Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Captain Sankara | Che Guevara of Africa | Revolutionary Leader

At a time when so many Africans are talking about Independence, I wanted to focus my attention on one of the greatest progressive leaders since Independence, Thomas Sankara. He was the man to change the name of his country from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, which means the Land of the Incorruptibles or Land of the Honourable Men. He died in October 1987 at the age of 39 but his legacy lives on.

Burkina commemorates slain leader

President Captain Thomas Sankara
Thomas Sankara was overthrown by the current president in Burkina Faso. He was an extraordinary revolutionary leader but more importantly he was a man of the people; a decent guitarist who played in a band called, Tout-a-Coup Jazz and also rode motorbikes.

"Our revolution in Burkina Faso draws on the totality of man's experiences since the first breath of humanity. We wish to be the heirs of all the revolutions of the world, of all the liberation struggles of the peoples of the Third World. We draw the lessons of the American revolution. The French revolution taught us the rights of man. The great October revolution brought victory to the proletariat and made possible the realization of the Paris Commune's dreams of justice." Thomas Sankara

Sankara, better known as the Che of Africa was a great advocate for woman:
“The revolution and women’s liberation go together. We do not talk of women’s emancipation as an act of charity or because of a surge of human compassion. It is a basic necessity for the triumph of the revolution. Women hold up the other half of the sky.”
Improving women's status was one of Sankara's explicit goals, and his government included a large number of women, which was and still is an unprecedented policy priority in West Africa. His government banned female genital mutilationforced marriages and polygamy; while appointing females to high governmental positions and encouraging them to work outside the home and stay in school even if pregnant. Sankara also promoted contraception and encouraged husbands to go to market and prepare meals to experience for themselves the conditions faced by women. Furthermore, Sankara was the first African leader to appoint women to major cabinet positions and to recruit them actively for the military. Sankara's administration was also the first African government to publicly recognize the AIDS epidemic as a major threat to Africa.

Let us look at why the Captain was such a wonderful leader:
§                     He sold off the government fleet of Mercedes cars and made the Renault 5 (the cheapest car sold in Burkina Faso at that time) the official service car of the ministers.
§                     He reduced the salaries of all public servants, including his own, and forbade the use of government chauffeurs and 1st class airline tickets.
§                     He redistributed land from the feudal landlords and gave it directly to the peasants. Wheat production rose in just three years from 1700 kg per hectare to 3800 kg per hectare, making the country food self-sufficient.
§                     He opposed foreign aid, saying that "he who feeds you, controls you."
§                     He spoke eloquently in forums like the Organization of African Unity against continued neo-colonialist penetration of Africa through Western trade and finance.
§                     He called for a united front of African nations to repudiate their foreign debt. He argued that the poor and exploited did not have an obligation to repay money to the rich and exploiting.
§                     In Ouagadougou, Sankara converted the army's provisioning store into a state-   owned supermarket open to everyone (the first supermarket in the country).
§                     He forced civil servants to pay one month's salary to public projects.
§                     He refused to use the air conditioning in his office on the grounds that such luxury was not available to anyone but a handful of Burkinabes.
§                     As President, he lowered his salary to only $450 a month and limited his possessions to a car, four bikes, three guitars, a fridge and a broken freezer.


"Che Guevara taught us we could dare to have confidence in ourselves; confidence in our abilities. He instilled in us the conviction that struggle is our only recourse. He, was a citizen of th free world that together we are in the process of building. That is why we say that Che Guevara is also African and Burkinabe." - Thomas Sankara

At the time of his death in 1987 there was an outpouring of shock and disappointment here are some of the thoughts of the time:
"Sankara’s assassins were guided by imperialism, which could not allow a man with the ideas and actions of Sankara to lead a country on a continent so exploited for hundreds of years by international imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonial Governments that do their bidding. Sankara’s political ideas will endure, like those of Patrice Lumumba of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Amílcar Cabral of Guinea-Bissau, also assassinated by traitors at the behest of the empire."
– Ulises Estrada, a key organizer of Che Guevar's 1966-67 Guerrilla Mission to Bolivia 

