with the online meetings. Internet. Zoom to be specific and the social networks. To the eyes of the readers this process might look easy as that is the spirit of a workshop, normally, and probably it is, putting it in a “normal situation,” and in a physical space. However, in this period we are all living, in this time when, because of the lock down, we experience the apotheosis of individuality, loneliness and lack of social confidence and social space, this process, this choice and so, this workshop represented a huge thing. An extraordinary way to “break the rules” of this scary and depressing “new normal”.


    Bookmark Workshop: What is it? What is it for?

    "Table of change" by Ruth Gilmour | Mixed media on paper, 60X40 cm, 2020

    As some museums and other artists did, as Bookmark Workshop’s artists we are contributing to let our word be heard, our works be seen, our energy spread all over the internet. We are “fighting” this time of the year in the best way we can, thinking critically and making art together. We are challenging our feelings and our fears with the beauty of creativity and this is what makes the Bookmark so special for all of us and hopefully for the people who will take part in the exhibition as spectators.

    But how did the meetings and the workshop work? Everything started with an 'artists call' online. Einat started to get in touch with all who wanted to take part and everything started from there.

    We had our social network page and we kept in touch with each other through that and emails. Einat would give us a variety of exercises during these four weeks of the workshop and we worked on them during the week. We had weekly zoom meetings where we discussed what we did, analyse the exercises, exchange ideas and thoughts and kept working in medias res if needed or possible. We created relationships and this was the strength of our first final resolution, the exhibition.

    Talking about it, obviously does not give the proper idea of what the workshop was, but maybe after reading the creator’s words and having a look at our works, you will understand what we did and where this adventure took us.


    The word to the artists

    The artists points of view. A collective subject camera, to better understand our experience:

    'From the Distance' by Anirban Mishra | Mix media on paper

    Anirban Mishra
    This workshop gave me such a new direction that is beyond my expectations. I found lots of interesting and creative things that make my work more powerful and help me represent myself in a more definite way. I really enjoyed a lot this workshop. The free flow process helps me to make my drawing more strong and challenging, and also I like to say that the collection process was interesting for me, it helps me to make my own pigments.  I also enjoyed the group discussion and meeting. This was the most wonderful way to explore myself and all the feedback really helps me to improve my works.

    Art Stoop
    I love that we all are included as people first and artists second. We can work together and share as much about our lives and pieces of art as we are comfortable with. I am Dutch, to me that says that I am comfortable with about anything. I am very much interested in what everybody else's limits are and where they meet them. I joined the Bookmark Workshop especially because it gave me a very open and inclusive vibe. The most interesting thing for me was the fact that right from the start no one would tell me what it was about, giving me the freedom to realize my own world. Keeping it proactive and alive and adding some of your influences.

    Untitled by Art Stoop | Mixed media photograph

    I am thinking of trying some techniques I saw browsing through all of our amazing artworks here. Next month I am starting to develop my knowledge of portrait painting. The new goal is to mix the abstract world with my reality.

    M a r i a  Di  G a e t a n o

    This 2020 is going fast but definitely few events brought a strange feeling about it, to all of us. The most important has been the Covid/19 pandemic that is involving all planet and everything correlated to it and our everyday life. We are experiencing a change in our habits, diseases and death. We are now more scared about our present than we were before as it is conditioning our future, more than it did before, in a way. We have been in lockdown for months and struggling with finding primary products at the supermarkets such as flour or pasta. But we had lots of time, which is always the resource we miss if we have a job. In this situ- ation, I was creating art a lot, much more than I did before. I always see it as a shelter and now even more. If an external event conditions my life in a big way, then I create more. I have to feel happy though. In this context, seeing the ad of the Bookmark workshop, was a right light.

    I have decided to join it because I am curious. And I had the time to do it, obviously. I was curious about the fact that lots of people from different nationalities and cultures, had the possibility of being together and creating something.

    I was curious to get to know them and open a window to the world even if the world was in lock down. I was curious to do this voyage around the world through all of them and their art and our art together. And last but not the least, I was curious about how my artistic interaction would have been seen and criticized by so distant and different people at the same time, and vice versa.

    'Entangled' by Kojo Biney | Video Still

    All of this allowed me to be more focused on sharing what I have done, what we did together and how to create a communal thread that could have been shared or not, but surely not ignored. Critics are always positive and in a circumscribed setting it is a must. Critics is growing up, mentally and artistically in this case. Thanks to the group I have been able to improve my way of thinking art, of making art and abolishing some of my personal boundaries overcoming my own limits. I have reached a point where through abstract art, I am now freer and much closer to what expressing feeling without prethinking is. Now more than before, and it is awesome.

    Our interventions and help were crucial for me to putting together what I am and what I am on people's eyes. This group was a voyage, a mirror and the fact it was put together through the technology made its impact on me even stronger. It is definitely putting a positive improvement on my artistic life’s research and why not? on my way of seeing art as well.

