Thursday, 30 May 2013

she kind of went a bit potty (like me)

urban exploration: springfield asylum

I used to cut through Springfield everyday to get to school when I was at Burntwood and more often than not I'd hide out in the grounds when I bunked off (never was a very good student!) But until this recent trip, I'd never actually discovered the creepy abandoned and recently boarded up parts....

It was quite strange and freaky walking down some of the too too silent halls, knowing that a) they're probably ghosts around b) we'd be in BIG trouble if we got caught, but I think both of these sum up the appeal of urban exploration! 

Springfield is very much a world of its own, a crack den for junkies, a self contained enclosure with a church, nursery, lots of old Victorian buildings, many people (otherworldly kind), beautiful gardens and even a Costa. The building shown in the below video have now been completely boarded off and the grounds are rapidly being regenerated, much to local protest, new flats, a shopping centre, and even a school have been proposed! :-/ What's happening to Tooting....

...found on youtube....

...some pictures I took....

the secret world of springfield

Malcolm X/ Ellen Gallagher: AxME

I quite randomly went to see this exhibition at the Tate Modern a while ago. It was quite interesting... Strangely enough I had a really long conversation with a friend about African hair not too long ago, earlier on in the day this same friend had given a talk on Malcolm X, his life and his conversion to orthodox Islam. 

It was during his second pilgrimage to Mecca, after Malcolm X broke off from the Nation of Islam that he came to accept and understand the concept of brotherhood in Islam. In a letter he wrote; 'I have never before seen sincere and true brotherhood practiced by all colours together, irrespective of their colour.' One of my favourite lines in the Quran is the following: 'O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another.' 

So anyway as my friend and I were talking about Islam, in particular race and Islam,  I was reminded of how beautiful and simple the concept really is (or at least should be). We're made the way we are by God right, we were coloured and shaped by Him and thus we are perfect. Colour, shape, appearance... these aren't things that we should obsess over. These should be things we accept openly- colour, any colour is a given, the norm, something that just is, something you shouldn't be ashamed of, something you shouldn't try to change. Somehow we got talking about how skewed our (societies) perceptions on beauty have become, even (or maybe especially) amongst people from ethnic minorities. In Pakistan, as in Somalia, the elders still consider fair to be beautiful, skin lightening creams are widespread... so this is when we got onto the topic of African hair. 

We ended up talking about the amount of time, effort and money people spend on their hair; the pain associated with relaxing hair, the treatments, extensions etc. And for what? Because somehow people have come to believe that doing so will make them appear more beautiful. While wandering around the different rooms, I found a lot of Gallager's artwork to reflect our words, and maybe that's why I found the exhibition so interesting. Def worth a visit, have included info from the Tate website below. 

Ellen Gallagher is one of the most acclaimed contemporary artists to have emerged from North America since the mid-1990s. Her gorgeously intricate and highly imaginative works are realised with a wealth of virtuoso detail and wit. This is her first major solo exhibition in the UK, providing the first ever opportunity to explore an overview of her twenty-year career.

Gallagher brings together imagery from myth, nature, art and social history to create complex works in a wide variety of media including painting, drawing, relief, collage, print, sculpture, film and animation. The exhibition explores the themes which have emerged and recurred in her practice, from her seminal early canvases through to recent film installations and new bodies of work.

In her series of wig-map grid collages, Double Natural, POMP-BANG, andeXelento, Gallagher has appropriated and incorporated found advertisements for hair and beauty products from the 1930s to the late 1970s from publications such as Ebony, Our World, and Black Stars. These advertisements fostered ideals in black beauty through wigs and hair adornments, which Gallagher has then recontextualised, collaging the Afro wig elements and embellishing them with plasticine. As she comments: ‘The wig ladies are fugitives, conscripts from another time and place, liberated from the “race” magazines of the past. But again, I have transformed them, here on the pages that once held them captive.’

That Modern Old View

Kew Revisited

...river wanders...

a leaf sits on your hat

Tadpoles from Outer Space

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Book #4: Sy's Poems

Ahh nothing beats that feeling you get when a book you've been putting together forever finally arrives in the post! Sy's Poem's is pretty much a book version of my blog but contains a whole load of unpublished material too... I'll make this available to buy some day maybe, watch this space...

the thing about courage