"Africa and the world are yet to recover from Sankara’s assassination. Just as we have yet to recover from the loss of Patrice LumumbaKwame NkrumahEduardo MondlaneAmilcar CabralSteve BikoSamora Machel, and most recently John Garang, to name only a few. While malevolent forces have not used the same methods to eliminate each of these great pan-Africanists, they have been guided by the same motive: to keep Africa in chains."
– Antonio de Figueiredo, February 2008 

A great measure of a man is what his wife says about him after the event and here is what Mariam had to say:

“Thomas knew how to show his people that they could become dignified and proud through will power, courage, honesty and work. What remains above all for my husband is his integrity.” Mariam Sankara, Thomas’ widow

Banana Wall by Stefan Sagmeister

Graphic Artist: Stefan Sagmeister
Country: Austria/US
Title: Self-Confidence Produces Fine Results
Materials: 7,200 Bananas and Glue
Exhibition: Dietch Project
18-28, Wooster Road,
NYC, New York 10013
Year: 2008

This style of art is known as "Conceptual Art".

Although this show was exhibited in 2008, I thought it flagged up some interesting ideas with a rather imaginative material, bananas. This is a material that is in abundance in many parts of the Continent. The work should inspire artists to look outside the guidelines and parameters of traditional art forms. By using fruit or a live organism an artist can play with a number of human senses - the eyes and the nose.

As the fresh display of bananas begin to decay, the viewer is able to make out the impressions of the design around the wall and the lettering. The artist has ingeniously placed bananas on the wall at different degrees of ripeness; these were strategically put into place at the start.  The conception of fruit to create pungent typography, and then watching it change over time is inspired.

The message reads:

Self Confidence Produces Fine Results.

Monday, 25 October 2010

What is Shaping Our World

What is complicated in today's society globally, is the way in which media of all kinds, be in music, dance, literature or International politics are effecting our every day - so much is effecting all of us that to define ourselves correctly becomes ever increasingly difficult; no more so than the Independent countries of Africa. So many people out in the villages are unfamiliar with the culture of the cities and are beginning to be rejected. Not in a good way more that they are being left behind. Left in a world of wilderness to the point of alienation. I think this is what is called being marginalised but I'll look it up. This is an issue I would like to tackle but it would be easier if the issue was tackled collectively.

Here's a song that is sung by the original artist and danced by slightly more modern icon.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Occidental, Oriental, Accidental, Culture Building...

Recently, I been thinking about African American artists and specifically the success of the Harlem Renaissance. This is an American Art Movement, which was created in 1920's to 1930's and was the precursor to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950's and 1960's.

An artist from the early days was the Jazz singer Ethel Waters

The Movement stretched across numerous areas of the arts including painting, music, dance and literature.

Initially, we should try to understand the philosophy behind the Movement, which outlined a clear mission statement and has become what we now know as, professional Africana philosophy. This philosophy had its roots in the search for identity. Black writers of the late 1800s and early 1900s intellectually shaped the emergence of the civil rights movement, which sought to remedy the evils of social segregation; political disfranchisement; economic exploitation and cultural discrimination of the black people of America and Africa. In his Race and Study (Freetown, 1895), Edward Wilmot Blyden defined and described the objectives of the black personality movement.

"For each one of you -for each one of us- there is a special duty to accomplish; a terribly necessary and important job; a job for the race to which we belong ... there is a responsibility that our personality, our belonging to this race, presupposes.... The duty of every individual and every race is to struggle for its own individuality, to maintain it and develop it.... Therefore honour and love your race for yourselves ... if you are for yourselves, for if you abdicate your personality, you will not have left anything to give to the world. Neither will you be happy nor of any use, and you will have nothing to attract and fascinate other people because with the suppression of your individuality you will also lose your distinctive character. You will also realize then that having abdicated your personality you will also have lost the special duty and glory to which you are called. In truth you will be denying the divine ideal-god and sacrificing the divine individuality; this is the worst type of suicide."

