Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Jayne Cortez

Jayne Cortez dies at 78
Described by the New York Times as “a poet and performance artist whose work was known for its power its political outrage and above all its sheer, propulsive musicality”, Jayne Cortez has left a chasm in the art world and the hearts of many. She died of heart failure in her Manhattan home in New York.

Born Sallie Jayne Richardson on an army base in Arizona in 1934, her father a soldier and her mother a secretary. She moved to Los Angeles at the age of seven and even at that young age she enjoyed listening to her parents’ jazz and Latin recordings. In high school she studied music, drama and art. After graduating from high school she attended Compton Community College. In her early years of her artistic career she changed her surname to Cortez, her grandmother’s maiden name.

Cortez is the author of a collection of poetry books and has performed her poetry and music on nine recordings. She has presented her work and philosophies around the globe at various universities, museums and festivals.  Her poetry has been translated into 28 languages ‘and her work can be seen in anthologies, journals and magazines such as Daughters of Africa and Poems for the Millennium. In 1991 she co-founded Organization of Women Writers of Africa with Ghanaian writer Ama Ata Aidoo, of which she was president of. She was organizer of "Slave Routes: The Long Memory" (2000) and "Yari Yari Pamberi: Black Women Writers Dissecting Globalization" (2004), both international conferences held at New York University. She has also had her stint on the silver screen appearing in Women in Jazz and Poetry in Motion. She also went behind the lens and directed Yari Yari: Black Women Writers and the Future.

In 1954 she married Ornette Coleman and later divorced him 10 years later. They have one son, jazz drummer Dernado Coleman. In 1975 she married sculptor Mel Edwards. Both she and her husband contributed to Art for Humanity’s, Dialogue Among Civilisation portfolio in 2010. Though she may be gone she shall forever live through her words.

Jayne Cortez
 I’m pulling away from availability of weapons & war
to have a dialogue with
chemicals leaking from apples & bananas while
a seascape sings its great sewage song of tomorrow
So back off
It’s not only space debris, iceberg floes & toxic waste in
squid ink of my insomnia
I’m pulling away from the ideology of class & religion to
wiretap water supplies & have a dialogue concerning
sanitation & human dignity
& as colonies disappear to reappear like blank pieces of paper
I scrub my tongue
I rinse my spirit
I dust off my poetic imagination to kiss the sunshine
& send a message to the earth in
the transformative foam of six thousand languages

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Gemini of Colours
By Nicole Bernadette Hodnett

She describes herself as a “Gemini” through and through. Sabelo Zama Guliwe was born in Ladysmith on June 3rd 1987.Being recently accepted into the Bachelor of Technology for Fine Art, she talks about her experiences as an art intern at an international human rights organisation in Durban and her recent exhibition that took place at the Durban University of Technology ,City Campus.

Interview with Sabelo Zama Guliwe-3rd Year Fine Art Student

1 Tell me of your activities in the morning before your exhibition?
I had excitement that exceeded boundaries that morning. All my thoughts were on perfecting my 
appearance before the big hour approached.

2 Describe your art?
I was dealing with geometric shapes and line, by use of simplicity in colour and concept.

3 Where do you see yourself in a few years?
I see myself as a gallery collector of art

4 Who inspired you to do art?

My mother inspired me to do fine art as my first choice was fashion and she was worried I wouldn't get a job.

5 What’s your favourite colour?
My favourite colours are blue as we are surrounded by “Blue skies” and the colour black as it symbolises power.

6 Describe you artistic journey?
My inspiration comes from home and I am fascinated by the way houses are made, cities are just tall buildings. Everything 

Durban City-Scape
Artist Statement
The aim of this artwork is to create an installation of  tiles that are simple in line, shape and colour. My work is inspired by Piet Mondrian, he contributed to the De Stijl art movement during the early 1900s. His work consisted of geometric lines (vertical and horizontal) and primary colours, which are colours that created others. The element of line is brought into my work in order to create a continuous mark, as if one is walking in the city and being surrounded by buildings. These lines will continue to my final exhibition, where line will create a feeling of oneness or one piece made from individual pieces.

Into the Mind of An Artist
 By Nicole Hodnett

Artist –Uche Uzorka

1 As a Dialogue Amongst Civilisations artist, what was your inspiration for you latest piece of artwork?

My influences have come from  the litter of posters in urban centres.
 In the present body of work, I have begun to trace  not only the origin, but also the karmic effects of stains on defaced surfaces in urban spaces. By drawing a line between the cause and the effect, i hope to establish the creator power in all who live in a defined, organized and governed urban space .Apparently we are all involved to different dimensions in shaping or influencing the social scape .I believe this  influences can occur to a high degree in clustered urban centres like Lagos and Abuja, in Nigeria for example. This has been my focus for this exhibition.

