Ein Hod Artist Village

{Guest post by: Keturah Maraska}

Have you ever thought about running away to live amongst other artists? Well, if you ever do feel the urge I have the perfect location – Ein Hod. Last week I was lucky enough to join a group of ladies for a tour of this quaint little village and learn a bit more about the wonderful artistic culture here in Israel.

IACW - Ein Hod

This Israeli artist colony is nestled just south of Carmel Mountain National Park and has a great view to the Mediterranean Sea thus providing the perfect picturesque inspiration for new pieces of art. Artists first began to move here in 1953 when artist Marcel Janco invited some of his talented friends to join him in settling in a colony with like-minded individuals. The original group of villagers was part of the Dado movement arising post WWI. Though there were just a few initial residents of Ein Hod, the village has grown to approximately 150 artists and their families.

IACW - Ein Hod - view to Med

What makes this village unique is that only artists are allowed to own homes and live in town. Artists are not permitted to deed their property to their descendants unless they too are artists who are living and working in the community. This policy maintains a creative culture inside Ein Hod, even leading to second and third generation artists living in the neighborhood.

IACW - Ein Hod collage

Artists in Ein Hod consist of photographers, potters, painters, jewelers, sculptors, those who work with textiles, and even musicians. During our tour we had the privilege to meet a few of the artists and experience short demonstrations of their craft. First, we encountered the Magal sisters. These twins are second-generation Ein Hod residents. They are potters who use glaze to paint their pottery before they fire it. They do not paint and then glaze, but use the glaze as the paint, which makes the process more complicated since the glaze melts and blends during the firing. This technique is laborious and tedious, but these women spoke of their work with a passion that filled the air. The final product is vibrant in color and often very detailed. My favorite pottery items are the sheep they painstakingly create by rolling and looping each piece of “wool” before glazing and firing the final product. As I admired their work it was clear the Magal sisters love what they do and are extremely proud of their craft.

IACW - Ein Hod potter.jpg

As second-generation artists, the Magal sisters first found themselves in Ein Hod due to their father’s love of painting. His original oil works are available for a hefty penny; however, the sisters produce silk screens of his work which are much more economical. The sisters are also quite proud of the work their father produced and will gladly discuss his inspiration – the Mediterranean Sea and elements of Jewish culture.

Another artist we met was the potter Tal Shahar who opened her Ein Hod workshop in 1985. Shahar shares her workshop with budding potters and serves as their mentor and guide. Her palette is more earth tone than the Magals though she does paint her creations at times. Cups, dishes, and vases that Tal produces in color are usually developed by using a pigment and underglaze. One more unique technique that Tal employs is the Japanese style of Raku – firing at a high heat, them removing and “smoking” the ceramic so that it darkens and cracks in spots. I have seen this technique before, but I did find Tal’s finished products rather beautiful. The most interesting were a white design made through useof the “naked” Raku process. (For more information on ceramic pigments and stains visit this site).

IACW - Ein Hod potter2.jpg

Finally, our tour guide, Lea Ben-Arye, demonstrated her silkscreen technique for us on the steps just outside her store. Nestled under the trees in a corner, Ben-Arye’s shop is the perfect location of group lessons in silkscreen. She has her own technique that allows her to reuse her stencils and create unique designs. Her husband Dan Ben-Arye works beside her creating jewelry, wooden sculptures, etc. She said he likes to learn from the other artists in the colony and then develop his own technique. Their store is filled with many of their creations from scarves, necklaces, wooden benches, and Dan’s newest passion – photographs of the clouds of Ein Hod. The one item that really caught my eye was their necklace design of a pomegranate and Star of David in one – both very symbolic of Israeli culture and life.

IACW - Ein Hod silk screen copy.jpg

Should I ever decide to run away this would be high on my list of places to end up. Art is everywhere – from the garbage cans, to chairs, to roadblocks, etc. Sculptures are on just about every corner. You can’t help but have some pop of color catch your attention around each bend in the road. Traffic is almost non-existent so strolling through the streets and admiring all of the craftwork around you is not only possible, it is almost demanded. Oh, and don’t worry, there are great restaurants and a coffee shop or two to fill your stomach and please your eye with “art on the plate” in order to energize you for the next set of galleries and workshops on your list of “must-sees”.

