Muzi, the 29-year-old South African musician-producer making waves across continents was dubbed “golden boy” when he entered the scene for the lightness and funk of his music. However, Muzi’s journey started long before his appearances on the world stage, in the township in Empangeni, some 140KM north of Durban, where he first started to envision his place in music. Bolstered by the support of his mother, and soaking up the sounds of the time, his roots have consistently played a significant role in his music. This is most obvious in his wide-ranging blend of music influenced by urban and electronica with a host of South African genres like Maskandi, Kwaito, Iscathamiya and Bubblegum Pop of the 80s and 90s. http://griotmag.com/en/mama-ep-muzi/ Image: © clout killed the kids
My review of Larry W. Cook appears in the October Issue of Frieze Magazine (#214). It is also available under the title "Larry W. Cook Photographs the Vulnerability of Black Fatherhood": https://www.frieze.com/article/larry-w-cook-photographs-vulnerability-black-fatherhood Image: Promotional still from Carmen Jones (1954) starring Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge as seen on John Akomfrah's © work "Our Skin is a Monument" (2020) on the cover of Frieze Magazine #214.
At the beginning of the present pandemic, there seemed to be a curious, newfound appreciation for art. Social media was awash with elegies at the realization that art fairs would be cancelled, galleries closed, and highly anticipated exhibitions postponed indefinitely. Various non-artist stakeholders in the art world declared that art was the only thing that we had in the face of unprecedented adversity. https://www.contemporaryand.com/magazines/when-artists-speak/ Image: The Metropolitan Museum of Art © The Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC.
Initially installed on Kassel's main Square, the work earned Olu Oguibe the prestigious 2017 Arnold Bode Prize, but was also met with indignation for what some right-wing politicians read as a provocation in the midst of the raging debate on Germany’s asylum policy. The 16.3-metre-tall concrete obelisk bears the inscription: ‘I was a stranger and you took me in’ – a verse from the New Testament’s Gospel of Matthew – in gold letters in German, English, Arabic and Turkish. While Monument remains Oguibe’s best-known piece, his current solo exhibition at Vienna’s Galerie Kandlhofer demonstrates his sustained engagement with forms of memorialization. https://www.frieze.com/article/olu-oguibe-creates-monuments-precarity-survival Image: Olu Oguibe, Many Thousand Gone (detail), 2000, ink on acid-free watercolour paper. Courtesy: the artist and Galerie Kandlhofer, Vienna; Photograph by ©Manuel Carreon-Lopez / kunst-dokumentation.com
Born in Senegal, educated in Japan and currently based in Germany, Kuwaiti visual artist Monira al Qadiri came of age during the rapid transformation of Kuwait from one of the world’s oldest civilizations to a giant of the oil industry. From the beginning of her career, she has paid attention to the turmoil caused by prosperity, religion, and rapid societal transformation. Her performance, sculpture and video work also explores unconventional gender identities, petro-cultures and speculative futures. ENG http://griotmag.com/en/monira-al-qadiri-on-the-end-of-oil-and-documenting-petro-culture-for-a-post-oil-world/ GER https://www.monopol-magazin.de/kuenstlerin-monira-al-qadiri Image: "Diver" (2018) © Monira Al Kadiri
Black Is King is a timely affirmation for the global African diaspora, but it can’t be accepted as a universal representation of global Blackness. Its biggest problem is not visible within its frames, but has an intangible, hovering presence. Beyoncé’s promise to ‘present elements of Black history and African tradition, with a modern twist and a universal message’ is compromised by the project’s very foundation: The Lion King ontology, which is the ongoing belief that Disney’s fictional imaginary is an adequate basis to appraise the varieties of contemporary global Blackness. https://www.frieze.com/article/black-king-beyonce-doesnt-share-crown Image: ©Travis Matthews/Disney/Parkwood Ent.