In general, what inspires you as a person??
  There is a massive amount of human energy on our planet today. For me, it is difficult to ignore the creative power of the individual human .I like to explore how this potent  creativity is utilized especially in situations of human relativity, interactions and tolerance.

3 What does Art For Humanity mean to you??
 A.F.H  represents for me, a clear choice and a clear opinion. I think that sometimes we make unconscious choices, in doing this, regardless of the methods of choosing, a person must realize that there will be consequences any how. It is important to consider yourself as a contributor in every situation.

4 What are you views on Freedom of Expression worldwide??
 philosophy and indeed connote ignorance , especially in a world of multiple opinions, but I do not believe that any one person has the  sole right or the freedom to think, and transfer those thoughts into action, neither does any one have the right to be ignorant enough to become  freely influenced.
 Without the benefit of self discipline  and mastery, without consideration for the position of the  second or third person, any thought coming from a single individual, must be constrained before action .
It is difficult to think a perfect thought and also to execute an action perfectly especially in our world ,where one reckless word, letter or symbol  can lead to a  multiple of reckless actions

5What is you advice to artists who wish to enter the industry of Art
Having an opinion as an artist is important, because it gives you  a perspective from which other people can approach you for a conversation. Art can be a tool for protest, whether it is reactive or proactive. Art can be like prophecy, it even  acts as a catalyst sometimes by inadvertently setting things into motion .I think that amongst these frames , you could see that many artists have found their work falling into one or more.
  I am not sure if one artist can have a singular opinion through out the entire span of their career. but i believe it is important to be consistent in your thought process, so that if when your stories change, it can still be seen to come from the same person

 Poem by Anietie Isong 
  A Simple Life
“Noises on my wall “Digital Print  650mmx440mm

I am a woman who just wants to live a simple life.
I am a simple woman who just wants to live a simple life.
He was conceived in May.
Perhaps his father was the
junjaweed who sliced my left ear.
Or the peacekeeping  soldier whose teeth were the colour of rotten pear.
Maybe the boy’s father was even the frail aid worker
who cried: “Forgive me, it’s this war. Pray, let it be over!”
He was born in January.
I dug his grave, and lowered him in tenderly.
The baby cried. I cried:
“Forgive me, dear. It’s the bloody war. Oh, Lord I’ve tried!”
His elegy is engraved on my heart:
‘Here lies a child of many fathers, a child of Darfur, a child of hurt.’
Let the rains fall, oh Lord, let it fall.
Let the flood wash away the sins, the blood.
Here I am at your doorstep, in search of refuge.
An immigrant, not a piece of refuse.
Please, let me come in.  Let me stay.
It will be well with you household, I pray

Jan Jordaan represents AFH at the Art and Social Justice Conference in Spain 2012
Nomfundo Mgabadeli
Guernica Picasso

Art for Humanity director Jan Jordaan attended the 3rd annual Art and Social Justice Conference which took place in Spain this year. The conference fell over a 3 day period in early October at the Gernika Peace Museum in Gernika-Lumo.  It was organised by the Gernika Peace Museum, Gernika Gogoratuz Peace Research Centre and the Culture House of Gernika.  In collaboration with Art for Humanity, Durban University of Technology and University of Nicosia where the previous conferences were hosted in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

The theme for this year’s conference was Arts, Crisis and Social Transformation, the choice of Gernika as a host was symbolic as this year signals the 75th anniversary of the bombing of “Guernica” as well as the “creation of Picasso’s masterpiece” of the same name.  According to the Gernika Gogoratuz Peace Research Centre, the theme was brought about by the current crisis in western societies, where largely a result of the greed of the banking system and different forms of political corruption and mismanagement.  These issues are not only central to Human Rights as contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but recurring themes central to the arts in general.

“The conference was attended by 30 delegates from Europe, USA, Africa and Eastern Europe. The conference as the previous conference underscores the importance of the art in promoting social transformation and the arts being a primary form of cultural expression proves through the many examples presented at the conference to be an effective medium in promoting social transformation.” Jan Jordaan said.

The delegates engaged in presentations of specific papers, workshops by arts practitioner, circle discussions at the end of each day and performances and displays of artistic work. Although there was no time for sightseeing as their day would run up to 9pm, delegates got a chance between shuttle drives from Gernika and Bilbao to see the beautiful landscape. 

“I didn’t get to see a lot of Spain but the conference one does get to network; it was brilliant in terms of meeting cultural activists, academics and artists sharing a common interest and common concern.” Jan continued to say.

Although the initiatives concerning art and social justice are “uncoordinated and often not recognised by governments across the globe, it has proved to be a sustainable and effective medium of social activism”, which was a clear outcome at the conference. Artists have and always will continue to “play a key role in transforming people, societies, and cultures simply by reflecting on what is going on around them”.