IACW - Ein Hod - Dona Rosa1.jpg

It doesn’t take much of an imagination to understand why people would be drawn to this location; it takes even less of an imagination to see why generation after generation would want to stay here; once here, though, your imagination is the only thing that can limit what lies ahead.

keturah

 

 

Maraska Family session -5603

Keturah is a Marine wife and mother to two high school boys, and an Elementary school teacher.  Their family is currently transitioning back to the United States of America after a year abroad in Israel. She loved living in Tel Aviv and will miss living on the Mediterranean Sea.

Katie featured her family’s photo session earlier this week and shared about their creative bond and friendship. We are so thankful to have Keturah as a part of our creative community and look forward to  having her share her adventures with us again.

Here’s to the Volunteers

IACW - Helen Keller quote

This post is dedicated all those mamas and papas who volunteer on behalf of their children. To those of you coaching little league, helping in classrooms, volunteering with the PTA, and the other countless and thankless tasks, we salute you.

We are huge supporters of our children’s schools and both volunteered at many events thrown by our fearless parent associations. We know first hand how disheartening  negative people can be, especially those who also never seem to step up themselves to help. It can be defeating, frustrating, and just plain sad. It’s in the spirit of cultivating kindness that we had to write this post to say THANK YOU.

Thank you to all of you who have at some point borne the brunt of the naysayers and negative feedback. Who’s hard work and hours spent was ignored by the Monday morning quarterbacks and playground mom-squads.

IACW - Teddy Roosevelt quote

We also challenge those of you who have stayed on the sidelines thinking your positive thoughts were known, we encourage you to say something. Tell your people you appreciate them. A little goes a long way, and you never know who may need a little affirmation on the day you cross their path. Their hearts need to be filled up and appreciated and your words of kindness and encouragement will be welcomed!

magnets-stop-me-before-i-volunteer-again
Anne Taintor

We also wanted to share our most recent experiences with our respective International Days. Expat communities really know how to host a good International Day! They are colourful, lively, and educational. It is a fantastic day for our kids to share in, and  learn to appreciate, other cultures and countries. It breeds tolerance and acceptance, which we all know this world could use a little more of.

IACW - ID - flyers.jpg

Funnily enough, we shared similar roles of logistics and graphic designers at our respective schools’ events merely a week apart. There was drama and unintentional hurt feelings, but, for the most part, both events were successful and the children, for which they are ultimately for, had a fantastic time and learned a great deal. That really is all that matters in the end, right? It’s why we volunteer for our little people. For them to have a good time, but also to show them how to serve.

International Day 2017 – Kuwait Style

IACW - Int Day - Q8.jpg

International Day 2017 – Tel Aviv Style

IACW - Int Day - TA.jpg

We are all called to serve, in one place or another, and our children need to learn that lesson and look outside themselves, as well as recognize and appreciate the efforts of others. It would be amazing if we could teach our kids that it’s not always what we get out of this world, but it’s what we can give back to it, that matters most.

we-already-have-enough-pta-volunteers-said-no-one-ever-f62ed
link

So here’s to all of you volunteers.  We are cheering you on and supporting your efforts! A special shout out one of our favorite volunteers and crafty friends, Kate: as always, anything for you friend!

IACW - Kate.jpg

In the spirit of John F. Kennedy’s famous words, the next time an opportunity to serve comes your way ask not what it can do for you, ask what YOU can do for your others.

Don’t forget to thank a volunteer today, they will really appreciate it!

xoxo,

la-kdg-signature

The Crayon Books

IACW - CB_6599

Ever since I was a little a girl, a fresh box of Crayola Crayons has made my heart so happy. That yellow and green branded box held so much possibility and potential creative outlets. My ‘artbrain’ liked to imagine that each color had a it’s own personality, opinions, and origin stories. Like Jungle Green was a really laid back fellow from Costa Rica and Burnt Sienna was from a cattle ranch out West. We had some really good times, my crayon friends and I, as I learned to color in{and OUT}side the lines. I even remember the first time I bought a box of crayons for my son, imagining we would be spending time coloring side by side, that vision wasn’t very realistic when he was only 18 months old, ha!