    Carla Cristino

    I signed up for this workshop during confinement in my country. It caught my attention because it spoke about the process and organization of artistic work. It seemed important to me, and I always like to learn something new. From the start it seemed well structured and interesting, suggesting thoughts and practical exercises.

    The thing that I enjoyed the most was the group. The way the activities were conducted certainly provided this experience. Getting to know artists from all around the world with several different media was very new to me.

    'Frida' by Magdalena Zając | photography, design, styling, 2020ąc

    Magdalena Zaj

    Let's go back a few months in time. There is quarantine, and I am a fourth-year student of uniform masters studies, but this semester I spent on Erasmus (a program launched by the European Commission converting higher education and aimed at financing student exchange trips to study in another European country). Although I have been living without a family in another city for almost 10 years, I am now aware that I cannot really go back to them or meet them. The borders are closed, airports are not working, international trains are not running. I am also somewhat isolated from friends. Four of my flat mates, that are also on Erasmus, decided to quit exchange and go back to their countries. I have fantastic online classes, I study a lot, but I miss people, interactions and communities other than the academic one.

    And then I get an email that I have been accepted for the workshop. And it wasn't a workshoplike ‘hey, I'll teach you this technique now’, it was a workshop that was largely based on something much more important in creative work - conversation and exchange of experiences, but also it was the great opportunity to have a reflection on our own work and to look at it from a different perspective as well as a com- parison with the perspective of others. I gained a broader understanding of what people do and how much we can differ from each other, even working in a similar field. I learned not to compare myself, but to do my job – with a full support of a community. Developing. Revealing. Opening. That’s how it was.

    I allowed myself to experience breakdowns, feeling blue, designing for classes, but also doing something for myself - in the form of a workshop. Sometimes very little, but each time consciously and my final project is like that - about my quarantine experience, about my creative work.

    'Crow' by Paulius Šliaupa | Video Still

    Paulus Šilaupa

    I joined this workshop because I enjoy learning from other artists. I feel they expand my world. I understand more how differently people feel the world. Also, I was interested in going back to the basics of creating art because it allows one to rediscover the world.

    I enjoyed ZOOM meetings the most and specifically the exercise when we had to watch each other's eyes, to feel the other person situated thousands of kilometers away. That was a new experience for me because usually, we take up the online meeting space with conversations and these subtle things disappear in the information flow.  My biggest supporter was Einat, she guided me through the whole process and she was very inspiring, also I began a deep dialogue with Monica Vila.

    I became engaged with the idea of punctum; I rediscovered this theory again and I made a few new artworks. As the punctum approach opens up things from another angle it encouraged me to reflect on what I am interested in and to try to push the artworks further. More specifically it encouraged me to try to finish the night videos that I am currently working on.

    Francis Annagu
    My experience was invaluable to the work I created. I'd like to connect it to the instructional videos recorded by Einat Moglat; I really find them interestingly inspiring. She was a good curator from day one to the end of the workshop. Plus, the conversations that engaged me to rethink my pro- cess and reimagine my art was deeply appreciated because it gave me a new soap box to stand on - and create something not only valuable to me, but helpful to the people I speak for.

    "Burnt" by Francis Annagu | Photography

    Not to forget the weekly questions, reflections, and instructions that gave me the edge and tool for reconnecting my past experiences with consciousness. I want to say here that, conscious art making is important to my (thematic) work and choice of material or language. In fact, language forms the basic relationship I build with my process.

    For once I concluded that; artists speak louder, they manufacture philosophical truths or validate them so that the inherent good of humanity will continue. There are many commoditized climes today, people seen as objects of material conditions, not as living beings who are equal and free. The objectification of humanity can be broken by art. For all Bookmark participants, given the safe space to create was a monumental feature.

    I joined this workshop because it offered me a space to unlearn my art, collaborate, and share my story with the world. I enjoyed the conversations among the participants, and the processes shared by all through the period of creating all the different art works. The Bookmark workshop curator was awesome with the videos and questions - they really [re]shaped my thinking and improvisation in art as a process. I think that my participation in the process was quite helpful, too.

    Untitled by Clara Aden | 2020

    Yes, it was. I had the opportunity to escape from the monotony of my art process to a new form of creating my art work. It was really handy. The space was safe for every participant to talk, share, talk, help, share, and collaborate.

    Clara Aden
    When l saw the call for the Bookmark workshop, my residential city, Lagos, had been imposed a 14 day lock down by the president Buhari as one of the measure to fight the global pandemic, Covid-19. This was the time and moment we needed to stay strong and have sympathy for people around us who needed support and attention.

    Artists have been hit by the rapid outbreak of covid-19 and the impact will still be felt long after the virus fades. My art exhibition and live art exhibition was cancelled as a result of the lock down, while l was pondering,  how will l engage the public with my art?  What can l do to continue my studio practice so that l do not stagnate?  l decided to join the workshop. I enjoyed the free flow exercise. I feel happy when l am free to express myself without fear. The exercises gave me the freedom to create the good the bad and the ugly! It is not about perfection or quality but about your willingness to enjoy the quantity you create.

