Friday, 24 June 2011

African Authenticity by Yinka Shonibare MBE

Gift from Kwame Bakoji-Hume

This is a video sent to me today by Kwame Bakoji-Hume on Facebook and I wanted to share this with you all. There is no need to put down you brother as the world do that for you. There are times when it becomes increasingly difficult to continue so I appreciate this thought and music to soothe my frustrated brow - Cheers Kwame, we are together!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Global Africa: Kehinde Wiley at the Smithsonian

Zero Point in Cape Verde

Zero Point Art Gallery


Contact Details

Mindelo/Ilha S. Vicente, CABO VERDE

Director: Alex da Silva

Tel: 00238 2 312525

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The African Well

Coming soon...but click on the picture to see more.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Miguel Petchovsky | Beautification en cours

Here is some new Performance work by the video artist, Miguel Petchovsky

Friday, 17 June 2011

Prince Twins Seven-Seven | 1944 to 2011

So how shall we remember him? Will we make for him a statue or construct a building in his honour? One of the greatest artists from Africa has died.

For me, it is terribly sad. To leave this earth and not to be replaced. To exit; and with your exit leave a void. A space too big to fill. Somehow Twins made up the old skool; the bad boy made good. The school of hard knocks and with his parting he has taken with him the spirit of the age. Nigeria has dramatically changed in the past 50 years almost changing beyond recognition but with Twins Seven-Seven's departure so the country has less of an identity and maybe in jeopardy of missing a heartbeat. What sadness to hear that the Great Twins Seven-Seven is dead. It is an end of era. The first of the Contemporaries has died. He was the beginning; he was the middle and the end. Twins works included: painting, traditional Yoruba singing, acting, writing and poetry.

Reports today from the Nigerian Tribune confirm the death of Nigeria's Greatest Artist, Prince Twins 77.

"Twins Seven Seven died on Thursday at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, where he had been receiving treatment for stroke related illness." 

Life for a Contemporary African Artist on the Continent has improved very little since he began in the sixties and although, Bisi Silva is doing her best in Lagos, genuine change is far from obvious. The Art House Auctioneers are busy pushing the work forward with the likes of Ayo Adyinka and others in London, like Elisabeth and Chili at the October Gallery. Olivier Sultan's Gallery, Les Artistes Dernier in Paris and Nuno Lobo, Influx Gallery in Lisbon. Not forgetting the Kenyan supporters of Maggie Otieno, Andrew Njoroge and Ed Cross, Jessie Scott and Robert Devereux bringing up the rear..............but for now Nigeria must be mourning as the sad news rushes into Lagos, Ibadan and elsewhere. Prince Twins Seven-Seven has died, at the tender age of 67. As well as his artistic endeavours, Twins was one of Nigeria's most notorious polygamists, with a harem of 17 wives. News of his passing is filtering through from Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the World Wide Web. One of the most successful artists of his generation, his artworks embody the magic of Africa. They almost shape the Nigerian Nation. He showed, with such skill, the lives lived in West Africa and drew on stories from his Yoruba cultural background. He influenced all the African artists, of that I am quite sure and was unquestionably the best known artist outside the Continent. He lived for many years in the United States and it was here where his works first became  popular and Internationally respected.  His no nonsense approach to being Nigerian was a breath of fresh air; back in the days when the Osogbo workshop was fully operational; as far back as the 1960's, is when his career really started. Unsurprisingly, he managed to convince Georgina Beier and  her  German husband, Ulli that he was the artist of the future but it wasn't until his works were seen in London, in the 1980's and 90's, at the October Gallery, just off Holborn, did the world begin to wake up to Contemporary Africans and their art. Elisabeth and Chili were the women behind the scenes at the Gallery and their success with artists such as Twins, Chief Jimoh Buraimoh and El Anatsui and others can be seen right across the world.

Seeing Twins works at the October Gallery, back in the 1990's, were some of the earliest reasons for my falling in love with African Art. His imaginative technique of layers of plywood and his playful clawed characters, sent myself and many other contemporary Artlovers, rushing to the bank...His works were some of the very first Internationally recognized Contemporary African Art. The British Museum have shown his works and hopefully they will again.

