Meg Griffiths, Christos J. Palios, and JP Terlizzi @ Colorado Photographic Arts Center

Resilience by Christos J. Palios

Meg Griffiths, Christos J. Palios, and JP Terlizzi
Aug. 16 – Sept. 28

Opening Reception: Aug. 16, 6-9 pm

“Since the beginning of time, humans have been gathering over meals. From first dates to weddings, to celebrations of life and death, we meet at the table. In Coming Together, three photographers consider the ways that home, meals and associated rituals connect us and influence our lives.”

Colorado Photographic Arts Center
1070 Bannock St, Denver 80204

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Kwame Braithwaite @ Museum of the African Diaspora

Kwame Brathwaite, Grandassa Models at the Merton Simpson Gallery, New York, ca. 1967; from Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautiful (Aperture, 2019)
Courtesy the artist and Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles

Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Braithwaite
December 4, 2019 –March 1, 2020

“In the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, Kwame Brathwaite used photography to popularize the political slogan “Black Is Beautiful.” This exhibition—the first ever dedicated to Brathwaite’s remarkable career—tells the story of a key figure of the second Harlem Renaissance. Inspired by the writings of activist and black nationalist Marcus Garvey, Brathwaite, along with his older brother, Elombe Brath, founded the African Jazz Arts Society and Studios (AJASS) and the Grandassa Models. AJASS was a collective of artists, playwrights, designers, and dancers. Grandassa Models—the subject of much of this show’s contents—was a modeling agency for black women, founded to challenge white beauty standards. From stunning studio portraits to behind-the-scenes images of Harlem’s artistic community, this show offers a long-overdue exploration of Brathwaite’s life and work.”

Museum of the African Diaspora
685 Mission St (at 3rd), San Francisco, CA 94105

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Laylah Amatullah Barrayn @ Museum of the African Diaspora

Laylah Amatullah Barrayn,Sonkhna Khady Ba, 2014. Digital print. 30 x 20 inches. Keur Massar, Senegal. Courtesy of the artist.

Baye Fall: Roots In Spirituality, Fashion And Resistance
Photography by Laylah Amatullah Barrayn
November 27, 2019 –March 1, 2020

“This exhibition is a photographic series that visually engages the Baye Fall, an enterprising sub-group of Senegal’s notable Sufi Muslim Community, the Mourides. An integral part of the cultural fabric of Senegalese society, the Baye Fall possess a unique aesthetic that includes “locked” hair, patchwork garments, symphonic chanting, and artisanal leather talismans. Through witnessing the lives of the Baye Fall, and the Senegalese cities in which they dwell, this series shows how pre and post-colonial politics have influenced their spiritual practice.”

Museum of the African Diaspora
685 Mission St (at 3rd), San Francisco, CA 94105

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Adama Delphine Fawundu @ Museum of the African Diaspora

Adama Delphine Fawundu, Aligned with Sodpet on the Underground Railroad, 2017. Archival pigment on paper. 38 x 50 inches.Courtesy of the artist

The Sacred Star of Isis and Other Stories: Photography by Adama Delphine Fawundu
September 4 –November 15, 2019

“As the only child in her immediate family born in America, Fawundu’s mixed media photographic works explore the tension between her family’s traditional Mende beliefs (Sierra Leone) and Westernized values. By incorporating ancestral gifts of colorful handmade batik fabrics and layering these complex and distorted histories, her work uncovers personal and universal cultural patterns that are present within herself and the African Diaspora.”

Museum of the African Diaspora
685 Mission St (at 3rd), San Francisco, CA 94105

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Africa State of Mind @ Museum of the African Diaspora

Kiluanji Kia Henda. The Last Journey of the Dictator Mussunda N’zombo Before the Great Extinction Act I, 2017

Africa State of Mind
September 4-November 15, 2019

“Africa State of Mind is curated around three main themes. Hybrid Cities documents the modern African city in all its dynamism and contradictions. Zones of Freedom addresses the fluidity of gender and sexual identity through compelling portraiture, as well as the legacy of history, from slavery and colonialism to apartheid. Inner Landscapes draws on the artists’ memories and fascinations to conjure individual interpretations of the African past and present.

The exhibition features photographers working in numerous fields from fashion to film, architecture to literature and include Emmanuelle Andrianjafy, Sammy Baloji, Raphaël Barontini, Neil Beloufa, Girma Berta, Eric Gyamfi, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Lebohang Kganye, Namsa Leuba, Michael MacGarry, Sabelo Mlangeni, Musa N Nxumalo, Ruth Ossai, Athi-Patra Ruga and Michael Tsegaye.”

