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Omar Victor Diop: Liberty / Diaspora

Featured image – Omar Victor Diop, Thiaroye 1944. From Liberty (2016). Courtesy © Omar Victor Diop / MAGNIN-A, Paris

London Gallery Autograph,  presents a two part exhibition by Senegalese artist Omar Victor Diop, his first solo exhibition in the UK .

Liberty, a Universal Chronology of Black Protest, reinterprets key revolutionary moments in Africa and across the diaspora. It spans four decades and features historic events such as the 1965 Alabama marches on Washington, and the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin, which triggered the Million Hoodie March in New York and later inspired the Black Lives Matter movement.

10) Trayvon Martin 2012 © Omar Victor Diop

Omar Victor Diop, Trayon Martin, 2012. From Liberty (2016). Courtesy © Omar Victor Diop / MAGNIN-A, Paris. 

Strikingly detailed and potent in symbolism, the images primarily feature Diop as the protagonist portraying a range of figures, separated sometimes by time and often by geography, but unified by their defining struggle for human-rights.

For Diop, these images redefine black history, and consequently the history of humanity, as well as the concept of freedom.

4) Breakfast for the Children of the Black 1969 © Omar Victor Diop

Omar Victor Diop, Breakfast for the Children of the Black Panthers 1969. From Liberty (2016). Courtesy © Omar Victor Diop / MAGNIN-A, Paris.

Project Diaspora, the second part of the exhibition, celebrates four centuries of notable Africans in Europe, drawing parallels between their experiences and those of contemporary African footballers based in Europe.

8) Omar Ibn Saïd © Omar Victor Diop

Omar Victor Diop, Omar Ibn Saïd 1770 – 1964. From Project Diaspora (2014). Courtesy © Omar Victor Diop / MAGNIN-A, Paris.

Diop explains, “Football is an interesting global phenomenon that for me often reveals where society is in terms of race. When you look at the way that African football royalty is perceived in Europe, there is an interesting blend of glory, hero-worship and exclusion . Every so often, you get racist chants or banana skins thrown on the pitch and the whole illusion of integration is shattered in the most brutal way . It’s that kind of paradox I am investigating in the work “

9) Ayuba Suleiman Diallo 1701 - 1773 © Omar Victor Diop

Omar Victor Diop, Ayuba Suleiman Diallo 1701 – 1773.From Project Diaspora (2014) Courtesy © Omar Victor Diop / MAGNIN-A, Paris.

The accompanying exhibition Purdah – The Sacred Cloth, by Arpita Shah, was produced as her residency on the Albert Drive project in Glasgow in 2013, and shows Sikh, Muslim, and Hindu women from the Pollokshields community, wearing traditional head coverings or veils.

The portraits highlight the deeply personal and significant meanings of the purdah – the ‘sacred cloth’, and seeks to address the common misconceptions surrounding the tradition of head covering and veiling.

“Purdah slowly unfolds the complex and intimate relationships that these women have with their sacred cloths, offering us a glimpse into its varied uses and interpretations across diverse cultural and spiritual worlds”.
– Arpita Shah

Omar Victor Diop: Liberty / Diaspora, and Arpita Shah: Purdah – The Sacred Cloth, are on show until 3 November 2018 at Autograph Gallery, Rivington Place, London EC2A 3BA. For more information visit their website.

 

ōtimo – July Playlist

Our July Playlist is a laid back selection of contemporary music from artists such as Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, five-piece Malian outfit BKO, and Leon Vynehall, along with time-tested classics from the likes of Bobbi Humphrey and Gil Scott-Heron.

Listen below.

Akari: Sculpture by Other Means

Akari: Sculpture by Other Means, a new exhibition at New York’s Noguchi Museum, examines and celebrates Isamu Noguchi’s iconic, collapsible paper lanterns.

One of the most important sculptors of the last century, Isamu Noguchi (1904–88) was born in Los Angeles, California, to a Scottish-American mother, and Japanese father, he moved to Japan shortly after, where he remained until the age of thirteen, when he returned to the US.

He was interested in art and sculpture from an early age, but initially studied pre-medicine at Columbia, whilst also taking evening classes with sculptor Onorio Ruotolo. However, in 1926, after witnessing revolutionary sculptor Constantin Brancusi’s exhibition at the Brummer Gallery, he was inspired to focus entirely on his art, and in doing so, achieved the Guggenheim Fellowship allowing him to work as an assistant to Brancusi, at his Paris studio.

“Great good fortune such as this has something of the divine and inevitable,” said Noguchi, of this opportunity, the pair forming a constructive and reciprocal relationship, with Noguchi, much like Brancusi, going on to work across a range of disciplines, using a multitude of materials, exploring the pureness of their texture and form.

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During his career he became increasingly interested in making a socially relevant and accessible form of sculpture, which he detailed in his 1936 essay What’s the matter with Sculpture for Art Form. The essay appealed to artists to create sculpture that dealt with current problems, “drawing on science, industry and contemporary life in order to engage with the viewers everyday lives”

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He applied this both to his public works of art, and to his functional designs, a number of which were mass-produced, including the Bakelite intercom for the Zenith Radio Corporation in 1937, and the Herman Miller produced glass-topped table, ten years later.

