Hello frends! I am an artist. My roots take place in St.Petersburg, which has great architecture, culture and history that influenced me once and forever. Today, in the times of technical progress, mass production and new artificial materials I search for inspiration in the foundation of the Arts - old Russian Orthodox icons, Renaissance and folk cultures. I seek out look for new shapes and images within my themes using different materials, but my favorite is glass for its plasticity and abi... [more]
Shireen Sabavala looks at a portrait of her late husband, artist Jehangir Sabavala painted by Magda Nachman in 1942
How US professor Dr Lina Bernstein's three-year research on little-known Russian artist Magda Nachman, led her into drawing rooms of Mumbai's elite. In 2011, when a colleague researching Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva, casually inquired about Russian artist Magda Nachman, Dr Lina Bernstein had little to say. However, three years later, the professor of comparative literature at Franklin & Marshall College found herself travelling more than 7,000 miles to Mumbai in search of the artist's story. Bernstein was intrigued by the legacy of Nachman, who painted a famous portrait of Tsvetaeva and another of Vladimir Nabokov, author of Lolita. "Yet, almost nothing was known about her aside from her association with a circle of writers and artists around Tsvetaeva," says the 64-year-old on her first visit to the city last week. "My colleague, through the course of her research, had discovered some letters from Magda to friends within this circle." It's this correspondence that led Bernstein on a journey from America to Russia, Germany, and finally to India, where she arrived in January this year. In the six weeks that Bernstein spent in Mumbai, Pune, and Baroda, she discovered 13 original portraits by Nachman, and their owners. "At the Asiatic Society of Bombay, I found old newspapers and journals with articles on Magda and her time. Homi Bhabha's archive at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research offered more insights into her life and the history of art in Bombay," she says. This material, says Bernstein, will prove crucial in her quest to reconstruct Nachman's biography that we hear will culminate in an exhibition at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sanghralaya (CSMVS), next year. Journey to Bombay Born in 1889 in St Petersburg, Nachman studied art under famous Russian artist Leon Bakst. But like most people of her generation, her life was driven around the world by the cataclysmic events of the 20th century — the Revolution of 1905, World War I, the Russian Revolution of 1917, and the Civil War. "In the letters I read, she complained about not finding kerosene, paint or brushes to work with. She used pencil and charcoal to create portraits in exchange for food," says Bernstein. In 1921, Nachman met MPT Acharya in Moscow. The Indian nationalist, who was one of the founders of the Communist Party of India, fled Chennai for London after threat of persecution by the British government. "He was part of an Indo-German conspiracy. But Germany lost the war, and the delegation moved to Moscow to convince the Bolsheviks to join them in the fight against the British," says Bernstein. Nachman and he married in 1922 and left for Germany. A little more than a decade later, Adolf Hitler was in power, and the South Indian revolutionary, along with his half-Jewish wife had to flee to Switzerland. "Magda left her paintings behind," points out Bernstein. "Almost all her work from those years has vanished. They visited Paris next, to say their goodbyes to Madam Cama (who Acharya worked with) before they sailed to Bombay in 1935." Artist to the elite The city became Nachman's home, a place where she lived, worked, made friends, and died in 1951. "Whatever art Magda created during that period, it's likely to be in Bombay," says Bernstein of the woman who became the go-to portrait artist among the elite. One of her portraits is of late artist Jehangir Sabavala, which still hangs at his Altamount Road home. As his wife Shireen fondly looks at the oil-on-board painted in 1942, she says it was the norm for families to get their portraits done, "usually by foreigners". She recalls sitting hours before Nachman for her own portrait, too. "Magda went on and on, I was bored and didn't care much about it," she smiles. "I was 18 and remember wearing a red sari with a sleeveless blouse. I was slightly plump, and she said I have the eyes of a cow. I thought that was a bit harsh." Aside from painting Dinsha Paday, Rati Petit, and Shanta Rao, Nachman showed her work at the Bombay Art Society exhibitions. She lived and worked at a house opposite artist K H Ara's Walkeshwar studio, in House No. 63. Artist Akbar Padamsee told Bernstein about a visit to Ara's studio. "All of a sudden, Akbar tells me, an angry Russian lady, whom he described as 'shortish, fattish and not beautiful' barged into the studio shouting, 'They rejected me, who are they to reject me? They don't know anything about art'." Nachman's rage was sparked by the news that she wasn't allowed to participate in an Indian art exhibition organised in 1948 in London. "She was rejected because she was considered not sufficiently Indian," smiles Bernstein.