IACW - CB

Then one day my childhood fantasies of a crayon world became a “reality” in the pages of a Christmas gift from Tio Russ. Our beloved Tio, had bought the boys two fantastic books about a set of crayons who wrote letters to their owner. The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, are now staple readings and gifts in the DG house.

IACW - CB_6578

The Day the Crayons Quit is a series of letters to a poor little boy, Duncan, from his unhappy crayons. Each color has it’s own grievance from being overly used to being naked! Duncan just wants his crayons to be happy, so in the end he comes up with a creative solution to take care of his “friends.”

IACW - CB_6593

The Day the Crayons Came Home is equally as witty and cheeky and introduces us to some other colors including the geographically challenged Neon Red Crayon and the egocentric Pea Green aka Esteban the Magnificent. Let me tell you the giggles that I hear when my oldest reads these letters to himself make my heart sing!

IACW - CB_6576

These books are perfect for elementary age children and parents –  I promise you will laugh out loud too. The fantastic child-like handwritings and illustrations by Oliver Jeffers brings each crayon to life. New readers will enjoy conquering each letter and older readers, for example, can use the series to learn about the use of perspective in literature. In addition, the The Crayon Books website has educational materials for teachers and parents. Full disclosure, I just found about about the two new additions to the crayon book universe, The Crayons’ Book of Numbers and The Crayons’ Book of Colors while researching for this post and have since order them for my 3 year old.  

My family highly recommends these fun and creative crayon books it.  They combine our love for reading, color, and laughter perfectly. I am genuinely inspired by Drew and Oliver’s collaboration as well.

IACW - CB_6588

If you are a fan like us, go check out the Every Crayon Counts site and share your thoughts…um, I mean, support for the Crayons Union! #supportthecrayons #thedaythecrayonsquit #everycrayoncounts

Color on!

kdg

Colours of Africa – The Alexa Kirsten Story

51765_382190348522767_1416960779_o78362_382112981863837_1049311980_o

When my friend Kerry casually dropped 6 books on a table amongst friends, she said “Oh, I have a few books of my mom’s story, if anyone wants to read it.” I’m pretty sure I elbowed our other friend Robin out the way to be one of the first ones to read it. Sorry Robin.

The book Colours of Africa – The Alexa Kirsten Story was written by Debra Hunter and published by Hunter publishing, New Zealand, in 2013.

“We shall not cease from exploring, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time” – T.S. Eliot

IMG_0817 copy

Background:

The books goes into detail of how this family started their African journey back in 1938. When Alexa’s mother, Lexie, and her best friend Faith arrived in Cape Town, South Africa from England, to start their epic adventure travelling and hitch-hiking through Africa. The British pair had very little money, but a whole lot of heart, and this was my first insight into the strength and character of the women of this family.

During the war in 1943, Lexie was a qualified physiotherapist when she met South African solider, Charles Campbell Elliot. It was love at first sight and the pair were married within 2 weeks in Tripoli, Libya. On 27 July, 1952, Alexa Helen Jessie Elliot was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa to this remarkable couple. She was their 3rd child, and first daughter. Tich, Alexa’s younger sister followed 18 months later.

When Alexa’s family moved to Knysna she met her would-be-husband, Steve Kirsten. In 1973 the couple got married in The Holy Trinity Church in Knysna.  Fun fact: this was the first building to be designed by a female Architect in Africa.

From Knysna the couple then settled in Wellington after the birth of their first child, a daughter, Kerry. Once there they went on to have a second child, Ben, and 10 years later Luke made his appearance.

“God, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. And sever any tie in my heart, except the tie that binds my heart to Yours” – David Livingstone (1813-73), explorer

Monday morning, 7 February, 2005

Alexa heard a scream coming from the neighbours house and ran over to investigate. She entered the house calling out, but there was no reply. And then she saw him. A short dark male figure emerging from the shadows. He said nothing. Alexa slowly turned around and walked back towards the back door and then she felt it. She has been hit alongside the head with an old iron door stopper. She staggered and then fell to the floor. He then went on to stab her in the back of the neck 17 times. She was left for dead.