On an artistic level a growing literary circle had formed whose aims were, in the words of the Kenyan philosopher D. A. Masolo, "to rehabilitate the image of the black man wherever he was through the expression of black personality…(D. A. Masolo, African Philosophy in Search of Identity. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994, p. 10)

Here is a poem by the poet, Langston Hughes whose poetry really defined the Movement.

Langston Hughes (1902-1967): The Philosopher and Poet
The poem that redefined the black race attitude | The Nation, June 23, 1926

We, the creators of the new black generation,
want to express our black personality
without shame or fear
If this will please the whites, much the better
If not, it does not matter
We know ourselves to be beautiful
And also ugly
The drums cry
The drums laugh
If this will please the whites, much the better
If not, it does not matter
It is for tomorrow that we are building our temples
Solid temples as we will ourselves know how to
construct them.
And we will keep ourselves straight
On top of the mountain
Free in ourselves.


The Harlem Renaissance was a flowering of African-American social thought that was expressed through the visual arts, as well as through the music of Louis Armstrong, Eubie Blake, Fats Waller and Billie Holiday and in writing of Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and W.E.B. DuBois. In theater Paul Robeson and in dance Josephine Baker. Centred in the Harlem district of New York City, the Movement had a profound influence across the United States and the world.

The intellectual and social freedom of the era attracted many Black Americans from the rural south to the industrial centres of the north. Artists at the core of the Harlem Renaissance movement included William H. Johnson, Lois Mailou Jones and the sculptor and printmaker Sargent Claude Johnson. Other prominent artists included Jacob Lawrence, Archibald Motley and Romare Bearden. Later artists such as Charles Sebree, Hale Woodruff, Beauford Delaney, John Biggers, Ernie Barnes and Charles White also joined the struggle.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Movement was education and the thoughts of W.E.B DuBois, who advocated the idea of racial pluralism in virtue of which, "each race must be free to strive, in its own way, to develop for civilization, its particular message, its particular ideal, which shall help guide the world nearer and nearer that perfection of human life, for which we all long, that ‘one far off Divine event’” (From “The Conservation of Races”).

In The Souls of Black Folk, DuBois is even more emphatic about the peculiarity of the “double-consciousness” situation of the black people in America. He explains:

“The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife,--this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He would not Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He would not bleach his Negro soul in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that the Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American, without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of opportunity closed roughly in his face” (From The Souls of Black Folk, A. C. McClurg, 1903).


The issue of Independence is at the forefront of many African thinkers, especially within those countries celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Independence, this year. Elements within this Movement should be echoed throughout the countries of Africa at a time when many artists and intellectuals are looking back and questioning the successes of the cultural development that have occurred within the past half century.

Take a look at this video. It blow me away as it blended so many aspects of what is important for now.

Thursday, 21 October 2010



Previously, I have written on this blog about the importance of being a feral artist; a reject and anti-establishment. Over the years I have attempted to find artists and artworks that are progressive and trying to push the boundaries of art. It is clear that Africa's horizons have broadened of late and those that were rejected yesterday are slowly but surely, becoming acceptable today. I have come to understand that life is a constant flow of rejection and acceptance and with that in mind, it seem irrelevant to be playing into the hands of the establishment, rather the opposite and aim to be rejected for now and wait for a time that will accept your ideology. An artist must take risks and occasionally step off the path and listen to his/her intuition but also not be too stubborn to take guidance from others. A great deal of my inspiration has come from Ari Up and the Slits. This is a band of sisters who have really made a difference to the world and with limited acclaim, until now, yet they have pursued and maintained their vision and their integrity throughout. I am so proud of these women and saddened by the news of Ari's death.

What her life has taught me, whilst reflecting on her struggle to be heard, is the importance of conviction and self belief. She teaches an interesting lesson in rejection being a viable option; just so long as you're working progressively, challenging the conventional and generally working towards the greater good. What is interesting about the Slits is their ability to be so imaginative and challenging in all aspects of art; be it edgy album covers, videos, music, dancehall costumes, rhythms and moves and more recently trying to create audience participation and blend the audience with the music, so each live set is unique to each performance. At a time when audiences are so expectant with multi-media platforms and high tech trickery, the Slits have a seemingly, basic no thrills policy and ask those attending to use their bodies, imagination and themselves and become part of the songs sung. These demands should be welcomed in order to break the chains of a ready-made future, devoid of imagination or intelligent thinking. Their work within humanity, music and the arts should be seen as a liberating performance and audiences should be delighted to participate with them.