Born in 1944 and christened Taiwo Olaniyi Oyewale-Toyeje Oyelade, he renamed himself Twins Seven-Seven because he was the lone survivor of seven sets of twins. His career began in the 60s in Osogbo after he participated in a workshop organised by Georgina Beier, wife of the late German linguist, Ulli Beier. The artist, a wild young man, had earlier gate-crashed a literary event organised by the Beiers in Osogbo in 1964. Twins managed to convince them to participate in the 10 year workshop. Prior to that, he had previously been a street dancer for a medicine seller but he will be best remembered as a world renowned painter. An artist who created a unique body of imaginative mythical African works and in terms of Contemporary African Art he was a pioneer and an artist of his time. He was certainly one of the biggest hitters in the African Art World and his works speak volumes for Africa and today. They continue to fascinate and delight both art lovers and academics alike. Thankfully, at the beginning of the 21st Century, he was  awarded and named a UNESCO Artist for Peace on May 25, 2005. This was in recognition for his contribution to the promotion and dialogue of Contemporary African Art and the enabling of a fuller understanding of Yoruba culture among peoples, particularly in Africa and the African Diaspora. I understand from different sources that he also held a traditional chieftaincy title in Ibadan and crowned himself Prince. His artistic works have been widely exhibited internationally and are included in some of the best Contemporary African Art Collections on earth.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


I've started something really interesting and want to see how it develops.

Paul Hardcastle's New BLOG...

Paul is one of the strongest voices in the world 
of art. His blog promised to be a rich source of 
inspiration and creative ideas. His knowledge of
different art forms is wonderfully extensive and 
thankfully, he has the generosity of spirit to share 
his knowledge with all of us.

Doodles for a project in abstract figurative sculptural
form using ceramics, glass and mosaic to produce a
visually stunning array of shape, texture and colour.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Tribal Sunsets by Joe Pollitt

Recently, I have been working on a series of images combining tribal art mixed within a contemporary setting. This idea was encouraged by an artist friend of mine, Joel Nankin. Here are a series of 6 images entitled: 
"Tribal Sunsets" 

If interested in purchasing these works please contact the site:

The works are Metallic Kodak prints on metallic paper; mounted onto aluminium with an aluminum sub frame. 

This is a series of 6 works and limited to 5 Editions. They come signed and numbered with a letter of authenticity.

Size: Image 1 to 3 - 76cm x 76cm
Image 4 to 6 - 70cm x 100cm

Single Print without mount: £575
Series of 6 prints without mount: £2,500

or fully mounted with sub-frames:

Single Print with mount: £1,875
Series of 6 prints with mount: £9,000


Saturday, 11 June 2011

Henry Lumu | Uganda

Artist: Henry Lutalo Lumu
Country: Uganda
Dates: 1939-1989

Henry Lutalo Lumu is credited by many of Uganda's artists as being one of the country's brightest and most widely influential talents of modern Ugandan art from as early as the 1950s until his death in 1989. Studying under Margaret Trowell at Makerere University, Lumu became adept at drawing at an early age. While also beginning to work with semi-abstract forms, still felt his art was strongly anchored within the precise drawing of form. Choosing to gradually modify the shapes, tones, and style of his works to incorporate less natural appearances, he nevertheless incorporated recognizable figures and objects executed in an innovative semi-abstract style.

However he still felt that students who were taught abstract techniques before becoming adept at drawing were cheated from becoming complete artists. In 1965, he expressed his disappointment with what he saw was an over-emphasis on abstraction at the expense of skilled drawing as a foundation for artistic expression:
"We are not yet ready for abstract art. Our audience wants some recognizable link with the work of art on view. The purely abstract painting, whose emphasis is on isolated aesthetic values, will not fit into any context that is familiar. Abstraction comes naturally only after a society or individual has thoroughly explored the objective world. If abstraction is encouraged in our schools, it will be a grave injustice to the eventual development of our art. The younger generations should be taught first to draw, to measure their universe carefully. After that intimate contact has been established, then they can run off into the wild with their imaginations."