But she was not gone. She very clearly recalls herself leaving her body and rising up above the scene with a complete sense of freedom and peace. She was completely calm and pain free in that moment. But she felt something holding her down, she describes it as the Hand of God, not allowing her to rise any further. But it didn’t last, she found herself back inside her body once again, the fear and pain returning, she could see the figure running away. Her neighbour had been killed in the attack. Alexa was taken to hospital and began her very long road to recovery.

She ultimately testified in court along with many witnesses and her attacker was sentenced to life in prison. Alexa, has chosen to live a life free of hatred, filled with forgiveness and overflowing with courage. She now does public speaking, helping women who have been through crisis to bring comfort and support and she also speaks at prisons, helping to shed light and conform (I can only imagine the courage it must take to go there).

18222291_1441246972617094_5356522804560979484_n

Her Art

Alexa has always had a love for art, but even more so since her attack. Her colours are even more vivid and her illustrations even more charismatic. She is also a remarkable story teller. The biography features letters she has written to her neighbour since the attack as a form of therapy.  It’s through these letters that you start to see the true artist behind artwork. She is a very talented writer and painter.

You can view her cloth work on her Facebook page Colours of Africa Cloth or via her website.

I can’t wait to commission her to create a memory cloth for my own family; it’s a beautiful way to hold onto our stories and memories.

Thanks

My thanks go out to Alexa Kirsten for sharing your story with such strength and grace. You are truly an inspirational woman and one simply cannot come across your story and remain unchanged.

Debra Hunter, for writing Alexa’s story.

My friend Kerry for boldly sharing her mother’s story with us.

IMG_0820 copy

” I begin to understand a little more of why God allowed me back and gave me another shot at life – this is indeed a violent, fearful and angry land. With so much bitterness and hatred, it is so easy to become part of the negative talk and situation. I was able to put this to these men, the fear and hatred that abounds outside the prison walls – from people who have been violated and traumatised by the things that they had done – their crimes. The ordinary people live in fear – fear for themselves and their loved ones, people who are shocked by the terrible, unbelievable awful things that happen these days.I pray with all my heart that my story, told to these, the most unlovely of men, might touch their hearts and that they may turn from their old lives, that they may make restitution with those whose lives they have destroyed, with themselves, and ultimately with God himself.” – Alexa Kirsten

28852_382794355129033_1191666191_n

The Kirsten family still lives happily in South Africa and cherishes everyday, even Great- Grandmother Lexie is doing well at 103.4 years old!

I hope this story has inspired you as much as it did me.

xoxo,

la

Inspiring Artist: Banksy

IACW - Banksy - 4507

If you read my post a couple months back about urban art, you know I’m pretty inspired by street art. During our visit with our Kiwi friends this past week we talked a lot about the culture of street art here in Israel. The graffiti art that gets the most exposure outside of Israel are the pieces painted on the wall dividing Israel and the West Bank. One of the most well known contributors is the artist Banksy. It just so happens that we noticed a billboard of his art and our friends were interested in seeing some of his work.

“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” ― Banksy

I had heard of the name before, but I was unaware of how pivotal Banksy has been in the world of street art. Although he originated in the UK, Banksy has painted several pieces on the wall and recently created the Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem. We were thrilled to find out that the billboard was advertising (in Hebrew) his pop up gallery running the month April at one of our local malls. It was truly meant to be!

IACW - Banksy - 4455.jpg

The exhibit at the Arena Mall, runs three different 4-hour time slots where visitors can peruse and admire several pieces of Banksy’s work all curated by his former spokesperson (and friend) Steve Lazarides. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door.

IACW - Banksy_4462.jpg

Although, the artist is anonymous, there are tidbits out there about him, all with the disclaimer that everything “known” has never been confirmed or denied. What is known is that Banksy has changed the genre of street art into art for the high-end consumer. There are stories of Banksy walls being dismantled and sold for millions. It is truly amazing that something that can be seen as vandalism to some is also fine art to others.

IACW - Banksy - 4481.jpg

As a political activist, Banksy gives a voice to people being oppressed and marginalized in the public arena and challenges the viewer to think beyond their sphere. He is also known for pranking and producing exhibits that push the limits of being socially acceptable. These include his very own theme park Dismaland and his Hang-and-Run prank where he vandalized faux masterpieces and hung them in museums around the world. He is edgy, anarchic, and he frankly does not care about offending others. Take it or leave it, laugh or ignore it. With anonymity it is easy to let the art speak for itself. In addition to the work itself, Banksy has produced documentaries and self published several books making his art even more accessible to the masses.