Museum of the African Diaspora
685 Mission St (at 3rd), San Francisco, CA 94105

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Book Review: Homelands by Pieter de Vos

Donald Banda warms himself next to a fire on a cold August night in 2016. These images are copyright Pieter de Vos from the book Homelands

My interest in this book stems from a visit to South Africa in the early 1980s and the year that I spent there as a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross, mostly in Kwazulu / Natal. So I have seen my share of South African townships. That was in the mid1990s, when Mandela came to power and many had high hopes that now everything would get better. I do not really know whether life of the majority in the 25 years since has improved (I’m skeptical of what the media tell me) but wasn’t too surprised when reading in Stephan de Beer’s contribution (The Locale of the Sacred) to this book: “Today in South Africa we live the illusion of a (post)apartheid city. Although much has changed over the past twenty-five years, much also remained the same. In the (post)apartheid city much of the segregated urban fabric remained, and, sometimes even intensified.”

When I read in the introduction: “I recorded and transcribed hundreds of hours of conversations to produce narrative accounts, which represent the sensitive interweaving of discursive fragments”, I was somewhat perplexed for I hadn’t expected such academic language and pretentiousness. Fortunately, for the most part the texts in this tome are readable.

However, I decided to concentrate on the pictures that Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing, in the foreword describes as “the breathtaking photographs by Pieter de Vos”. I’m not really sure that “breathtaking” is the right word for the images in this tome. They are all in black and white. The effect they had on me was mainly heartwarming, I felt touched by this mix of joy and sadness when looking at them. Moreover, they seem to have been taken in a humanistic spirit, in a loving, caring, and dignified way, that is.

Laundry spans the divide between two shacks in Woodlane Village (August 2015) These images are copyright Pieter de Vos from the book Homelands

Woodlane village started in 2004 when people, many of them refugees, occupied land in the suburb of Moreleta Park near Pretoria (City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality). It comprises “2846 households, representing around 3,000 people from Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, and provinces in South Africa. Most of the residents are political and economic migrants.”

And, of course, this informal settlement is contested. What isn’t? Like many other such settlements, it was never meant to stay but created as a temporary camp. Yet, as always, life has its own rules and follows its own course. Once you start something without longterm planning things have a tendency to go their own way.

Husband and wife (August 2015). These images are copyright Pieter de Vos from the book Homelands

There’s also “an oral history of home and belonging” by Donald Banda. It is a text that impressively stresses the importance of community. “Gone are the days of the night vigils and the honoring of the dead. In my youth, people from all over gathered for a wake. They showed respect with silence. They brought their condolences, strengthening one another with the verses of the departed … We all experience sickness and frailty. We all die. And in this forgetting, they soon discovered that when tragedy befell their family, only a handful of people showed up … But we can safeguard against this by lending a hand to our neighbors ….”

Again Leilani Farha: “‘Homelands’ is a cry to those of us living comfortably, to governments, to those with power and influence, that while conditions in informal settlements are not acceptable, there is something very special to preserve there.” That sums it up nicely, I find.

HOMELANDS: Life on the Edge of the South African Dream
by Pieter de Vos
Daylight Books

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Filter Photo Members Exhibition. III @ Fogelson Studio

Members Exhibition. III
September 13 – October 12, 2019​

Festival Reception: September 20 | 6 – 9 PM

Artists: Virgil DiBiase, Dave Jordano, Tommy Keith, Sandra Klein, and J.K. Lavin

“The work selected for the exhibition is all at a very high level of presentation and consideration–each beautifully carries the trifecta of intention, execution, and articulation. I was intrigued and moved by work that is at once personal and meaningful and expressed in new ways. The difficulty in selecting just 5 artists to have work hang on the walls is that many others who had fascinating and significant projects are not in the physical exhibition. But considering the overall portfolios from Filter Members, I know there is an exciting and successful future for in store for this community.” -juror Aline Smithson

Fogelson Studio | 1821 W. Hubbard St., Suite 208
Chicago, IL

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Julien Selleron @ Galerie Simon Madeleine

Julien Selleron: Grenoble-Paris 1980-90
6 au 21 septembre 2019

Galerie Simon Madeleine, 7 rue des Gravilliers, 75003 Paris

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© Rob Stephenson, Randall’s Island Urban Farm, Randall’s Island, Manhattan, from the series From Roof To Table

AUGUST 10 – SEPT 15, 2019


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Third Realm @ Museum of Contemporary Photography

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Ghost Teen, 2009

Third Realm
October 10 – September 22, 2019

“The exhibition presents contemporary Asian art from the FarEastFarWest collection, a Shanghai-based organization that commissions and acquires contemporary Asian artworks and is housed at the MoCP. Third Realm includes nearly 40 works of photography, video, and installation by 15 international artists, many of whom are emerging artists.”

Artists include Birdhead, Cao Fei, Comfortable Collective, FX Harsono, Jompet (Agustinus Kuswidananto), Lu Yang, Sutee Kunavichayanon, Surasi Kusolwong, Gary Ross Pastrana, Paola Pivi, Sun Xun, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Xijing Men, Yang Zhenzhong, and Zhou Xiaohu.

Museum of Contemporary Photography
600 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605

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