DYNAMIC AFRICA

Set up in 2010, Dynamic Africa is diverse multi-media curated blog with a Pan-African outlook that seeks to create an expressive platform for African experiences, stories and African cultures.



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Posts tagged "england"

Artist and ‘angry hypocrite’ Yinka Shonibare MBE uses work to criticize world’s wealthiest.

Where Shonibare’s previous works have been historical in nature, the narrative surrounding some of the artist’s newest pieces is embedded in the happenings of today’s world. Pictured above is Shonibare with one of his latest works entitled ‘Cake Man II’, a piece that carries his signature use of Dutch Wax prints (a somewhat faux-African element he’s become fond of due to it’s mixed transcontinental history between Africa, Asia and Europe) tailored and worn as a suit by a headless man. But this man is not simply an ordinary man, the sartorially suited mannequin is a banker, a life-size human-like symbol of the rich who just keep getting richer.

Atop the figure’s back sits a pile of neatly stacked cakes, perhaps a reference to the falsely quoted infamous phrase not uttered by Marie Antoinette, used in this case to represent both wealth and greed. In Shonibare’s own words, the artists says:

"It’s my tribute to bankers. There’s been a lot of talk about bonuses to bankers and the top 1% literally taking all the cake. So this piece, I guess, is about greed. It has more cakes than anyone could ever eat or manage."

But whilst his work socio-political and critical in nature, Shonibare still acknowledges that he is not all that removed from this system, not altogether an outsider looking in:

"The entire art world is underpinned by capitalism, so I guess I’m biting the hand that feeds me. That’s not to say I can’t pass comment but I know I can be accused of being complicit with the system."

This work will be on display at the Royal Academy of Arts in London as part of their “Summer Exhibition" which hosts "new and recent art created by everyone from emerging artists to the biggest names in contemporary art and architecture". It’s the world’s largest open entry exhibition and has been held for nearly 250 years.

MNEK - READY FOR YOUR LOVE (GORGON CITY REFIX)

MORNING SONG: Afrikan Boy - Hit ‘Em Up

Scenes of Lagos and London living, footage of Fela and the Kalakuta queens and a sample of Kuti’s 1965 release ‘Wa dele wa royin’ are all featured in London-based Afrikan Boy’s horn-heavy banger of a track.

As great of a Fela tribute that this video is, it still doesn’t top my favourite Afrikan Boy song ‘Take You There’.

medievalpoc:

William Hoare of Bath

Portrait of Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, called Job ben Solomon

England (1733)

Oil on canvas

There are are some portraits from art history that just stand out, and in my opinion this is one of them. The skill of the artist and the beauty of the subject combine to give us not only a visual treat, but a kind of resonance with what we imagine to be the depicted person’s spirit and personality. And while the museum that this portrait is currently on loan to gives us a brief biography of Diallo, there are some seriously problematic statements in the second half of the portrait’s description.

Ayuba Suleiman Diallo was an educated man from a family of Muslim clerics in West Africa. In 1731 he was taken into slavery and sent to work on a plantation in America. By his own enterprise, and assisted by a series of spectacular strokes of fortune, Diallo arrived in London in 1733. Recognised as a deeply pious and educated man, in England Diallo mixed with high and intellectual society, was introduced at Court and was bought out of slavery by public subscription. Through the publication of his Memoirs in 1734, Diallo had an important and lasting impact on Britain’s understanding of West African culture, black identity and Islam. In the early years of the nineteenth-century, advocates of the abolition of slavery would cite Diallo as a key figure in asserting the moral rights and humanity of black people.

Now, here we have the problematic elements in bold:

Now on a five-year loan to the Gallery, William Hoare’s sensitive portrait of Diallo is the earliest known British oil portrait of a freed slave and the first portrait to honour an African subject as an individual and an equal. Painted at the time when there was a new interest in Islamic culture and faith in Britain, it provides a fascinating insight into the eighteenth-century response to other peoples and religions.

That statement is absolutely absurd, but is often applied to Baroque portraits of Black subjects as “the first of its kind”.