While this debate carried on, art of this period benefited from a rich cross-fertilization of influences and creative talents culminating in several artists being recognized as stylistic leaders in the emerging modernism and mixed abstract styles which defined this era.

Further stimulating this competitive environment, Uganda’s premier petroleum corporations Esso and Caltex, held widely publicized art competitions rewarding leading artists by having their work grace yearly calendars published and distributed widely throughout the region.
Uganda’s Art on Television
Beginning in 1968, Lumu held regularly televised art classes on Uganda National Television. This broad exposure helped to stimulate growth of a dynamic, extended art community which was based around but expanded well beyond the Makerere campus. Fellow artist David Wasswa Katongole was hired under Lumu as assistant artistic director.

In addition to gaining wider exposure for art within Uganda, Lumu’s weekly broadcasts had the result of stimulating a new wave of aspiring artists to create new visual universes by mixing imagination and input from the world around them. Artist James Kitamirike recalls:
"Henry created these incredible scenes right before my eyes -- I couldn’t believe what I was seeing."
"I remember one show where he painted goats so real it seemed you could feel them breathe on you. I knew at that moment that I wanted to be an artist who could paint like that."

While Lumu's short life ended in 1989, his creative spirit and artistic legacy are immortalized in the works he created and through the generations of Ugandan artists which count him among their primary influences in their art and careers.

Bili Bidjocka | Cameroon

Bili Bidjocka
b.1962 - Present
Photo: Bili Bidjocka, Pascale Marthine Tayou and Pierre Granoux are ready to put an imaginery graffity at the New Berlin Wall

BILI BIDJOCKA was born in Douala, Cameroon in 1962, and has lived in Paris since the age of 12. He is a painter and installation artist who has held several one-person shows in Europe and America. He has contributed to several group shows, including Otros Pais, which traveled through Europe in 1995. He is widely traveled and exhibited, making his work on the road, turning the debris of urban living and its excesses into art. He creates metaphors for loss, absence, ravishment, and renewal through his installation pieces. The work deals with issues of nationality, indeterminacy, and identity. He will be exhibiting in the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City with Los Carpinteros in the Summer of 1998. Additional information on the artist can be found on the World Wide Web [6].

Explicit Lyrics, one of two Bidjocka installations in Cross/ing, was created during a stay in New York in 1995. Objects and ideas were collected from friends and on the streets to make a tribute to the hypocritical veneer over our indebtedness to the personal services industry, while on the other hand, investigating the underscoring insidiousness of the language of the industry. [Reference 7] The work consists of twelve boxes the meaning of which has been greatly speculated, each individually lit by a small bulb at the bottom, and hung on the wall in a row below them, on the floor, are twelve brown bags each containing a candle. Each box contains words and phrases of a sexual nature. Since Bidjocka knew very little English when he first came to New York, the work suggests that when first coming to a foreign country, the traveler will hear and use slang, obscene phrases without knowing their true meaning and proper usage. In this situation, the words and phrases are seemingly innocent yet intriguing, rhythmical and perhaps even lyrical as demonstrated by the repetition of the word `fuck` in one of the boxes. For the foreigner, there is a fascination and seduction in the meanings and their interplay. He was able to locate lyricism in a language which, devoid of meaning and social associations as it was for him, became text as curio. And even as meaning was returned to it through translation, the inevitably cynical nature of the text and its source industry froze it in the frame of the exotic. It became fetish. Such keen, almost tongue-in-cheek fascination with text and the allures and failures of language comes as no surprise to us when we position it within the tradition of French semiotic preoccupation the appeal of language for a man coming from a culture that savors language and the pleasures of the text. Nor would it fail to make sense when we consider Bidjocka`s other heritage, in Africa, where language holds the same pleasurable appeal as it does in France. [8] He truly crosses over cultures.