Ari took musical influences from Brooklyn and Jamaica, especially the Dancehall music and ambitiously pushed these new afropolitan vibes to smaller audiences within unfamiliar territory, the Northern hemisphere. Similar to the likes of André Derain and Odilon Reden, Cezanne, Gustave Corubet and Paul Gauguin of yesteryear she too tried to blend Oriental musical ideas and forge a slight change in the Occidental world. She should be regarded as the Picasso of music. She encouraged audience participation, not unlike a Gospel church, and had a wonderfully evangelic approach to music and art, whereby all is possible. She fused Jamaican Reggae and African beats with her Rasta-Bavarian accent into the mix and came up with a distinct sound that is universal. Her approach to live gigs was way ahead of it's time. It is rather reliant on self-assured audiences willing to get involved but irrespective of their short-comings Ari was confident that audiences would engage in the gigs, either immediately or eventually. The penny has yet to drop for many of us who went to see the band live.

The scope of entertainment available today is enormous but if music is to be truly experienced properly, we all must take a stand and play our role in ensuring that the enjoyment of a live performance remains safely in the hands of the audience, as well as the performers.

In an era of faceless friendships from MySpace to Facebook this song says so much:

Hated by Many, Loved by a Few:





Sometimes artists need to swim against the tide rather than with it. The instinctive desire to please others is often so overwhelming, especially when their are mouths to feed and bills to pay but holding to an ideal with pay dividends eventually.

There is a wave of admiration for Ari and her contribution to art throughout the world. She is finally being seen as the real rebel of our age, all aspects of her life should be celebrated.

From the Independent Newspaper:

‎"Ari wore a long mac which she kept flashing to reveal Union Jack pants worn over leggings. I'd never seen anything like it: it was very sexual. She had a totally unique look that has influenced Bjork and Madonna. She had an extremely rebellious spirit." Tessa Bassie.

Typical Girls

Here is a beautiful tribute from Jon Savage of the Guardian to a fantastic one-off.

Ari Up: a punk with the courage to confront

When I saw the Slits in 1977, Ari Up would howl, scream and hitch up her clothes. No audience had ever seen a young woman behave like this on stage. And like the best punk rock, she had a gleeful desire to shock and outrage


Slits singer Ari Up dies aged 48

Ari Up, whose death from cancer has just been announced, was an extremely powerful energy force – a trailblazer who embodied the punk spirit. As singer and co-writer in the Slits, she completely redefined what a woman in music could do and – in the ethos of the time – opened up possibilities that would be explored by herself and many others in the years to come.

The Slits erupted during their appearance at the Harlesden Coliseum in March 1977. Like many groups at that time, they were learning as they went along: the performance was chaotic and violent. But no one had seen young women behave like this on stage: enacting a flagrant parody of sexuality, at the same time seemingly tougher and more disturbing than the other (male) groups on the bill.

I loved seeing them in 1977 and 1978. The shows became more coherent, but there was always this edge of chaos – which added to the excitement. Visually, drummer Palmolive was fantastic: standing up to play, beating the crap out of her set in thundering, tribal patterns. Bassist Tessa Pollitt stood stock still and watchful, while guitarist Viv Albertine prowled the stage like a tiger.

Up front, Ari howled, screamed, toasted, crooned, skanked, hitched up her clothes, pulled at her bird's nest hair, and generally behaved in a most un-lady-like fashion. She was confrontational in person and on stage, but her courage went hand-in-hand with a gleeful, teenage desire to shock and outrage that was a major impulse in punk.

The Slits found it difficult to assimilate within a conservative, male-dominated music industry. The songs became clearer, and when you listened, they were tuneful, witty and extremely sharp. One masterpiece was FM – recorded for a John Peel session in 1977 – which tackles the insidious psychic effects of the mass media. It ends with a radio sweep that includes Union Gap's salacious Young Girl.