“People either love me or they hate me, or they don’t really care.”                 ―Banksy, Wall and Piece

IACW - Banksy - 4482.jpg

What I like most about Banksy’s style is the juxtaposition of gritty and innocent; bows on helicopters, little girls and soldiers, and bombers with bouquets of flowers. Specifically, my favorite piece is the showcased Girl and the Red [or Gold] Balloon.

IACW - Banksy - 4517

IACW - Banksy - 4476

IACW - Banksy - 4470

If you are in the Tel Aviv area I urge you to visit the gallery see if his work speaks to you. Also, as the title of one Banksy’s documentaries reminds us, don’t forget to Exit Through the Gift Shop.

IACW - Banksy - 5022

Let us know if you have seen any of Banksy’s work, we would love to hear what you thought! 

Cheers,
kdg

Referenceswikepedia / quotes

Book Review: Grace, Not Perfection – embracing simplicity, celebrating joy

A dear friend of mine came back from her December holidays and planted this book proudly on my living room table and said,“It’s beautifully designed and she’s so inspiring I just know you’ll love it.” Thanks, Viv, you were so right!

1IMG_0365

Once upon a time, I enjoyed an amazing career in advertising for many years, traveling to countries such as Mozambique, Romania, Spain, and Lebanon to name a few. Then 3 months after getting married, I fell pregnant with my first child. I had never planned on becoming a house wife! I had never even taken Home Ec at school! After a good dose of humble pie and a whole heap of life lessons, this book was such a welcome read for me. It put into words so many of the things I have felt and faced living this new creative mom life path.

“The most important work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home” – Harold B. Lee

Shortly after Viv shared the book with me, Katie was sharing her hurting, over committed, overwhelmed, and stressed out heart with me, and I told her she needed to read this book. It took her a few months (and more than a few nudges), but she finally ordered it. I just knew that Emily’s story, her way with words, and the gorgeous, clean design would speak to her, as it did for me.

The author, Emily Ley, is a designer, wife and mom of 3 little ones. With degrees in English, Marketing, and Public Relations, she launched her own brand in 2008. In 2011 Emily created The Simplified Planner® for busy working moms like herself and has grown from strength to strength with global success.

1IMG_03731IMG_0374

Along with practical tools and tips on how to simplify your life, Emily shares her testimony. Through the stories she weaves so eloquently, the reader can see that her strength and wisdom come from her Christian faith and upbringing. It is essential to her overcoming the battle for perfection and turning her focus to gratitude and grace. It is authentic and honest, not pushy, and we believe most readers will appreciate her openness, Christian or not.

There are so many great quotes that resonated with both of us throughout the book. Some that inspired us to declutter and set priorities, and others that reaffirmed us. It is truly a wonderful book that motivates, challenges, and loves on the reader.

Here are some take aways that spoke to us and influenced us for the better:

• Perfect doesn’t always equal worthy.

• Give yourself permission to slow down.

• Fiercely guard the pages of your calendar.

• It’s ok to say NO, not just is it ok, it is very necessary.

• Make sure you are taking time for yourself so that you can pour out sweet water to your people.

• Decluttering and organizing your life will make room for more joy.

• Don’t miss the joys hidden between the grand moments in life.

• Free your hands. Lock the phone in the drawer. Everything else can wait. 

• Home days are as important as playdates.

• Eliminate distractions, especially the digital ones; they are time-suckers. Turn off notifications and check your email when you want to, and try keeping your social media app out of site.

• Grace and gratitude go hand in hand.

• Mommy guilt is a liar and comparison steals joy.

“Mommy guilt. It’s an epidemic. The working mom, the part-time mom, the stay-at-home mom, the super-mom, the room mom, the traditional mom, the modern mom, the helicopter mom, the tiger mom. No one is immune when mommy guilt rears it’s ugly head to whisper the lie that we’re somehow failing our children.” – Emily Ley

We have both recommended this book to the moms we know looking for balance, more joy, and ultimately grace in their mess. Each of them receiving it with the same gratitude that we did. Feeling liberated in knowing that WE ARE ENOUGH! 