Explicit Lyrics generated as many alternative interpretations as it had viewers. Examples include:
• It is a reflection of the obsession with sex that exists to a greater or lesser degree in every society. The word love is used, but seems to be intertwined and confused with sex.
• It seems to suggest the notion of a religious piece - shrine-like with epitaph phrases.
• The candles signify lovemaking and the artificial light signifies meaningless sex a waste of energy.
• The candles are lighting the way to Christ, symbolized by the number twelve for the twelve disciples.
• The brown bags represent those used by street persons who over-indulge in alcohol within the red light districts.

Explicit Lyrics also generated negative responses from the community. The exhibition curator received phone calls from people who questioned the relevance of obscene words in an art exhibition. Ultimately, a warning sign was placed at the entrance to the exhibition!

Bidjocka’s mixed media installation, Untitled Witches’ Ball, 1992, deals with absence and evacuation, as well as with the resilient occupation of spaces that is characteristic of the human spirit. Reference 9. Indeed, a room full of empty black dance gowns, moving in a circle around a giant egg to the strains of a tango, conjures up the spirits. We are in the midst of a kind of fertility dance, as they help in the hatching of ancestral powers Reference 2. Pairs of gowns and jackets, seeming to represent couples, are hung on the outside of the circle. The centered egg suggests new life or rebirth. There is a representational dichotomy of life and death, new and old, unfinished and finished. Bidjocka has created a ritualistic and ceremonial environment. The garments are the lingering ghosts that stay on earth after one’s physical existence is through. The moving entities around the egg are the living beings. As the elements extend outward, they grow older in phases. The motionless spirits placed in the outer region are reflective of how the dead remain on earth waiting for their transfer into another state or realm. We are reminded of the ghost houses of Laurenco Marques, or Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s deserted cities where the spirits of the dead linger, laying continuous claim to moment and territory, reminding us that there are no terra nullis, no spaces uninhabited by the residues of our passing. [Reference 10]


6. World Wide Web:
7. World Wide Web:
8. Olu Oguibe, op cit
9. Olu Oguibe, op cit
10. Olu Oguibe, op cit

Candice Breitz | South Africa

Candice Britz | South Africa

Candice Breitz
South Africa/USA
b.1972 - Present
N.B. Source:

Modus operandi:

Exploding the terrain of representation, Candice Breitz employs a variety of darkly humorous and often disturbing tactics to strike out at stereotypes and visual conventions as presented and accepted in the media and popular culture. Working from such diverse sources as National Geographic, Penthouse and the National Inquirer, Breitz appropriates photographs and visual fragments and recontextualises these in bold, sometimes tasteless-seeming images, which, while jarring and discomforting for the viewer, radically challenge conventional wisdom and question currently accepted assumptions.

Artist`s statement:

I am interested in deploying the art work as a catalyst, one which momentarily freeze-frames problematic ways of making meaning, and renders them strange. My interest lies not in censoring the desires inspired by the commodity be that commodity a hipper-than-thou consumer trademark or a cheaply printed centrefold, but in recasting them so as to expose their logic, and, in certain cases, to push their boundaries.


This month, Breitz will be one of three South African artists represented on the São Paulo Biennale see News, on which she will exhibit six photographs from the `Rainbow Series`, her most controversial work to date.

Most recently:

In April 1998, Breitz exhibited her `Ghost Series` 1994-96 at the Chicago Project Room. Critic Brian K Axel wrote: Breitz uses white-out to reconstruct the spectacle of racially marked gendered bodies on display in the ethnographic postcard, which would ordinarily circulate in a predominantly white tourist market. Covering up signs of race and gender, but not quite exactly, the `Ghost Series` foregrounds and acknowledges the violence of whiting-out as a process at social and political levels. The `Ghost Series` projects a violently non-totalised body, disrupting any possibility for the simple recognition and identification which the aesthetics of national belonging requires.

