Fair Trade - A Conversation With The Artists

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Coton #4 Photography 42.5" X 22.5"
Queen of the (Un)commonwealth Mixed Media 30" X 60"
Mask 02 10" X 8" X 6"
Three Jagua Hands Photography 58" X 40"
Untitled 7 Cotton, Burnt Sugar 20" X 21"
Fair Trade - A Conversation With The Artists
Curated by: Liz Gordon

453 S. La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
September 27th, 2011 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

323-939-4403 x6
Tuesday through Saturday 10am - 6pm
photography, mixed-media, digital, installation, conceptual, figurative, modern, traditional, sculpture


Fair Trade Postcard
FAIR TRADE - Artist Panel Discussion 
Tuesday September 27th : 7pm - 9pm  
We wish to cordially invite you to The Loft at Liz's exhibit entitled FAIR TRADE.  
Our opening reception on Saturday September 17th was a tremendous success.
We wish to thank all of our guests who were in attendance. 
The exhibit is available for viewing through October 24th.

FAIR TRADE is presented in conjunction with World Fair Trade month (October). This show is dedicated to featuring works that speak to this increasingly relevant and transformative topic.  Our featured artists will be creating original works in statement of fair trade practices and others actually incorporate the use of fair trade commodities as their medium.     
Fair Trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as higher social and environmental standards. It focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries, most notably: handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, honey, cotton, wine, fresh fruit, chocolate, flowers and gold.
Featured Artists:
Stéphane Tourné
Ofunne Obiamiwe
Raksha Parekh
Pascal Giacomini
Andre Vanzijl

Stephane Tourne - Coton

Stéphane Tourné's series "Ici L'Espoir" is the basic foundation and inspiration for this exhibit.  His work in Africa with Oxfam led the artist to consider the consequences of unfair trading practices. Through his photographs, Tourné invites us to discover his views on this subject and in turn, to form our own. So simple, but powerful, the photographer utilizes images of naked bodies, carved and redesigned with raw materials and consumables (oil, flour, rice, cotton, etc.). This alliance between a smart aesthetic research and a humanitarian cause leaves the viewer in a state of breathless shock and ultimately develops to a sensual art-trash.
Ofunne Obiamiwe and her family survived the genocide of the Biafran/Nigerian war.  Now living in the United States for the past 20 years, Ofunne is an Associate Professor of Digital Art at Santa Monica College and the founder of Republic of Peace, an emerging arts and culture collective. Ofunne's work deals with multilayered issues of racism, gender, poverty, class, inclusion/exclusion, power/disenfranchisement, culture, colonialism, and spirituality unattached to religion. Her work reflects a profound dedication to human rights and activism and the belief that afflictions of violence, discrimination and intolerance will continue to fester until they are replaced with
understanding and empathy.
Her work (sculptural installations, video, photographs, graphics, relational aesthetics) investigates duality and the juxtaposition of opposing ideas. It aspires not only to underscore problems but also to put forth solutions. Her goal is to form collaborative partnerships and to find effective ways of bringing to public spaces, issues so often swept beneath the surface.
       Raksha Parekh - Checkers        
Raksha Parekh creates her unique works from such commodities as sugar and cotton.  "I am deeply interested in the dynamic space where the history and psychology of the Indian and African experiences meet. My current works examine the connections of these two diasporas in relation to the colonial past using cotton and sugar as my mediums, both products being central players
in this history.

The international expansion in consumption of sugar and cotton is deeply embedded in colonial history as these goods were crucial to the establishment of empire in the Americas, Asia and Africa. The history of sugar continues to have great relevance because of its defining role in shaping world history and culture".
       Pascal Giacomini - Three Hands
Pascal Giacomini is a multi-talented and multi-faceted artist. Working in several genres - mixed-media photography, sculpture, and functional art - he has exhibited in museums (UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History; Museum at California Center for the Arts, Escondido; and the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles), as well as creating solo public sculpture exhibits (City of West Hollywood, City of Malibu) and site-specific functional art for prestigious private properties (Lloyd Wright's Sowden House and the Norma Talmadge Estate). Over the years, he has also exhibited in various Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department venues throughout the city.   

The artist's sculptures graced the median strip of Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood for a one-man show of large-scale works during a three-month period. Fourteen sculptures, ranging from 7 to 14 feet in height, spanned La Cienega Boulevard to Doheny Drive from June to October in 1994. In 1995, another group of large-scale sculptures named the Malibu Summer Art Walk could be viewed along the Pacific Coast Highway and other prime locations in the city. Pascal's work was also the focus of a one-man exhibit in the Fall Artist Series, organized annually by Neiman Marcus.
Pascal was born in Paris and has lived and worked in Los Angeles since the 1980s.
His studio is located in West Hollywood, California. 

Andre Van Zijl - Mask

As an award-winning artist of international merit, Zimbabwean born artist Andre van Zijl’s work has historically been an artistic commentary on socio-political and global culture. In his ancestral and adopted homeland, South Africa, he was a victim himself of the political secret police, which has deeply motivated him to give voice to those seeking a voice. Art to him “is a creative sword for peace.” His work from this era challenged the institutionalized inequities between the privileged and the exploited, structured as a system of government called apartheid. This included other forms of oppressive political power that deny art communication and spiritual growth. Andre’s art was instrumental as a historical voice of progress and change in this tumultuous period and is represented in many important international museums, public and private collections and publications.

“The evolution of my work continues to emphasize the artistic and spiritual unity through all expressions of life. My body of work exhibited on ‘Fair Trade’ explores the systems of thinking, which, both separate us from each other, and unite us to each other. For me, the fair part of Fair Trade comes to focus when the cultural gifts and material resources of indigenous third world communities, which ultimately includes all peoples everywhere, are celebrated as the ultimate beneficiaries of this responsible thinking. This exchange often highlights the individuals who can and should enjoy this growth, thereby allowing commerce to be creative, very personal and rewarding. This approach to conscious commerce generates a necessary new paradigm for hope and balance in our global community, as the first world pays fairly for its purchases, providing an equitable and sustainable scenario for all.”

Andre van Zijl, painter, sculptor, educator, poet and author, mystic cosmic citizen.
Over 30 one-person exhibitions with work in many museums, public and private collections.
Assistant Director of International Museum of World Religion, Monks Without Borders.

Danger Dog Project
In conjunction with our Fair Trade exhibition, The Loft stairwell will feature 49 works by 28 different artists.  These whimsical paintings are from the Danger Dog Project. Michelle Page's Nepal Art Dog project promotes the endangered art of Nepali signboard artists. These Fair Trade signboards are hand-painted on recycled metal, using synthetic enamel and can be hung indoors or out. Signboard art in Nepal is fast becoming a lost art. Paying these artists through fair trade principles means these artists can continue to paint, prosper and educate their children.  Each commission is given to at least 3 signboard artists - providing work opportunities, giving the pet owner a choice and bringing Himalayan folk art to museums. This project is for pet lovers and art collectors who would like to make a difference.