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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.
Lauri Lyons, a well-known documentary photographer has a new online publication, Nomads Magazine it’s a quarterly devoted entirely to global travel aimed at exposing its readers to many exciting cultural experiences that promises to take you around the globe. This magazine is guaranteed to be filled with adventuresome features stories and extraordinary black and white or color images by world renowned artists and journalists, who live their life on the run. Lauri also writes about culture and photography for the Huffington Post and this December she’s leading a NOMAD Photography Workshop in Salvador de Bahia.
The Boa Morte Festival is one of the most celebrated events thattakes 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.
In the areas of fiber arts and performance art, one name reins supreme: Nick Cave. Not to be confused with the musician, Nick Cave, the fiber/performance artist creates“sound suits” from found objects, including beads connected like tiny seeds of creativity, glass or plastic pieces strung together to form intricate patterns that suggest Brazilian or Caribbean carnival themes. These suits might also be layered with twigs and flowing hair, which from a distance looks like trees dancing in the woods, from some weird fairy tale.
This Cranbrook Design school graduate—who also serves as chair of the Fashion Design Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago—has created new artistic boundaries as he adapts old with new art techniques. With a unique mix of fibers and other materials, he has produced furniture, clothing and much more. This new relationship between contemporary art, crafts, and fashion was evident in the 2007 “Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting” exhibition mounted by the Museum of Art and Design.
Soundsuit: This funky style is made of a diverse collection of found objects.
But this movement of sorts almost didn’t happen.
Sometime in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the interest in knitting started to fade, followed closely by the dwindling number of yarns shops throughout New York City. Today, knitting has emerged as a viable fiber art form, with a different twist that leans towards free-form, stylized garments, or products that are a combination of materials. These materials feature a mix of fibers with varied textures, as well as found objects from nature, even buttons or beads.
Cave’s work has forced other fiber artists and artists in other disciplines to reexamine their own material references. Whether you have the experience of witnessing Cave’s suits in performances, or as immobile figures in a gallery, you can still experience the sound and visual dialogue his pieces provoke. His work speaks to viewers with a cacophony of sounds heard over and over again.
Nick Cave's "Soundsuits" at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City
Cave had previously danced with the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. One day he began to pay attention to the cacophony of sounds that came form his costume, which was mostly made of twigs. As he moved his body, each twig bushed against another and produced barely audible but regular sounds. Similar sounds came from other dancers who were gyrating to the beat of accompanying drums.
He had found a muse who would inspire his new art form—himself.
His canvases of his own or other dancers’ bodies expanded to include skintight leotards, to loose fitting garments with deep hoods. His materials now include beads, bangles, and sequins. No objects are off-limits; nor any subject. He has pulled together references from the social and political issues of the day, using for example, his own state of blackness as a silhouette; and in a nod to the Rodney King trial, a piece that expresses the freedom—or lack thereof—of the black male body, this time tied with materials that look like rope. The most ornate work can resemble over-sized deities, similar to spiritual figures from the African Yoruba tradition, or the BrazilianCandomble.
Nick Cave is represented by theJack Shainman Gallery in New York City.
The Cultural Boundaries blog is devoted to everything about pop culture design, the culture of food, urbanism, product design, street fashion and other hipness that intrigues me. By the way if you happen to have some exciting ideas or news to share send me an email: hi [at] culturalboundaries [dot] com. Otherwise sit back, grab a cup of freshly brewed tea, and enjoy some funky happenings.