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Archive for the ‘AFRIKAN’Category

Daniel Minter: Two Worlds & The Colorful Story Of Okra

Daniel Minter began working in 1980 as a painter, illustrator, and computer graphics artist. Minter has illustrated nine children’s books, including Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story, winner of a Best Book Award from the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, and The Riches of Oseola McCarty, named an Honor Book by the Carter G. Woodson Awards. Minter’s paintings and sculptures have been exhibited both nationally and internationally at galleries and museums including the Seattle Art Museum, the Tacoma Art Museum, Bates College, Hammonds House Museum and the Meridian International Center. Minter is the founding director and vice-president of Maine Freedom Trails, Inc. He created the markers for the Portland Freedom Trail, which identifies significant sites related to the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad in Portland, Maine. He created the 2004 Kwanzaa stamp and the 2011 Kwanzaa stamp for the U.S. Postal Service. Minter lives in Portland, Maine with his wife, Marcia, and son, Azari Ayindé.




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04

07 2012

A Glimpse into The African and African Caribbean Design Diaspora Festival

This is an excerpt featured on the Studio Museum in Harlem blog, it’s my first in a series of design articles.

London is one of the hottest and most creative cities, bristling with a multicultural community. Yet its Black artists and designers have remained largely untapped. That is until now. Just this past September, London was booming with design festivals showcasing innovative furniture, objects and fabulous fashions. Among them was the latest installment of the African and African Caribbean Design Diaspora Festival, a hotbed of new ideas, inspiration and creativity. This year’s theme, “?Choices!,” attracted some 22,000 visitors (2,000 more than in 2010). The AACDD festival took place from September 9 to 25, coinciding with the London Design Festival and constituted AACDD’s second successful year. It was the latest project launched by the British European Design Group’s (BEDG) three-year initiative, which is playing an increasingly important role in diversifying London’s creative community.

The festival director, Karin Phillips, Design Director Clemens Hackl, and Nigerian-born designer and curator, Emamoke Ukeleghe, orchestrated this production. The artists represented included roughly 100 graphic designers, multimedia artists, illustrators, industrial and product designers, and visual artists of African and African-Caribbean descent working in the U.K., Africa, the Caribbean, Japan and the United States. Hackl explained, “These artists and designers made a huge impact on visitors with their innovative works.” And thanks to funding from the London Arts Council, this year the AACDD Festival reached more people through a well-designed festival guide, website and social media platforms.

AACDD’s festival took place in three main locations: BargeHouse in OXO Towers in SouthBack, Hospital Club, and the Re-Loved Lounge at 100% Design. With 1,333 square feet of raw warehouse space, the BargeHouse served as the perfect blank canvas setting for browsing art lovers. It featured four floors of curated work by fine artists, illustrators, graphic designers, fashion designers, multimedia artists, and photographers. On one floor, Below the Surface, a photographic project by young black teenagers from London’s African and African-Caribbean communities, was a whopping success. The teenagers documented the colorful facets of everyday life, and produced an eye grabbing collection shot with disposable cameras given away through AACDD’s tweets and Facebook postings. For more click here>>

 

 



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17

01 2012

STEM Education from Life

 

Article from IRAAA Special Issue on Science, Technology and Art
By Michele Y. Washington

A dynamic husband-and-wife team is creating innovative, technology-based projects that merge design, art, computing, and social justice. Both work at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Ron Eglash is a professor in the Department of Science and Technology Studies, and Audrey Bennett is an associate professor in the Department of Language, Literature and Communication.

Audrey Bennett’s efforts span scholarly research (in communication design theory); social activism (in participatory design that involves users in the design process); professional design for clients; and creative, graphic arts that reflects her Dartmouth College studio art background. She has an M.F.A. in graphic design from Yale University. Her work in participatory design led to a book, Design Studies: Theory and Research in Graphic Design (Princeton Architectural Press), and the development of GLIDE: Global Interaction in Design, a biennial, virtual forum and research hub on our ever-changing world of design and technology.

The October 2010 virtual conference brought together a distinguished group of design educators, graduate students and researchers from across the globe in real time communication. Covering a broad range, the topics included the use of design solutions to help the indigenous, marginalized people of southern Mexico build business capacity; green design concepts in Asia; and the use of digital technologies in teaching and research in Pacific communities.

During the GLIDE 10, keynote presentation, Ron Eglash discussed his research on the vernacular knowledge systems of global, indigenous cultures and the need to dispel myths about these groups as being backwards, “primitive,” illiterate. He also discussed his world with African American, Puerto Rican and Native American cultures in the United States. In applying these systems for use in design and education. Eglash cautioned that sensitivity is required to make sure that these users are beneficial to the people who created them.
Read the rest of this entry →

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Black Studies in Art & Design Education Conference

Coming in March
Black Studies in Art & Design Education Conference at the The New School

March 26th-27th 2011. Two Day Conference on interdisciplinary conference on Black Studies in Art and Design Education, featuring speakers from art, fashion. architecture, urban planning, art and design history and theory. Organised by Coco Fusco and Yvonne Watkins, Parsons The New School for Design, New York. Presenters include: Craig Wilkins, University of Michigan; Mabel Wilson, Columbia University; Noel Mayo, Ohio State; Carol Tulloch, Chelsea College of Art and Design; Jennifer Gonzales, North Carolina State University; Michele Y. Washington, School of Visual Arts; Kim Piner, School of the Arts Institute of Chicago; Noliwe Rooks, Princeton University; Clyde Johnson MICA are amongst the list of designers, cultural and design critics, and educators presenters.

