Sunday, 20 May 2018

FATMA CHARFI | 1955 - 2018





The Art of Fatma Charfi is one that was born out of intense sorrow. The origins of her works where instigated by the events that unfolded in front of her eyes, at the time of the first Gulf War, back in 1991. This was a time of great sadness throughout the entire Arabic world. Sitting in her apartment in Bern, Switzerland, she, like so many others, watched the brutal scenes of the bombing on the city of Baghdad. When we met, back in 2006, she recalled that grief-stricken evening with such clarity and described how she watched with tears streaming down her cheeks, the inconsolable horrors of the mass murders inflicted on the innocent people of Iraq. Numb and in shock she stretched out her hand, blindly fumbling to find the hankies in her box of man-sized tissues on her glass coffee table, in the middle of the room. One after another she twisted the tissues with her fingers, rubbing them fiercely with her thumb and first finger as they slowly and gently fell down onto her wooden floor. Continually pulling, involuntarily crying and sobbing with exasperations, sheet by sheet, these man-sized tissues where wrenched out of the box and then the next and the next, until the entire box was empty. The rest of the night was a blur but she remembered falling asleep in a wet pool of her own tears that where generously soaked up by her fresh white Egyptian cotton covered pillows. When she woke the next morning she saw, with utter amazement, what she had done. There, all over her wooden floor, in her front room where the fallen angels; the symbolic message of this terrible Arabic massacre. On seeing this sight she fell to her knees and wept, determined to make the world take note of their numerous acts of wickedness.

Finally, she had found her voice and her medium. So began the age of the figurine, which Fatma named, her “Abroucs”.  Over the next three decades Fatma used her Art in glorious ways; sometimes she would support Arabic and African women and their plight of being marginalized and ignored; at other times she would highlight the injustices of Switzerland’s ironic status of neutrality and their naivety to the countless human rights abuses that take place across the world but specifically in Africa. The highlight of her career is to be found in the installation entitled, the “Laboratory of Peace” – the compassion and sensitivity in her Masterpiece or Mistresspiece is overwhelming, the work is not only powerful and poignant, it is also emotionally moving and capable of touching even the darkest of souls. She told me over the phone that she was so delighted that children from all walks of life, would leave her exhibition in floods of tears, so blown away at the marvel of it’s simplicity and transparency. In her passing she leave a cultural vacuum, not only for Tunisia but also the World.

Fatma Charfi was born in 1955 into a large family of Maghrebi nautical cartographers from Tunisia.* She was the fifth child and the only daughter of eight and grew up with her seven brothers and mother, Nabiha Ben Cheikh and father, Abdel Raouf Charfi in the city of Sfax. Her artistic career began in 1974 at Institut Supérieur des Beaux-Arts de Tunis in the capital, Tunis where she studied for her degree in Fine Art. In 1977 she went on to train as a cartoonist in Poland. In 1980 she moved to France and worked on her doctorate in “Artistic Aesthetics” at the Institut d’Estétique et de Sciences de l’Art de Paris | Sorbonne, and in 1985, she was awarded a PhD for her thesis related to the experimentation and the study of water; a year later she moved to Bern, Switzerland to attend the École Supérieure d’Art Visuel de Genève, where she enjoyed an internship.
Fatma was awarded the Jury Prize at the Alexandria Biennale, Egypt, in 1999 and took part in the Dakar Biennale, Dak’Art 2000 and became the first female artist to win the Grand Prix Léopold Sédar Senghor. She returned to Dak’Art in 2004 and again won the price for the second time, she proudly used to boast that she had danced with the Senegalese President and just how well she danced. Dak’Art honoured her again in 2010 and exhibited her artworks in a Retrospective at the Biennale.
Throughout her career Fatma exhibited her works in numerous countries including Tunisia, France, Switzerland, Egypt, Senegal, Germany, Spain, Dubai and America. Her works where shown extensively in the USA, mainly in Group Shows like “Shatat Disapora”, Arabic Women in Art at the University of Colorado Art Gallery, Boulder in 2003 followed by “A fiction of Authenticity” shown at the CAM Saint Louis, 2003; Carnegie Mellon University’s Regina Gouger Miller Gallery, Pittsburgh, 2004; Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, Texas in 2006.