By the time the Slits recorded their first album in 1979, they were a completely different band from their thrash beginnings. Produced by Dennis Bovell, the reggae-infused Cut is justly celebrated as a landmark statement that includes strong songs such as Newtown, Shoplifting and, of course, Typical Girls – an enduring manifesto for young women who seek to reject the norm.

Punk has now become so familiar that people forget its primal, revolutionary drive. For a brief period, everything had to be new. If it hadn't been done before, do it: why not? What's to stop you? Ari Up enacted this impulse on stage, on record, and in person into the 21st century. In any language, this was heroic, and I salute her for that: I'm sorry she's gone.

Posted by
Jon Savage Thursday 21 October 2010 13.39 BST

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Minstrel Show

I found this on the Internet via Youtube and it really made me think about the way in which the black man is portrayed in society. What is needed is more positive imagery and a progressive mindset.

We must look towards the American Civil Rights Movement and start to reshape our thinking. To seek out the positive and the progressive and to build on the efforts made.

America's culture is based around the cowboy and Hollywood and the film industry or elaborate musicals on Broadway. This can't be the culture worldwide as each country of Africa is unique in it's development and what represents the country.

Kenya is a great example as the tourist industry has played an enormous role in it's shaping of the country. The colour of Kenya is like a rainbow with animals, white hunters and Maasai worriers with bows and arrows. A similar history of cowboys and indians can be recorded by film directors of Kenya in regards to the British vs the Kenyans but unlike America the Kenyans won.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Art For The People

A Rake's Progress, 
Tavern Scene
London, Sir John Soan's Museum

Heads of Six of Hogarth's Servants
London,Tate Gallery

Dr Gus Casely-Hayford shows how our sense of identity was changed forever by the most distinctively British artist this country has ever produced: William Hogarth.
Until the 18th century, the only vision of Britishness that was available in our art was for and about the toffs. But in the 18th century a revolution occurred: a revolution in ink and paint rather than blood. For the very first time, it was possible to look at our art and see people who are identifiably 'us'. It's all thanks to Hogarth.
No other artist looked at Britain in the way that Hogarth did. There's no one in the art of Europe like him. Hogarth was born poor in London, to whose teeming streets he turned for inspiration throughout his life. Hogarth's London, by far the biggest city in Europe, was not only a great subject for the artist; it was the crucible in which British identity was forged.
Gus has a personal fascination with this story because in 1748, his ancestor, William Ansa, arrived in London from Africa. William had left the Gold Coast, where his father was a wealthy trader, for England to seek his fortune. But the ship's captain had tricked him into slavery and he had spent four years working on a sugar plantation in Barbados.
His case became a cause celebre. The good people of London petitioned for William's freedom and by the time he eventually got here, he was already famous. Gus has always wondered what William might have seen and felt in London. He finds the answers in the life and work of Hogarth.
Uniquely among artists at the time, there are black people everywhere in Hogarth. For Gus, it's an acknowledgement that the lives of people like William Ansa are part of British history too.
Hogarth's inclusive vision of British identity seemed horrifyingly vulgar to the ruling classes of his day. On the whole, the artistic elite shunned the rowdy life of the streets. They wanted a more elegant, chaste vision of British identity. Hogarth wanted art that depicted Britain in all its ugly, rude reality.


Art of Yinka Shonibare | Diary of a Victorian Dandy - 1998 Collection

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Quakers funded by Child Labour of West Africa