However, his most iconic mass-produced design, and his best example of integrating art into daily life, is undoubtedly the Akari lantern. It’s invention occurred during a 1951 visit to a post-war and economically struggling Japan, where Noguchi was asked by the major of Gifu (a small city with a long history of traditional lantern manufacturing), to help revitalize the industry by designing a lamp for export, made using the traditional combination of bamboo and handmade washi paper (made from the bark of the mulberry tree).

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Inspired by the traditional lanterns used to illuminate night fishing on the Nagari river; Noguchi collaborated with local design firm Ozeki & Co, to create a contemporary electrified take on these, in a range of shapes and sizes.

A perfect consolidation both of form and function, and of traditional craft, with modern technology, Noguchi felt the ‘magic of the paper’ filtered the harsh electric light, so it appeared warmer; more like natural sunlight.

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He went on to create over 200 different versions of the Akari, a number of which are on display at the exhibition, including the largest, the 200D, built for the American Pavilion at the 1986 Venice Biennale. In addition, there are a range of installations aimed at displaying both the functional and aesthetic qualities of the Akari, illustrating Noguchi’s concept of light as both place and object.

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The accompanying exhibition, Akari Unfolded: A Collection by YMER & MALTA, presents a selection of the 26 lamps, designed by five contemporary designers, and created using new materials and processes by the leading French design studio.

Exhibition curator Dakin Hart, (Senior Curator at the Museum), explains,

“It is with the affordable, lightweight, collapsible, and now ubiquitous, Akari—which solve virtually all of the problems associated with sculpture—that Noguchi achieved his high ambition to positively alter the built environment. Sculpture by Other Means aims to show Akari as Noguchi intended it: as a flexible, open-ended, modular ecosystem of light sculptures, rather than a fixed product line, and to demonstrate some of the unusual ways in which they shape, transform, and create space.

The new lamps presented in Akari Unfolded: a collection by YMER&MALTA, parallel the development of Akari by synthesizing various craft traditions with new technology, pushing the basic alchemy of Noguchi’s light sculptures into the future. We are grateful to Valérie Maltaverne and YMER&MALTA for demonstrating the ongoing power of Akari to inspire.”

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Akari Sculpture by Other Means, and Akari Unfolded: a collection by YMER&MALTA, are on view at the Noguchi Museum in New York until January 27 2019. For more information visit their website.

Photography by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the Noguchi Museum. 

ōtimo – June Playlist

Our first ever playlist features two hours of eclectic music from across the globe, including contemporary London jazz from Sons of Kemet, Zambian rock from Amanaz, and  funk-tinged Turkish folk from Esin Afşar.

Listen below.

 

AMOMENTO 18 Summer Resort Collection

Seoul label and boutique, amomento, have been garnering  the attention of discerning womenswear enthusiasts recently, both with their contemporary and understated silhouettes, and their carefully curated selection of international brands.

Their latest collection features essential summer items in nature inspired tonal cotton and linen, whilst the rugged backdrop accentuates the elegant simplicity that has become their trademark.

Visit their website for more information and to purchase items from this collection.

 

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All photos courtesy of amomento.

 

 

 

Ventura/Foreman

 

Ventura/Foreman is a design and manufacturing studio made up of Ventura Clothing and Foreman Accessories.

They focus on non-seasonal, conceptual projects, with utilitarian design, informed by the low-tech industrial sewing machinery they use to manufacture their products at their South East London studio.

They also have a series of collaborative collections planned for the near future.

See a selection of their products below, and for more information or to buy items from this collection go to the Ventura/Foreman website or visit London store Swim XYZ.

 

SS18 Lookbook10-2SS18 Lookbook14SS18 Lookbook13SS18 Lookbook16SS18 Lookbook17SS18 Lookbook5SS18 Lookbook19SS18 Lookbook20SS18 Lookbook8SS18 Lookbook33SS18 Lookbook26SS18 Lookbook31SS18 Lookbook28SS18 Lookbook12-2SS18 Lookbook30

All photos courtesy of Ventura/Foreman, Photography by Alexander Mcluckie. 

 

ANTIFASHION

2012 Documentary Antifashion, explores the fashion revolution that occurred during the global socio – economic instability of the late 80’s and early 90s, a rejection of the trend-driven, hyper-glamorous and sometimes pompous style, that had defined the industry throughout the previous decade.

Triggered by the early 80s emergence of the now legendary Japanese designers, Rei Kawukubo and Yohji Yamomoto, who rebelled against corporate industry rules, with their radical approach, focusing on disproportion and deconstruction. This paved the way for a wave of free-thinking young designers in the 1990s, like the Antwerp Six, Alexander Mcqueen, Helmut Lang, and Jil Sander, whose combined talent has comprehensively shaped the landscape of contemporary fashion.

© Arte France 2012 

Directed by OLIVIER NICKLAUS Producers ARTE FRANCE, LALALA PRODUCTIONS