She leaves behind her son Nabil M’seddi Charfi, aged 30 and her daughter Emna M’seddi Charfi, aged 25.

Author: Joe Pollitt

Monday, 25 September 2017

Kofi Agorsor by Cowries

WEEKEND ART SENSATION | Chukwugozye Cowries Okoye

Artist | Kofi Agorsor
Location: Accra, Ghana
Date: 2016
Photo by ?

Kofi Gamamiwosror Agorsor is an eccentric creative enigma who completed Ankle College of Art in Accra in 1989. This is after a two year stint studying architecture. He was born in the Volta region of Ghana. Agorsor works predominantly in painting and sculpture but he also has a vibrant musical practice.

In his paintings, Agorsor uses pulsating colors that become an interpretation of the essence of lived experiences of modern Ghanaians. His subject matter borders on the generic but rendered often in a buoyant, semi-abstract and witty manner. His canvases may be sparsely populated; often with a solitary figure in a sensuous pose, two lovers enjoying the presence of each other or they may be very populated, inhabited by crowds of market women or glitterati at events. Some of the canvases may be encumbered with splashes, drips and flows of paint that intertwine to become forests or mazes of enchantment. His sculptures are an embodiment of spontaneous orderliness.

Agorsor also leads an Afro-fusion-jazz group that performs his compositions at many events both locally and internationally. An engagement with his musical work, just like his art work,is very rewarding. It often reflects the energetic subtleties of the collective of musicians he has worked with over time. Recently he has been spending a lot of time in the recording studio with his group. Inspired by both the natural and supernatural worlds, Agorsor’s art and music inspires the Public greatly.

In accordance with his local and international exhibitions success, Agorsor remains a humble contributor to local children’s homes in Ghana.

ON FACEBOOK: Kofi Gamamiwosrow Agorsor
INSTAGRAM : @kofiagorsor

Thursday, 14 September 2017

I'M DONE by Joe Pollitt

A Discussion with the Ladies of Art in Holland.

RaQuel van Haver
RaQuel van Haver starts by announcing she is DONE!
"Ok I'm done:
We artists do need to pay a lot for our materials, transport , time etc.. a lot..
( most of the time upfront )
Why do people still expect that all we do is all for free..
That it's OK to not pay us all of the sudden or just wait for 5 months..
We do get in trouble , trying to fix things in impossible ways.
So many artist do "suffer "from this.
It's not normal ..
We do need to stand up to this.
I'm done!"
RaQuel van Haver

Then comes the untrained potty mouth POLLITT. 

 Joe Pollitt Declares: Furious, I have been forced to sell my Originals on Ebay. Artists have NO FUCKING PENSION and the RENT IS DUE! Still to pay my water rates, electricity and gas...reason for photo to be so shit...shot under candlelight.

My mate's dog is fed twice a day, is taken out for three walks by dog walkers, he even has health insurance, sleeps on a sofa next a 40"  TV Screen with the remote, paw-friendly and what do I get...A slap in the face for thinking I was an International Artist. Furious. Absolutely Fucked Off! I blame the FRENCH...but then again, I blame them for everything.

Conny Schoor

Conny types: "Is dat niet het verhaal van iedereen die als zelfstandige ondernemer werkt? In ieder geval de late betalingen......"

Translation: "Isn't that the story of everyone who works as a self-Employed Entrepreneur? At least the late payments......"

Joe Pollitt Replies: "Love your answer Conny but NO.  An Artist is born and those in authority know this. They know that the Artist will Art all their life. This is the true nature of an Artist. The Artist creates regardless and therefore all great Artists are exploited because those in Power know this fact. The one thing an Artist is NOT is an Entrepreneur. They are VERY DIFFERENT BEASTS. Polar opposite in fact. There are MONEY PEOPLE and there are ARTISTS. Damien Hirst is a moneyman and always has been. To think otherwise degrades the value of Art. Hirst has shown the world, with the right determination and forging the right friendships, Art can be manipulated and molded like a lump of clay. Hirst first choice of megalomaniac, Charles Saatchi, could not have been any wiser. An arrogant man with a respectable sense of self-loathing, coupled with vast wealth, influence and power…Perfect."