    'Spring' (Detail) by Kim de Weijer | Video Still

    The workshop made me understand more about my creating processes and unconsciously the reason why l collect and bookmark things l have been collecting for decades. For me it is like a self-discovery of my inner self, those places l have never ventured into. l was able to teleport my inner mind to mirror and see my inner self.

    Kim de Weijer
    My experience in the workshop was great. For a long time, I was trying to find a way to get back to my creative side, due to private reasons there was little time for making art. I had lost my inspiration and therefore I somehow forgot how to make art.

    The small exercises worked very well for me to discover my way of working and I particularly loved the exercises ‘Punctum’ and ‘Spectrum’. For they were the inspiration for my final art work, seen in the exhibition. What I discovered was that art is fluid, and it does not have borders in what is allowed to be. I always thought of religion, love and spirituality as terms that are not so inspiring, because art for me also has friction to make it stand out or say and mean something.

    This vision changed during the workshop. So many artists from around the world joined and showed me that art is connection. It binds us together. And therefore, it binds the world together. The beautiful thing about the workshop is the connection I’ve made with several artists around the world. It brings me back to the person I was when I was young. And I missed that part of me.

    "Nascer" by Stephanie Ferreira | Mixed media, Digital Art

    Beyond the experience. Is a global collaboration possible?

    As you have had the chance to read above, for all of us this workshop was meaningful and interesting and this collaboration a big opportunity to go through this time, to talk about art, to make art, but first and foremost, to do all of this as a collective.

    The beauty of creating something together is the key and the beginning of an interactive relationship that is going to continue, even after the final workshop’s exhibition.

    During our journey, I did think a lot about how technology was and is our one and only way of knowing one another. We became a very interactive and amalgamated group; always ready to share, help and learn from each other. That is why I have used the definition of “global collaboration” to underline the multicultural environment we created as well as the interactive “global” medium we used to communicate.

    I have asked the artists what they think about this “global collaboration”, and here are some of their responses:


    Many artistic initiatives have moved into virtual space. This is a groundbreaking situation, because actually a revolution is taking place right before our eyes. So, what can be a recipe for art at home? Let's not insist that we have to catch up, but thanks to the workshop, I found out what an amazing opportunity the Internet is, which allows you to connect and cooperate with absolutely amazing artists from all over the world virtually, at basically no cost.

    'Impossible state of nature' (Detail) by Rebecca Rippon | Silkscreen print

    My experience so far has taught me that everything has to be tangible, but I was very wrong. Experience, knowledge, ideas, feedback, conversations can take place online and affect my ‘physical and tangible’ work in the comfort of my home or studio.

    I hope that the online collaboration will not end with the end of the pandemic, but it will come into force permanently.

    Yes, a global collaboration is possible! And that's good for art in changing the world. However, it can only be possible in a safe space where all ideas and art are recognized as valid, regardless of their material bias such as the influence of culture, religion or social ideas. Artists should look forward to a time heralding trans-border collaboration in creating art or enjoying the frenzy of the process. Much of today's artistic forms reflects globalism and empathy, and in many conversations shaping equality, climate change, democracy, gender, and culture, inevitably connects one region to another.

    Untitled from series 'Knowing you from the inside' by Mónica Vilá | Photograph

    Yes, a global collaboration is possible. With more than funding we can collaborate to engage and present thought provoking and inspiring projects that can stimulate and spark off conversations. We have so many talented artists from different cultures, traditions and values from various disciplines... it’s going to be a “whaaoow collabo” that is an extraordinary collaboration.

    If you match the right artists with each other, I think it is very much possible. It might even be explosive and extraordinary. No doubt about it. Physical art pieces to share and collaborate on might be a little much to ask. But we could send instructions. Have them put into action and see what happens. How else do you know if something works?

    First I want to say that the experience of the workshop was wonderful. All things that happened in the workshop were beyond my expectations and I learn a lot from all the group members. It has helped  me to go three steps forward. The global collaboration is what I enjoyed most. I had the chance to know many artists and their thoughts from around the whole world. Beyond this experience, I believe that a global collaboration is absolutely possible. It can play an important role in our artistic journey, it will help me to know how the world art and responses and their thoughts. I can learn about the global scenario. For me art for all and global and artists are also need to connect globally, then we can do good art and every people can respond with their thoughts.

    by Carla Cristino


    I feel confident that we are all heading to a way of researching, discussing and analyze various themes and putting together thoughts, projects and different kinds of art that maybe will become something big. As we did for the Bookmark Workshop, so we will continue.

    This workshop brought us an important sense of community and what creating and sharing our art means during these hard times. But every one of us is an individual, an important, interesting and valuable human being and artist.

    Right here and right now is the meaning of life and creativity for me. Right here and right now and repeating this infinite times, it’s a life resolution that will be nice to keep sharing together.