Original link: http://www.mumbaimirror.com/others/sunday-read/Finding-Magda/articleshow/32095748.cms?prtpage=1
From top: Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be 12 times the size of the original NY outpost; Artist Ashok Sukumaran (at the centre) presenting at last week’s panel discussion; Workers on a bus to get to their shift
Artists from Mumbai join a global creative boycott to fight migrant labour exploitation in the making of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi - the mother of all museums. In many senses, the invitation to Gulf Labor - an artist advocacy group that is leading a boycott of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi - by the much-feted Venice Biennale, to participate in its 56th iteration, can be perceived as sending out a strong message to the art world at large. Gulf Labor has been striving to highlight the coercive recruitment and deplorable living and working conditions of migrant labour - a majority of them are from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka - in Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island (Island of Happiness). Saadiyat was launched in 2009 by Abu Dhabi's government as a luxury property development project where buyers could live in villas that would allow them to access world-class museums and education. A satellite campus of New York University has been operational since last year, and outposts of the Louvre, the Sheikh Zayed Museum (in partnership with the British Museum) and Guggenheim are in various stages of construction. Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, estimated to cost, according to previous news reports, $800 million to build, will span 4,50,000 square feet (nearly 12 times the size of the NY landmark), in a design created by 'starchitect' Frank Gehry and overseen by the Tourism Development & Investment Company. Mumbai artists Shaina Anand and Ashok Sukumaran were among the signatories to back a petition urging Guggenheim to improve living standards of migrant labourers, which had been documented in a Human Rights Watch report. Among other signatories to the petition are Mariam Ghani, Walid Raad, Andrew Ross, Hans Haacke, Naeem Mohaiemen, and Tania Bruguera. In 2011, sensing a lack of commitment from the museum, artists decided to collectively boycott the leading contemporary art museum. Gulf Labor currently has over 1,800 signatories and is led by a 35-person central organising committee. The issue came home last week, when Anand and Sukumaran of CAMP, Kadambari Baxi of Who Builds Your Architecture (WBYA), Rajeev Thakker of the open space for experimental design and research, Studio X, Sharit Bhowmik, who is national fellow of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), Rupali Gupte and Prasad Shetty of Collective Research Initiatives Trust (CRIT) met to discuss conditions of labour in architecture including in India and the UAE, while also addressing the problems at Saadiyat. NYU Abu Dhabi's assistant professor of theatre, Debra Levine, along with 10 students - belonging to various disciplines ranging from visual art to theatre and political science - pursuing the art, performance and social practice class at the University, were also invited to attend the panel discussion and presentation, as part of an art workshop in Mumbai. With the Guggenheim museum hoping its permanent collection will celebrate international art from the 1960s to present day - a period that reflects the world from the point of the UAE achieving nationhood - Sukumaran thinks "it's a perfect opportunity to build their multi-billion-dollar project right; use their resources justly without defaulting to a status quo of exploited labour". Andrew Ross, professor of social and cultural analysis and faculty member at NYU New York, specialising in labour issues, has been a critic of underpaid migrant labour in the UAE, writing columns on the exploitation of migrant workers building projects on Saadiyaat Island, including the NYU campus there. In an op-ed piece High Culture, Hard Labor, published in The New York Times in March 2014, he said, "Bound to an employer by the kafala sponsorship system, they (workers) arrive heavily indebted from recruitment and transit fees, only to find that their gulf dream has been a mirage. Typically, in the United Arab Emirates, the sponsoring employer takes their passports, houses the workers in substandard labour camps, pays much less than they were promised and enforces a punishing regimen under the desert sun." Last Saturday, Ross was barred from flying into the UAE. "But, what's different about my case," argues Ross over an email interview to Mirror, "is that I am an NYU professor, and since NYU has a campus there, we are supposed to enjoy protection of academic freedoms and safe passage into the UAE. They can't be in a position to decide which NYU professors they will admit and not. That is unsustainable. Could the same fate befall artists asked to participate at a museum show? Quite possibly." Parimal Sudhakar, senior project manager at the Society for Labour and Development, Delhi, defines this as a systematic problem. Most countries have a poor record of treating migrant labour, but in the Gulf states, close to 80 per cent residents are migrants with no rights. "Unfortunately, the host government, and the government of source countries have chosen to ignore the problem," he says. "Authorities in states that make up a large chunk of this labour force, including Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, often maintain no data on international migration of workers from their state." Cheated by sub-agents of recruitment firms and exploited by employers in destination countries, the workers are caught in