Cesi Denise Nolten types: "Sad but true.. so don't start before u have them sign a contract and have u pay 50% upfront. And they sign for paying u 50%. In two weeks after delivery. (Algemene voorwaarden) after some hard lessons u will have to do it this way.. if they respect u.. they will agree to sign. Ps --only in holland-- they are this lazy in paying.. with no law to protect us as a freelancer.. we should get together as artists here to see if we can do something about it right? So let me know if ur up to something.. im in!"

Cesi Denise Nolten

Pollitt sends her a backhand to the bassline with:
"Artists should expect not to get paid. They live in chaos, disorder and therefore need "Management", people to write proposals and understand that specific narrative. They need Publishers, PR and the Best Critics and Curators on their side. Language is a form of censorship here in the UK, if you can't understand the process, which is virtually impossible to comprehend unless you've been taught it you are setting yourself up for failure. It is a little like, Social Workers speak, it is only understood by those in the know. So it becomes political, where you went to Art College, which Framer you use, where in the World do you holiday? The importance of where you have drinks and meals out, which Clubs as you a Member of. In the end the Art World is one to avoid. Great Artists hate it, as do I.

What is happening is that the World is turning the Artist into a Tradesman/women. It is all Cobblers. Craft is not Art. The two are different but since the rise of the Hirst and others, Artists are now expected to support a team of 10 to 20 craftsmen and women and build a Production that can then be sold to the Museums, like the making of a Movie. But is it Art? Art has become Advertising, Commercial. A huge adult slide down the side of a building, a giant inflatable butt plug, a tent with all the men's names on display that the artist allowed to fuck her and abuse her? IS THAT A WORLD ANYBODY WANTS TO BELONG TO....."

Cesi Denise Nolten

Then as a final curtain call this:

"Well Raquel, Conny and Cesi; Art Ladies of Holland, you have certainly got me thinking again and writing, which is lovely. What it boils down to is money. The cream does not rise to the top. If the cream is poor it is highly likely it will curdle.  The main questions are: can you stay in the Game long enough so that you don't sink and die? Can you afford to go to the right Colleges, do the right Courses, invest in the right restaurants, Clubs, pubs and what not. This is even before you have put pen to paper. Art has become a Cottage Industry, the making of Factory Art. This is such a juicy subject to tap into but may leave the readers feeling lost and empty. Personally, my escape has always been Africa. To me, Africa means life in all it's glory. There is no word for Art there, everything is Art, so I have spent my time boring people with Africa. Little did they understand that Africa is Art and Art is Africa, because the world is asleep and most are far too busy to think straight. The masses would rather be told. You see Ladies, the majority like to be beaten, herded into pens and be among their familiars, in order to keep on bleating."

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

CRISIS IN AFRICA by Keilah Wells

Meeting Joseph Kony (2006)
The Great Freedom Fighter and Leader of the Lord's Resistance Army | LRA

*NB This is one of the greatest interviews ever. My respect goes out to Mohammed Vall from Al Jazerra. Please listen to this, all you who are interested in Uganda and Global Politricks.

Interview with Al Jazerra
I want to write this out so slowly, quietly because it is means the world to me. We need to look at the systems that have been put into place that are failing the entire international community. When doctors, lawyers and educators become refugees can they enjoy life in a mud hut? What is happening is quite amazing. The camps are turning into settlements soon to become reservations, it is all a matter of semantics and we are watching the development of Africa in a way that is so brutal and cruel. Dictators are using AID to develop their interest and the richer Nations of the UN are being held over a barrel to comply. Who has the right to a swimming pool, a gym and fresh food and water? Who has the right to watch movies in their leisure time and play X-box and eat chips whilst scratching their balls in their off-time? In over 30 years Uganda has had a media blackout. No news has come from this part of the world. The Brits and the Yanks have seen to it that this country of plenty is run by one of the worst Dictators to walk the earth. He has killed, tortured and brutalized his own Nation and the International Community has turned a blind eye to all his antics. The military is just a personal army that murders those that step out of line and ensures the so-called terrorists are dealt with by killing them one by one. This African Leader is shameless, he thinks what he has done was for the benefit of your country. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We have a moral obligation to ensure the rights of all mankind and blah blah blah blah. Let them drink, chilled Champagne! They are worth a million times what is given them...The UN can not skin a deal. Let the businessmen and women in. Let us see this through fairly and justly so all benefit. Bring on the Trumps and the business community to sort out this mess but this is a deal that is going sour. What is at stake is the experiment that is the United Nations. Those that hold serious positions of power in the UN are useless. They can not negotiate, they are fat fools in Savile Row suits unable to work out what to do so they sanction because of their stupidity. They know no better and have a poor privileged up-bringing but there is a deal to be broken here where all can benefit. Welcome to the layer-cake my friends. AID needs to come with partnership of those in Northern Uganda so their land is secured and their benefits realized. No more dealings with Ghost Governments that are a hundred times worse than any Hitler..