Before that:

In September/October 1997, Breitz wallpapered two different spaces with her grids of images from the `Rorschach Series` 1997 - the Artists` Space in New York, and, as part of the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale, the South African National Gallery in Cape Town. With this series, Breitz comments wryly on the tendency of the viewer to assume that a photograph simply communicates a predetermined meaning. She is more than attentive to the fact that what the shrink hopes to elicit - at least in the popular imagination - when he places the little black Rorschach silhouettes before his patient, is the projective transference of sexual fantasies, desires and obsessions ... While the pornographic source-images remain fragmented here, they are overlaid with an urge towards far less specific and recognisable patterns of association. We are presented with symmetrical corpse-like lumps, fleshy bloats, mutant post-human remains, which seem to allude more to science-fiction and genetic engineering clonings gone astray than to the pornography from which they are gleaned. In short, it seems that here the subject has vacated its premises entirely, leaving those premises perversely and frighteningly available to the projections of the viewer Octavio Zaya.

For her `My Twin Series` 1997, Breitz ordered a twin of herself from a company which works from photographs to supply young girls with dolls in their own image, and then, dressed to match, Breitz took her doll for a performative walk through Manhattan. The strangeness of the pair drew few glances from New Yorkers - a comment, perhaps, on what Breitz has called the Lolita-tisation of the world. The work probes the extent to which identity is increasingly mediated through commodity consumption. At the same time, it reads as a scathing critique of the infantilisation of women, conjuring up the flip-side of the American pastime of entering five-year-old girls into beauty contests, where Lolita-like behavior is encouraged above all else. When the `My Twin Series` was shown in Munich, the photographs were installed along with the doll sitting vigilantly in the corner, the brochure, and the dress and ribbon that were worn for the urban performance which is documented by the work.

In a neat twist on usual art market/gallerist/artist relationships, in which the gallery hounds the artist to complete work for an exhibition deadline, in order to sell it on the market, Breitz agreed to have a show in New York`s Silverstein Gallery in November 1997 on one condition. The director of the gallery, Daniel Silverstein, would have to make all the paintings for the show. The installation was titled `Painting by Numbers`. A few months before the show, Breitz presented Silverstein with some brushes, acrylic paints, and colour swatches, along with blank canvases onto which she had traced linear templates of famous brandname logos such as McDonald`s, FedEx and Coke. In the months to come, Breitz`s involvement was reduced to prodding her dealer on to meet the deadline set by the opening of the exhibition.

In terms of both production and content, `Painting by Numbers` violates boundaries between artistic signature and corporate logo, between the production of work by the artist and the distribution of work by the art market. Breitz comments: What `Painting by Numbers` attempts to challenge is artistic practice which still insists that the value of an art work lies in the expressive traces left by the artist. Given that drips and dribbles and brushstrokes can only ever evoke presence by proxy, they ultimately remain little fetishes. Since Silverstein painted the works from beginning to end, the mark of the artist and the mark of trade literally collapse into each other. This is Painting by Numbers!

Next up:

In November 1998, one-person exhibitions of Breitz`s work will open in Stockholm on November 14 Galleri Roger Björkholmen and Cologne on November 6 Johnen and Schöttle. In Stockholm, Breitz will exhibit works from the `Rorschach Series` 1997. A completely new series of work will be exhibited in Cologne for the first time: the `Surrogate Portrait Series` 1998 is a series of portraits of individuals who have agreed to submit themselves to universal surrogacy - that is, to stand in as surrogates for individuals other than themselves. The portraits are part of a larger work which includes a `Surrogate Archive` and a `Surrogate Manifesto`.


Candice Breitz is a South African artist and writer who is currently based in New York. Breitz has had one-person exhibitions in Munich Rüdiger Schöttle Gallery, Los Angeles Craig Krull Gallery, New York Silverstein Gallery, Caracas Sala Mendoza, Chicago Chicago Project Room and Johannesburg Gallery The Space. She has participated in group shows in New York, Graz, Cape Town, Johannesburg, the Canary Islands, Copenhagen and Madrid.

Breitz completed her BAFA at the University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg in 1993, and has subsequently received an MA degree from the University of Chicago 1995 and an MPhil degree from Columbia University 1997. Breitz participated in the studio division of the Whitney Museum`s Independent Studies Program during 1996-97. She is currently writing her doctoral dissertation in the Department of Art History at Columbia University, and is the co-editor with Brenda Atkinson of Grey Areas: Representation, Politics and Identity in Contemporary South African Art forthcoming from Chalkham Hill Press, late 1998.