a debt trap, making a return to home impossible. "According to the Emigration Act, 1983, a worker should be charged no more than Rs 20,000 for emigration procedure. But most end up paying over a lakh to sub-agents," says Sudhakar. Ross, who has spent a reasonable time during his scholarly research on low-wage labour, mostly in China, moved his attention to the Gulf region after NYU announced plans of a satellite campus in 2007. "My position was that the presence of the campus was an opportunity to leverage labour reforms," he explains. The average worker on Saadiyat Island makes a base (monthly) pay of only Rs 10,000 to Rs 13,000. Over time, this can go up to between Rs 15,000 and Rs 18,000. Basic math suggests that a 25 per cent increase in the wages of the 7,500 workers estimated to be involved in the Guggenheim's construction, amounts to about five million USD, "which, given the scale of an institution like the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is nothing," insists Anand. Sudhakar takes the focus away from funds to the struggle for power. "There's plenty of money in Abu Dhabi. The issue concerns power. Elites from the Emirates crave a vast servant class, 24/7. This army of workers needs to be heavily indebted and exceptionally vulnerable, in order to work under the circumstances," he says. "The second reason for hesitating to make a change has to do with setting a precedent regarding migrant worker rights. The UAE doesn't want to be the first in the region to do it." Meanwhile, the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation has distanced itself from the debate with the claim that Guggenheim Abu Dhabi "will be an independent museum owned by the government of Abu Dhabi which is in charge of and overseeing all aspects of construction. The Guggenheim's role will be to provide access to its global network of curatorial and educational resources." The TDIC is in charge of developing Saadiyat, building a 'model' worker village and drafting policies that sound noble but aren't necessarily enforced. Their claim to have built a beautiful workers' accommodation in Saadiyat - albeit five kilometres away in a far corner of the site - with a cricket field, billiards room and basketball court, is contested by Gulf Labor. Sukumaran says, "Saadiyat's village is a showcase but not a long term solution that benefits workers. Wages remain poor, and recruitment debt is rampant. Contractors have to rent these rooms, and the monthly rent here is higher than the average worker's pay." The collective has held negotiation meetings with both the Guggenheim Museum in New York and TDIC in Abu Dhabi. Turning into independent researchers, the artists provided TDIC and the Guggenheim with a report in March 2014 to support their theory, with statistics as well as site visits to labour camps for research. "A lot of malam-patti, and public relations efforts were carried out by them but the core issues remain unresolved. The museum needs to push harder for what they say they want. We do believe they have the leverage," she says. TDIC did not reply to Mirror's repeated requests for a response. The question, artists are then reiterating is; why isn't an exemplary museum built on exemplary standards? "If Guggenheim says they are lending their name and expertise to bringing global art and global educational standards to the UAE, why can't they bring basic global democratic principles? Why should that not be part of their ethos? " Anand asks.
Original link: http://www.mumbaimirror.com/others/sunday-read/Art-in-protest/articleshow/46648168.cms
THE CANETTI READING GROUP
By Adam Knight
An essay in Elias Canetti's seminal work 'Crowds and Power' becomes
the point of focus for a fictional reading group. Each character in
the group inhabits six typologies of the crowd identified by
Canetti. The work presented takes the form of a script; where
moments of awareness and a strengthening relationship to the
artwork reveal themselves.
THE CANETTI READING GROUP
Characters and classifications
A – The Chair (the crystal c... [more]
This review is translate with google
Is not the creator who is able to give life ....
Acrylic painting on cnvas
Size: 116 x 200
Acrylic painting on cnvas
Size: 60 x 80
Strolling through the expanses of the Internet, I came across a magnificent Dutch expressionist Shefqet Avdush Emini. Later, I was fortunate to get to know him and work for international ART-symposia.
Expression in color, line, and at the same time, a sense of proportion and harmony - it... [more]
On Everyday Enchantment
Enchantment. A spell wrapped in a noun. Three syllables. One state of being.
To live with Enchantment is to see beyond the brick and mortar that make up your home and into the magic infused within its frame. It is to peel back the layers of your day to day and search for that elusive energy that winds its way up your spine and outward into your life.
To learn from Enchantment is to listen to Coyote's call when he plays his tricks. He is a messenger really—t... [more]
What follows is the first chapter of a novel I've been working on for over several months. Many of my novel's chapters have been submitted to MFA fiction workshops at The New School in New York City.
The story of my novel takes place nearly 75 years past our present time. The chapter below is about one of my main characters, a painter from post apocalyptic Paris in the year 2101. It is important to note that this character lives in an asylum, which is located in the country of Aurora (post apo... [more]
TEXture is a project that explores landscape, painting, genre and gender relationships. This video is a single component of a mulitmedia project executed during a 2015 residency at The Process Space (Los Angeles) [more]