In a cosy yet sparsely furnished living room, a young girl in pink, Disney-themed pyjamas sits on a low folding chair cradling a doll and gazing off to one side. From behind, her father wraps his arms around her in a similarly protective manner. Next to him on the sofa, a comb and a tub of hair lotion suggest that they have been interrupted during the girl’s hair-care routine. Fatherhood 3 (2018) is one of a series of photographs by the Washington-based artist Larry W. Cook, who brilliantly uses paternity to problematize notions of Black masculinity and carcerality in the American imaginary. https://frieze.com/article/larry-w-cook-photographs-vulnerability-black-fatherhood Image: Larry W. Cook, Fatherhood 3 (detail) 2018, archival inkjet print, 102 × 76 cm. Courtesy: © the artist and Weiss Berlin
Otobong Nkanga's new exhibition at Gropius Bau investigates the ecological, economic and political issues negotiated through landscapes. On entering 'There’s no such a thing as Solid Ground', visitors are invited to walk on pebbles, interspersed with boulders here and there. After months in which touching anything, including one’s own face, seemed reckless, the gallery attendant’s advice to “sit awhile if you like…the boulders have been sanitised” is indicative of a new gallery etiquette as much as it is a temporary reprieve from the collective restraint in public spaces lately. I join my fellow masked visitors and sit on an unoccupied boulder in the corner of the room. https://www.sleek-mag.com/article/otobong-nkanga-gropius-bau-breathing-landscape-repair/ Image: ©Laura Fiorio (the artist stands in front of 'Double Plot' 2018)
Three figures are in hot pursuit of a Black man. A thrown brick, still suspended mid-air, will land on his head at any moment. One member of the group grabs the man’s hand; another’s arm is raised angrily. Nearby, a traffic light switches to green, as if to sanction the imminent lynching. Titled with a variation of the German n-word, George Herold’s painting revived a debate on the authority of art museums to judge on issues of racism when it was recently exhibited at Frankfurt’s Städel Museum. https://frieze.com/article/racist-painting-reveals-blind-spots-german-art-institutions Image ©Städel Museum
With the inversion of West African Studio portraiture, Silvia Rosi’s exploration of heritage is both inward and outward. It is inward because the subjects she embodies in her photography are members of her own family. But It is also outward because the technique she applies to capture herself is quite common in the family albums of Rosi’s generation. Now known as West African Studio portraiture, it is an aesthetic that is celebrated in the work of trailblazers such as Mali’s Malick Sidibe and Ghana’s Felica Abban, and more recently in contemporary work by Rosi, who is reinterpreting the classic West African studio portrait by stripping it down to convey the lived realities of her family. https://griotmag.com/en/people-photography-silvia-rosi-studio-portrait/ Image: self-portrait as my father, 2020 ©Silvia Rosi
Based on her instantly recognizable work, Lawson belongs to a short list of photographers who in their commitment to the Black image both as a document and as an archive, have created a distinctive signature style. Born 1979 in Rochester (NY), Lawson hails from a family for whom photography has long served as a craft, a source of livelihood or, intermittently, both. Her father, the family photographer, worked for Xerox and her mother for Kodak in Rochester, New York, where Lawson grew up. Her grandmother cleaned the home of George Eastman, who invented and mainstreamed the use of roll film. http://griotmag.com/en/centropy-deana-lawson-exhibition/ Image: Chief, 2019 ©Deana Lawson & Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
Even though many societies globally, including Germany, are conscious of widespread racism, it will take more than that to bring an end to the violence and racial profiling that permeate social structures and policing, writes Eric Otieno https://www.sleek-mag.com/article/structural-racism-awareness-undo-george-floyd-black-lives-matter/ Image: ©Ibrahim X. Kendi
In the opening scene of Sondela Forever, it is hard to catch the walking man in the wide frame. Once-green grass, now the colour of hay although it is still growing, stretches out as far as the eye can see. Above it, the expansive cloudy sky, in its blueish-grey hues, adds an air that is both dramatic and sullen to the frame. The man approaches slowly. Suddenly, we can see his shoulders from the back thanks to a swift cut and a tighter frame that conveys the calm before the storm of him running towards us in apparent resolve. But even then, he seems buoyant. [...] http://griotmag.com/en/sondela-forever-muzi-new/ Images: ©Muzi ©Camangu Studio