According to the UK government and historical documentation, high-ranking Black guests, musicians, nobles, workers, servants, and other folks have had a tangible presence in the UK since Classical times.

Here you can see in the accounts of James IV of Scotland, money allowed for gifts of clothing for noble or royal guests of the court:  “Bertaine clath to be sarkis for the Moris”, as well as an allotment “for lynyn claith and mailyeis to thir four gownis and tua kirtillis”.

In England’s royal court during the reigns of both Henry VII and Henry VIII, the famous trumpeter John Blanke was one of the more handsomely paid trumpeters for royal events and tournaments. We know this because they still have his paycheck stubs.

He is also rather famously depicted in the 60-foot-long Westminster Tournament Roll, as he was an important fixture of the court.

image

Another interesting note: the British Museum Archive has hundreds of small prints, engravings, sketches and studies of Black people in England from the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Early Modern eras. Racist caricatures don’t begin to show up until after 1800, for the most part.

Despite the way the history of racism and global race relations are presented, history is not a linear progression of “worse to better”. The portrait of Ayuba Suleiman Diallo is far from the first of its kind, but it may be a glaring exception to the generally derogatory depictions of Black people in European art in the late 1700s and 19th-20th centuries.

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(via diasporicroots)

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Sade,
Promise

AFTERNOON TUNE: Sade - The Sweetest Taboo

danceartmusic:

Congratulations to British artist Lynette Yiadom Boakye, Main Prize Winner of the Future Generation Art Prize 2012.

 “The jury has awarded the Main Prize to Lynette Yiadom-Boakye for her extraordinary paintings where darkness and light are articulated together, recognizing the quality of the paintings and the social concerns that emerge from them. Furthermore, the jury awards the prize for her complex practice, which extends far beyond painting. Indeed, she is also active in literature as a writer of short stories and is currently working on a novel. She creates one canvas per day and if not completed by the end of the day, the painting is discarded. Therefore, there is no nocturnal rethinking, no pentimenti possible in her activity. Her works are organized around groups of paintings that generally portray imaginary black characters in abstract landscapes. Her paintings do not emerge from a photographic imaginary but from the memory of figuration in the history of painting, including realism with social consciousness and expressionism. Her works thus do not focus on the unique artwork but provide a viewing experience based on a different temporality, and on the recognition of recurring motifs, figures and moods.”

Africa Channel’s “Muziki Ni” profiles rising Canadian-based Ghanaian singer Kae Sun

Idris Elba stars in a new Mumford & Sons music video that was also written and directed by the actor.

Video: Afrikan Boy ‘Amala Azonto’ ft. Dotstar

Following the dance tutorial, London/Lagos emcees Afrikan Boy and Dotstar drop the official video for their pseudo-culinary tune “Amala Azonto,” in which they assimilated the Ghanian-bred dance/genre.

This is all under of their new Y.A.M. (get it) artist collective.

Watch the video below and look for the Delirious-produced single dropping Nov 19 via Meltdown.

(via okayafrica)

Africa Liberation Day, Handsworth Park (1977) | Vanley Burke, Birmingham

One fact singles Vanley Burke out from most documentary photographers: he’s long been a member of the community he documents.

These 100 images from the last 45 years form a consistently empathic picture of the Handsworth area of Birmingham. Momentous occasions are recorded: visits from Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali; Enoch Powell’s “rivers of blood” speech; 1977’s Africa Liberation Day; and the street riots of the 1980s.

Much like the photographs of Bradfordians taken by Don McCullin, it’s the portraits of everyday life that provide Burke’s most poignant work: the shifting Caribbean dress sense and street style; the family get-togethers; the church choirs; the gatherings of the Nation of Islam; and that sense of fellow feeling.

Congratulations to South Africa’s national cricket team, the Proteas, who beat England by 51 runs to claim the number one spot on the International Cricket Council rankings.

afrobeatsindacity:

D’Banj performing at Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend

(via africanmusicdiary)

Britain to banish Ibori’s, other corrupt leader’s children from its schools

Michael Kiwanuka - I’ll Get Along

Another release from Michael Kiwanuka’s debut album “Home Again”, full of nothing but that classic, golden soulful charm.