The conference is intended to be a forum for reflection on the troubling gap between the notable significance of Black creativity in global culture and its lack of presence in art and design education. The goal of the conference is to elaborate and assess strategies of reform that would diversify curricular offerings and thus improve education for all art and design students while simultaneously generating a more supportive environment for Black students and faculty.

Scholars and practitioners in Fine Arts, Industrial Design, Fashion Design, Architecture, Urban Planning and Art and Design History and Theory will engage in an interdisciplinary discussion about the challenges involved in rethinking  curriculum, engaging with historically disenfranchised communities, and recruiting and retaining Black students and faculty. The conference will also feature two keynote speeches by prominent members of the fields under  figures whose efforts have been central to diversifying the many fields that comprise art and design studies. Panels will address the following topics: rethinking art and design theory and history courses in light of the global influence of cultures of the African diaspora; curricular reform in practical courses of art and design; strategies of engagement with black communities; Black student experiences in art and design schools; and the specific challenges of recruiting and retaining Black students and faculty in school of art and design.

photo credit: http://www.blackstudies.ucsb.edu


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GLIDE10: Ron Eglash Bridges The Gap Between Vernacular and Indigenous Cultures


Ron Eglash computations

by Michele Y. Washington
Click to hear Ron Eglash’s presentation.
Our final keynote speaker brilliantly closed out GLIDE10 on his continuous investigation on Culture and Science in the sphere of indigenous and vernacular cultures existing within the United States ethnic communities such as Asian, Latin American and African American. Ron gives an in-depth explanation of global indigenous cultures to dispel numerous myths that exist of such groups as being backwards, primitive and illiterate.  This raises several fundamental issues of cultural sensitivity, and he provides specific examples from one project featured on his website on the process of mapping out Native American asymmetrical and symmetrical beading systems. For another project you can sample an example of African Architectural typology replicated through the application of African Fractals, an organic branching structure referencing nature.

This African Fractals project offers clear cut examples of his teaching methods applied in the cultural significance of the ancestral origins of cornrows for Black American students in high schools. His goal was to challenge the students to investigate the issues that surrounded the Black Transatlantic Slave Trade to the Americas and Caribbean, students were able to identify hygiene, resistance, retaining ones culture identity linking their own cornrow hairstyles to its origins. Other examples of paring the musicality of Hip-hop provide a broader sensibility of the connection as to why they wear this hairstyle. He’s developed a computation where he feeds in various iterations of how many plaits are in one braid. According to Ron, such concepts can be applied to other ethnic groups to gain a better understanding of the ancestral heritage. The Cultural expression opens the door to engage students to consider the various modalities of the design patterns replicated by cornrow hairstyles, which blurs the line between indigenous and vernacular design. He also looks at graffiti as a form of vernacular stereotyping. Ends his talk on Puerto Rican youth rooted to challenge the students through mathematical computation of Spanish music through rhythms and beats of the music. Summary of what limits racial intelligence, he states, while no one wants to talk about it, the thoughts loom in the back of many educators and peoples mind.

What part of collective memory fuels some of this iconic bead work, rug design, totems that are also evident in other global cultures such as Africans, Aboriginal, India, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries?

Defeating myths of cultural determinism
Using mathematics to bridge cultural gaps
Making cultural capital more available to its owners (individuals) Educational capital
Looking at new forms of hybridity for learning Peace and social justice efforts
Environmental sustainability

Making contributions to mathematics, and inspirations Challenges:

Not all modeling of culture involves translation of indigenous or vernacular knowledge. Ethnomath: provide more evidences of application of knowledge Interesting concept over cultural ownership of whose holds on to authentic cultural heritage for example, Shawnee Native Americans. Alternative methods for kids to go from consumers to producers, makers by apply the discovery as a learning method.

Take a look at Ron presentation at TED.COM





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Festa de Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte

The  Boa Morte Festival is one of the most celebrated events that takes place in Cacheoria near the banks of the Paraguacu River, in Bahia. Check out this interview on UEFSTV featuring my partner Scott A. Barton he’s there conducting research for his PhD in Food Studies at New York University. These priestess with their beautiful sculpted faces are national treasures know as ” Sisterhood of Our Ladies of Death,” and this is a one of the most important Candomble celebrations held during the year in Bahia. Boa Morte is a celebration of the secret black religious society whom are direct descendants of  slaves, these women priestess can trace their lineage directly to the African slaves that were brought to Brasil by the Portuguese who colonized the country. Still years later, the Youruba cultural traditions are heavily practiced, as you can see the priestess in ceremonial white laces dresses with long strands of intricate silver necklaces that hang around their necks. I’m told the oldest priestess is 107 years old, and she still participates in these religious celebrations. Sorry if you don’t speak Brasilian Portuguese, but this interview gives you a quick glimpse into the one week long festival activities that start on 15 August.

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18

08 2010

FOOD: Stirring It Up With Cast Iron Skillets

Scott pounding cornmeal with a pedestal in a wooden mortar.

This is an insightful interview with Scott A. Barton, chef and food historian, he’s currently pursuing a PHD at New York University in the Food Study program. Allow me to share an informative chat with Scott about the ubiquitous cast iron skillet, many of us hold loving memories of those oversized, black  heavy cooking pans that our grandmothers or mothers used to fry-up juicy tender chicken or bake crisp cornbread. These are some finger lickin good moments.

Below is podcast interview with Scott A. Barton:




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17

07 2010


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