As an independent print magazine enthusiast, it is often baffling what folks will make mags about. There are indie mags about literally everything, including Rugby, Plantain, Eastern European encounters, Global Warming, Activism, Conflict, Typography, Cats—it’s actually called Cat People y’all—and loads of other stuff you didn’t even know existed, but which have steadfast communities around them. However, until the Lagos-based Ìrìn Journal came along, nobody appears to have had the foresight to create an independent print magazine dedicated to African cities, travel, and culture. http://griotmag.com/en/irin-journal-lagos-issue-africa-culture/ Photo by Baingor Joiner, Prototype’, National Theater via facebook/Ìrìn
If all we had was the written word, the ephemeral mysticism of rituals would be completely lost on us. We would run out adjectives faster than the performers of a ritual — in their temporal ecstasy — ran out of breath. Eventually, the performers regain their breath, leaving the witnesses — us — lost for words, grappling to describe an event that was never meant to be contended with but to be experienced: to be felt, seen, heard, touched? It is this dearth of language that confronts all who attempt to describe any ritual, including but not limited to the Southern Italian ritual of Tarantism. http://griotmag.com/en/tarantism-odyssey-of-an-italian-ritual-flee-project/ Image: © Chiara Samugheo
“One of Ivory Coast’s finest rising rappers is 22 years of age, has a fresh new EP out and didn’t exactly dream of becoming a rapper growing up. In fact, her sights were set entirely elsewhere: "Andy S’ first love was basketball, and she was actually planning to go pro, but her mother would have none of it “I was even invited to try out for the national team, but my mom didn’t want me to play basketball and made me quit. Her mother’s decision had rather unintended consequences. With plenty of time in her hands that she had previously filled with basketball training sessions, she formed a habit of listening to rap music.” http://griotmag.com/en/andy-s-le-rap-n-as-pas-de-sex/ Image: ©Tora San Traoré
‘Good things take time’ is in many ways a (re)tired cliché, time being the one thing that nobody seems to have—or make—these days. This is why a new tape from Johannesburg-based duo B_U (Be You) is set to be a solid reminder that sometimes, it does take time to create something good, especially in a music industry that is hopelessly addicted to novelty and speed. South African performance artist and vocalist KoekSista (Ulungile Magubane) and Ghanaian-Liberian producer and DJ Blaqkongo (Brendan Witherspoon) have given their latest project B_U: Session 1 the best of their talents, but importantly, they have given it their time. A decade on, it feels especially delightful to listen to the result. http://griotmag.com/en/b-u-session-1-pan-african-duo-debut-decade-making/ Image © Koeksista/Blaqkongo
Die Austellungen des Jahres 2019. Die Monopol-Redaktion hat gemeinsam mit Kritikerinnen und Kritikern des Magazin die Ausstellungshighlights 2019 gewählt. Die Künstlerinnen Henrike Naumann und Hannah Ryggen erhalten die meisten Nennungen. https://www.monopol-magazin.de/die-ausstellungen-des-jahres-2019. Image: Ausstellungsansicht von Jessica Kazriks “Two Barells Kissing Until Their Water Meets” in der Ausstellung “The long term you cannot afford, on the distribution of the Toxic”, Savvy Contemporary Berlin. Bild © Hannes Wiedemann
“The word ‘hospitality’ sounds a bit old-fashioned. In a globalised world where every (Easy)jetsetter with the right passport, outfit and vocabulary can be a ‘local’ anywhere, the role of hospitality—outside of the hospitality industry itself—has waned. These days one is tolerant or cosmopolitan, rarely hospitable. So it is quite interesting that award-winning writer Teju Cole and equally acclaimed photographer Fazal Sheikh decided to take on this somewhat dated virtue in their latest book, Human Archipelago.” http://griotmag.com/en/human-archipelago-teju-cole-fazal-sheikh-explore-notions-hospitality-latest-photo-book/ Image © Human Archipelago by Fazal Sheikh and Teju Cole/Steidl
“Having returned for its second edition last week, it is one of the latest beneficiaries of the shift towards an economy of event-based art experiences. The second edition of Nigeria’s first and only biennial has defied both discursive (the biennial is dying/dead) and material odds to get here, beautifully parsed by its poetic title: How to Build a lagoon With Just a Bottle of Wine?, taken from the poem “A Song for Lagos” by Akeem Lasisi.” https://www.sleek-mag.com/article/why-lagos-biennial-is-one-to-watch/ Image © Eman Ali