Stacey Dooley looks into the child labour issue surrounding the cocoa industry in the Ivory Coast. These are the main countries where Cadbury's, Rowntree and Hershey's source their cocoa from. The striking thing about this documentary is that it seems to have unknowingly, open up a can of worms. Numerous uncomfortable questions should be raised to Cadbury's and all the other chocolate companies. Maybe we should look elsewhere and more at those who are behind the Chocolate Companies: the Quaker Movement. The issues of child abuses and exploitation should really fall on the table of the Quaker Movement Worldwide, which has been largely funded for generations by chocolate money. Joseph Rowntree, John Cadbury and Milton Hershey are all Quakers, so in effect, this religious movement has all but solely been funded by money from child labour of West Africa. What is more concering is that the other famous groups, whose Founders are known Quakers have turned a blind-eye to these rather clear human rights abuses. Organisations such as Amnesty International, Oxfam and Greenpeace. Why have they failed to mention these rather obvious violations of human rights and child abuses that have continually occurred within this region of Africa; an area within the world that Amnesty, Greenpeace and Oxfam have direct interest in? The question I ask myself is, does Africa really need these Organisations or do these Organisations need Africa and has Charity become the new Chocolate?

Please take a look at this remarkable documentary with the wonderful, Stacey Dooley, all about the Cocoa Industry in West Africa, which has inadvertently kicked up a hornet's nest..

Monday, 4 October 2010

Max Ernst

As I look closer into works of art being created in West Africa and in other parts of Southern Africa, I am beginning to see similarities to various artists of recent times. One such artist is Max Ernst, whose work is similar to many artists I know, especially from the Anglophone countries of Africa; such as Ghana; the Gambia; Zambia and Nigeria.

Take a look:

Matter of Record: Peterson Kamwathi’s First Solo Show in London

Gallery: Ed Cross Fine Art, The Hive Projects, 20 Buckle Street, London E1 8EH
Dates & Times: October 20th – November 20th 2010
Wednesday – Sunday, 12pm – 6pm
Open until 9pm for First Thursdays on November

Peterson Kamwathi (b.1980) is one of Kenya's leading visual artists. His powerful works are created in response to specific national and global socio‐economic and political phenomena.

Sitting Allowance Series by Peterson Kamwathi | Charcoal on Paper | 2009

Sitting Allowance Series by Peterson Kamwathi | Charcoal on Paper | 2009

Events such as the botched 2007 Kenyan General Elections that brought the country to the brink of civil war and the long and tortuous process of establishing a new post‐colonial constitution.
In his new "queue" works, the artist explores the meaning of queues in varying local and international contexts from Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Kenyans waiting patiently in line to cast their votes.

The works are devoid of narcissism. Kamwathi's motivation flows from a sense of belonging and duty to his society and wider humanity and the world. Artist in the tradition of story teller, as recorder, questioner and harbinger.

Matter of Record, Peterson Kamwathi's first solo show in London, will bring together works from the last four years ‐ woodcut prints and plates, and charcoal drawings.
The exhibition will be opened by renowned Ethiopian curator Meskerem Assugued.

Biography of the artist

Peterson Kamwathi, born in Nairobi in 1980, is one of Kenya’s best regarded young artists and is now establishing himself as a major name in contemporary African art. His work combines clear conceptual elements and rich content with technical mastery. 
His main body of work has been in printmaking where he is an acknowledged master of the woodcut process, though more recently he has broadened his oeuvre to create several series of charcoal and mixed media works, culminating in his “Sitting Allowance” installation which is almost epic in its scale documenting the grim realities of the bungled Kenyan 2007/8 elections. 
A substantial portion of his work has been concerned with the iconography and process of the first Kenyan constitutional referendum 2005 which he explored through the medium of woodcut. In a series of works, he uses the bull as the main symbol representing his country Kenya and the issues taking centre stage during this important period of her history.

Sitting Allowance Series By Peterson Kamwathi

Sitting Allowance Series by Peterson Kamwathi | Charcoal on Paper | 2009

 “I view myself as a part of my society and as such I’m accountable to the society. Being an artist in this society extends beyond my immediate environment to include the world. In my work I strive to address and document issues that affect and impact my country, my continent and now the planet.”