Oreo by Wasswa Donald

Walking so ignorantly into the misery business and understanding nothing. Torture and murder will make the news and therefore feed into the AID Industry. Who is pushing who and where does it stop if at all. The parasites of misery and those that suffer are the innocent whilst those in positions of responsibility lick their lips and smile as the common man lies dying. The camps highlight the exterior more than ever and as they grow into mini cities owned by dictators and their friends. Ugly business conducted by the worse of our humanitarian humans making a mockery of all that is humane. BLOOD IS READ so the journalists here tell me..what an utter bunch of c***s they all are..

The journey into the heart of Africa has taught me one thing. The whole fucking world is absolutely rotten. Those in control want to keep it that way because all those in seats of power are bottom feeding parasites that are totally un-human.

Like a dolphin’s smile but looks can be deceiving.

This mass migration and displacement must be understood with more clarity. To make your life visible those in the regions around the borders of East African countries have no other option but to become refugees otherwise they will stay marginalized, neglected, invisible and completely off the radar. These problems have yet to be fully comprehended, or addressed because to do so will destablize and challenge the entire infrastructure. Those with refugee status are able to become Presidents, to educate and travel abroad. Those on the outskirts are seen as uncivilized savages, bestial creatures without value and this has been designed even manufactured. The issue lies in language, when those in the more affluent parts of the country are told people around the borderlands are no better than squatters, parasitic vermin, insignificant rodents. These are dangerous words that lead to genocide. Man-made famines, war and disease are all that remain for those unregistered masses that live outside the camps, now known as settlements, (like reservations in America) in these regions. What happened this year is set to increase 10 fold in the years to come. The legacy of the continuation of these Colonial Systems are failing the majority and making the indigenous people feel inferior in their own lands.

The Civilization of a Continent via an UN Refugee Program - Every Camp ("Settlement") is designed the same. Just like the Reservations in the United States or Concentration Camps in Europe. Streets A, B, C. Designated Health Facilities, US latrines, primary and secondary schools. A Church and a Mosque. Community Centre. Playing Fields for Sports.

Dr Aggrey Kiyingi discuses

Hardtalk with Stephen Sakur and President Mus7e

Genocide and Murder in Uganda

President Yoweri Museveni will never step down from power because he is responsible for not just one genocide of 2 million Ugandan citizens but two genocides to date. Mass graves in the region of 4 million + and the displacement of 2 million fellow Ugandans. Recently, I visited the women's prison in Gulu, Northern Uganda and the prison warden told me the majority of the prison was filled with innocent so-called "squatters" similar terminology as "cockroach", used in Rwanda. The source, Gloria, (not her real name) told me that the female prisoners are willing and happy to work the land for their supper. They are farmed out as cheap labour for any greedy willing farmer wanting to exploit this corrupt society. The President is a disgraceful leader, the worst on the Continent of Africa. He should be facing crimes against humanity in the Hague. He is the most heinous dictator ever and makes Hitler and Stalin look like alter boys in comparison. Uganda must see him leave and answer for his multiple crimes.

Somebody is paying to be INVISIBLE -

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Great African Civilizations | Zulus of South Africa

The last in the series is about Zulus and South Africa and Ghana in West Africa and to end with Ethiopia and their determination and defiance to never becoming Colonized.

Great Africa Civilizations | Transatlantic Slavery

This is an exceptional part of the series and perhaps the most exciting for those that feel displaced. Part 5 looks at the issue of Transatlantic Slavery | This is a documentary that all of us, world wide should watch. Excellent stuff.


The Great African Civilization