A Turner Prize Nominee comes to Firstsite: Lubaina Himid’s ‘Warp and Weft’

This Saturday 1st July sees the opening of Lubaina Himid: Warp and Weft, a survey of works by the 2017 Turner Prize nominee at Firstsite gallery in Colchester.

1. Naming the Money, 2004. Collection of National Museum Liverpool International Slavery Museum, and the artist. Photo Spike Island © the artist copy.png
Naming the Money, 2004. Courtesy the artist, Hollybush Gardens and National Museums Liverpool: International Slavery Museum. Photo Spike Island © the artist

A key figure in the Black Arts Movement, Himid first came to prominence in the 1980s when she began organising exhibitions of work by her peers, who were underrepresented in the contemporary art scene. Her diverse approach disrupts preconceptions of the world by introducing historical and contemporary stories of racial bias and acts of violence inflicted upon oppressed communities.

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Brexit themed art show opening in Fitzrovia this Friday – We interview the artist, Tarek Sebastian Al-shammaa

On Friday 19th May Gallery DIFFERENT will present 35-year-old contemporary painter, Tarek Sebastian Al-shammaa’s debut solo show Fall of Europe II (until 22nd May).

We at ArtAttack stumbled upon Tarek’s artwork last year and have been great admirers of his painting practice ever since. His painterly use of space is quite extraordinary, filling the canvas with symbols and figures that tell stories of our world within the greater context of mythology. Each tiny element he chooses to include says something powerful. No iconography is wasted.

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Thanksgiving, 2017, Acrylic and oil on canvas, 200 x 200 cm

The artist’s main practice is history painting as he explores historical and mythological subject matter juxtaposing it with the harsh realities contemporary Western society. Within each of the epic paintings he presents the viewer with poignant psychological insight into his  own  life  and  heritage;  Al-­shammaa  is  half  French  and  half  Iraqi, and  so  has  found  himself  straddling two oft-­opposing cultures throughout his life.

Recurring  themes  across  the  young  artist’s  paintings  include  consumerism,  war, love,  lust  and  political  oppression,  as  well  as  the  opposition  and  even  conflict  of Western  and  non-­Western  culture  and  ideals.  In  the  body  of  work on view,  Al­shammaa  depicts  everything  from  iconic  myths like that of the Tower of Babel to mythical iconography such as Mother Earth, all within a present-day context.

ArtAttack contributor, Franzi Gabbert, had the chance to interview Al-shammaa in regards to his upcoming exhibition as well as his general practice.

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Cultural Connection: ArtAttack Gets the Inside Scoop on the Incredible National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan

‘…At the National College of Arts (NCA), we imagine a world. Not one world, but many. One for each of us, one from each of us, with these we write the autobiographies of our times, in objects, in lines, in mortar, and in perishable clay. In tracing ourselves, we leave traces. These are the traces that make our cities. Turn us inside out like pillowcases with that remembered smell, like shed skins. These are the traces that populate our nights, and from these traces we dare to dream again…’ – Excerpts from NCA teacher-students conversations

The National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan is a global centre for creativity, talent and artistic tradition. Originally founded as The Mayo School of Art in 1875, and rebranded the NCA in 1958, debate and discourse are encouraged amongst the students and faculty here, and this leads to a culture of understanding, individuality and tolerance. The art that comes out of this incredible place is some of the best in the world, the training exceptional and the diversity of the students in background, identity, ideology and language a major strength.

Teachers at the NCA nurture and push their students so that each one rightfully values his and her creative ideas and pushes their artistic practice to reach its height.

All this happens in a country who’s value is often overlooked by the international community; a country who’s goodness is glossed over for its’ bureaucratic corruption and troubled political history. It is easy to forget, if your only connection to Pakistan is watching the news, that this country, one of the cradles of civilisation, actually has an astonishing cultural and artistic history practically unmatched in the world. The NCA connects all their students with this rich history, as we hope the following interviews will connect our readers with it as well.

We are honoured to have had the chance to speak with three outstanding female NCA alumna, Class of 2016, Amani Iqbal, Sameen Agha and Komal Tufail, about their time at this esteemed institution, their artistic practice and their future goals within the art world. Suffice to say, these are powerhouse women and we can’t wait to see what incredible strides they take!

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‘I feel it is essential for art to take on serious issues and to reflect our societies and the issues of the day’ – ArtAttack Interview Graeme Messer

ArtAttack first came upon artist Graeme Messer‘s work at this year’s The Other Art Fair in London. We were drawn in by his witty and unique mirror works made for the fair and knew instantly this was an artist we wanted to watch.

After requesting to interview him for this very blog, Graeme let us know about a special project close to his heart; We R is an upcoming art exhibition exploring the meaning of LGBT identity and celebrating difference. Launching during Pride Week London, the show at Espacio Gallery will include nineteen artists from all different cultures and nationalities contributing to a really authentic representation of the diversity and fullness of the LGBT community.