Solo Exhibitions
2009 Sitting Allowance, The Goethe Institute, Nairobi, Kenya
Constitutional Bulls Series, World Museum, Liverpool, UK
2007 Le Rustique, Nairobi, Kenya
The GoDown Art Centre, Nairobi, Kenya
2005 Tuska Center for Contemporary Art, University of Kentucky, USA
2002 Ngong Racecourse Restaurant

Group Exhibitions
2010 Dakar Biennale, Official Programme
Space, Johannesburg
St Louis Cultural Festival, Ed Cross Fine Art, S Louis, Senegal
Witness: The Spectre of Memory in Contemporary African Art, Ed Cross Fine Art at
Edinburgh Art Festival
2009 Probe – Group Show, Curated by Simon Njami, GoDown Arts Centre, Nairobi, Kenya
Stereotypes – Group Show, Kuona trust, Nairobi, Kenya
2008 Africa Now, Washington DC, USA
2006 East African Printmaker's Exhibition, The GoDown Arts Centre
Printmaking Exhibition, Ramoma Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya
2005 Exhibition of Kenyan Prints, part of Africa 05, Bankside gallery, London, UK
2004 Off the Main, New York, USA
Edition One (printmakers exhibition), National museum of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya
Kenya Art, Selena Gallery, University of Long Island, New York, USA
Two Faces of Love (two‐man exhibition), Le Rustique, Nairobi, Kenya
2003 Festival Mundial, Tilburg, Holland
Insights into Kenya, Le Rustique, Nairobi, Kenya
BBC Antiques Road Show, Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya
2001 Constitutional Review Exhibition, National Museum of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya
Art Affair, The Village Market
2000 Best of Kuona, E.A. Contemporary Art Gallery
Art Affair, Ramoma Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya
1999 Hanging Around, E.A. Contemporary Art Gallery

2009 Art Omi International Artists Residency, Columbia, New York
Reijkademy Residency, Amsterdam
2006 Printmaking residency, Bath Spa University, Bath, UK
London print studio, London, UK
Thupelo international artist’s workshop, Rorkes Drift, South Africa
2005 University of Kentucky Kenya artists in residence program, Lexington, Kentucky. USA

For further information:
Ed Cross
Mobile: 07507 067567
E‐mail: ed@edcrossfineart.com
Website: www.edcrossfineart.com

Kwame Bakoji is in the Shed | Southampton


His work is worth discussing as he brings colour, technique and an honesty back to Contemporary African art.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Palmer Hayden | Harlem Renaissance

Palmer Hayden, Untitled (The Carousel Wharf) (detail) (n.d., signed lower right, watercolor on paper, 18 x 23 ¾ in.)



Two watercolors by Palmer Hayden, the famous Harlem Renaissance artist, will be included in Swann Galleries, Inc.African-American Fine Art Auction on October 7, 2010 starting at 2:30p.m. at 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010 (212-254-4710).

Palmer Hayden, Untitled (The Carousel Wharf) (detail) (n.d., signed lower right, watercolor on paper, 18 x 23 ¾ in.)

Two watercolors by Palmer Hayden, the famous Harlem Renaissance artist, will be included in Swann Galleries, Inc. African-American Fine Art Auction on October 7, 2010 starting at 2:30 p.m. at 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010 (212-254-4710). The Benny Andrews Foundation, Inc. of Litchfield, Connecticut donated the original, signed watercolors entitled Girl with Cat and Untitled (The Carousel Wharf) to support cWOW's educational programs for youth such as ArtReach, City Murals, and Newark New Media.

Nene Humphrey, President of The Benny Andrews Foundation, said, “The Foundation selected City Without Walls for its first major award, because of the innovative ways that cWOW uses arts education to connect with urban youth.”

Palmer Hayden (1890-1973) was among the most celebrated painters of the 1920s Harlem Renaissance. He served in the U.S. military during World War I, worked in Harlem and Paris between the Wars, for the WPA afterward. David Driskell wrote that Hayden was "one of the first painters to offer a candid, if somewhat controversial, interpretation of black life" in the anthology Harlem Renaissance: The Art of Black America (New York, NY: Studio Museum of Harlem, 1987).

Benny Andrews (1930-2006), the nationally renowned artist and activist who worked to spread the Civil Rights Movement to the art world in the 1960s, created the Foundation in 2002 to support projects designed to bring art enrichment to a diverse audience. "The Foundation will help to level the playing field in the art world," stated Andrews, "it will be a community-based effort that will allow artists and art professionals to help each other."