The goal is to to reach out to the many people who find it difficult to be their true selves and to challenge viewers to believe and remember that being different is an inalienable right.

In the words of exhibition curators, Bettina Stuurman and Joao Trindade, ‘We always talk about equality and whilst it may be important to have have the same rights, we really wanted to show how you must celebrate difference. We are proud of this collection which reminds us to think about the present representation of the LGBT community. We want people to leave the exhibition feeling positive, excited and remembering their own unique nature – and this is what we hope the art has captured.’

We decided to chat with Graeme about We R as a preview for our readers to this sure-to-be powerful and moving exhibition.

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‘Everyone can make art and most of us do when we are little. Somehow that gets knocked out of us as we grow up.’ – ArtAttack Interviews Orson Kartt

Earlier this month, ArtAttack visited The Other Art Fair at Victoria House, London. Strolling through the press preview, we were truly overwhelmed by the vast quantity of excellent work being presented, and made it our mission to speak to every artist who’s art spoke to us in some way.

We decided to interview these artists to give our readers an inside look into the creators behind our favourite works from the fair.

Our first interview in this exciting series, is with artist, Orson Kartt, who shares with us, among other things, personal stories of his difficult entrance into the art world.

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Orson Kartt, ‘I lost the typewriter’

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‘Feeling is Liberty’ – ArtAttack meets The Zhou Brothers

ArtAttack had the honour of interviewing the renowned Chinese contemporary duo The Zhou Brothers during their recent trip to London. We met them at The Langham Hotel to hear more about their lives, artistic practise and future plans.

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The Zhou Brothers are one of the most accomplished contemporary artists in the world today, renowned for their unique collaborative work process. They work together on their paintings, performances, sculptures, and prints, often communicating without words in a so-called dream dialogue. Their thinking, aesthetic, and creativity are a symbiosis of Eastern and Western philosophy, art and literature that informed their development since early childhood.

Sinclair Global, a global luxury marketing consultancy providing bespoke experiences across the spheres of art and culture, fashion, gourmet and lifestyle, invited the world renowned Zhou Brothers to London to collaborate with Louis Vuitton.

A reception took place at The Langham Hotel, welcoming the Zhou Brothers to the inner sanctum of London, before their exclusive event at the secret Louis Vuitton Maison, New Bond Street with an artist talk conducted by Sotheby’s, London.

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Back to Black – Kapoor vs The Rest

To the wrath of his fellow artists, Anish Kapoor confirmed last week that he has gained the exclusive rights to Vantablack, the blackest shade of black ever made.

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The material is so dark it makes crinkled aluminum foil appear flat

Known as ‘Vantablack,’ the carbon-based substance is so dark that it absorbs 99.96 percent of light. The colour is produced by the UK firm Surrey NanoSystems and was developed for military purposes such as the painting of stealth jets.

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“A real sweating needs to take place in terms of personal development before any progress is made” – ArtAttack Interviews Raymond Salvatore Harmon

ArtAttack sat down with London-based, American artist Raymond Salvatore Harmon (of whom we are now proud collectors!) to learn about his latest gripping work, ‘Elliptical Confinement’, hear his expert tips for young London artists and generally take in his vast art world wisdom.

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Raymond Salvatore Harmon, ‘Elliptical Confinement,’ 2016

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ArtAttack’s ‘Best of Biennale’: India & Pakistan Historically Join Forces for ‘My East is Your West’

When art aficionado, businesswoman, and philanthropist Feroze Gujral – who is of Indian, Arab, and British origins – visited the Venice Biennale in 2013, she noticed there was neither an Indian nor a Pakistani pavilion. With great experience sustaining large-scale arts projects via the Gujral Art Foundation, she decided to change that, and selected internationally recognised artists, Shilpa Gupta (India) and Rashid Rana (Pakistan), to collaborate on ‘My East is Your West.’ The project is an official Collateral Event of the 56th Venice Biennale, and unites at the Biennale for the first time the historically conflicting nations of India and Pakistan. Rana and Gupta have previously collaborated on the cross-border project ‘Aar Paar’, in which artists from Mumbai and Karachi each created public works in the other’s territories.

On view in Venice, Shilpa Gupta’s work, characteristically both poetic and direct in its delivery, reflects on her own experience visiting the borders of Mumbai, Bangladesh and Kashmir, which are partly controlled by India and partly by Pakistan. As a central focus of the work, she stages a performance wherein an actor diligently works away at a crafts table in a dramatically lit red room. Without acknowledging the presence of visitors, the actor traces a shape on carbon paper that rests on a pile of cloth. The cloth itself is significant, measuring the width of a sari and one-thousandth the length of the 3,400km security barrier, the longest in the world, that India is currently building along its’ perimeter with neighbouring Bangladesh. Although open-ended, the piece seemingly alludes to the vast and somewhat arbitrary effort of retaining distance through the gesture of drawing borders.

'My East is Your West,' 2015
‘My East is Your West,’ 2015

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