1IMG_0377

“Ultimately simplifying allows us to slow down enough to savor this life” – Emily Ley

So in the spirit of simplifying and pursing joy, let’s agree to not rush these days away – our kids are growing up so fast as it is. Let’s take the time to appreciate the little things, find the joy between the grand moments, pursue our calling, and a be present in each season of life. Seek Grace, not perfection.

We both highly recommend this book, so when you give it a read, tell us what you think. Did it change your perspective or inspire you?

happy reading,

la-kdg-signature

Mindful Friendship & Inspiration

I have this friend we will call her Ms. Stacy, like the kiddos do. She is a super talented and energetic. She is one of those friends you like to have around because their enthusiasm for life is infectious and encouraging, so much so, that she has the power to encourage you right into volunteering for the Parent Teacher Association (PTA),  (of which she is the president). Yup, she hooked me the first day I met her.

IACW - Vicky1.jpg

In addition, to being the PTA president and a personal trainer, Ms, Stacy is a teacher. This year she started her journey into teaching a mindfulness class at the American International School here in Israel. If you haven’t heard of mindfulness yet, you will, it is reaching schools across the world now. It is a method of intentionality and meditation. In kids they are using it help them put words to their feelings, learn how to help themselves settle down, self-soothe, and a number of things I wish I had learned when I was little.

IACW - Vicky2.jpg

In January, she asked me to assist her with branding her Mindfulness curriculum; of course, I was honored. Then in February she successfully launched her ‘Zen Den’ in the elementary school. Each class has a Zen Den sign to post on their door as they practice 5 minutes of mindfulness using videos she developed. The students love it! She has had parents telling her that their kids are coming home sharing what Ms. Stacy had taught them and the parents are trying it out too. I’m so proud of her; she is helping shape our kids into better, kinder, and more conscientious, intentional people.

IACW - Vicky3.jpg

She is also helping and challenging me to be better. Like most moms, I am woken up in the middle of the night by children, to-do lists, or simply a sound in the house that might be the children.  In the past couple weeks I have been plagued by these wake-ups and and could not peacefully go back to sleep. When I shared this with her, she challenged me to use the mindfulness technique of equanimity. Equanimity is calmness and level-headedness. In practice it means that you allow each thought to have equal value- not right or wrong, good or bad, just all equal. She suggested that I let bombarding thoughts float like a cloud over me, to not attack them as wrong or praise them as right, but to let them be and float away. It worked. I peacefully drifted back to sleep.

The concept of mindfulness is natural for me, possibly due to my faith and prayer life, years of yoga practice, or maybe simply because I love a good visualization. For a visual person, like Lindy-Ann alluded to in her post about raising artbrains, we see everything. Providing us a description of something we can picture in our minds brings it to life in a new way. Growing up I was always told to “think before you speak” and “slow down,” but without these tools I didn’t know how to. Now in my thirties, it’s clicking and I can share these techniques with my kids establish these good foundations in their thought-life.

I asked her to share one of her Mindfulness videos with us. I hope you take a moment to try it and let us know what you think. Did it help? 

Mindful Script Credit: CounselorChelsey, TPT Photo credit: Lucinda Keeler Foster, Music credit: unknown

Namaste,

kdg

Inspiring Artist: William Kentridge

pic 1

31_Perspective-view-of-William-Kentridge-Triumphs-and-Laments-Work-in-Progress-01_Photo-by-Luciano-Sebastiano-1
Photo by Sebastian Luciano

I remember being in high school, in South Africa, at 17 years of age and we went on a field trip to the Pretoria Art Museum. As an art student we had been learning about William Kentridge. His work was proudly on display that hot summer day in Pretoria. I had very little knowledge and appreciation for the greatness of the artist at the time. And I never gave it another thought passed our final exams that year.

Last year my husband and I went to Rome for a second honeymoon. You know the kind, where you are finally done being pregnant and are finally out of the baby phase of life and you can now start to enjoy your spouse a little bit more with your children getting more and more independent…

DSC_0353 copy.jpg

Anyway, I digress, it was during this trip to Rome that I came across the great wall of ‘Triumphs and Laments’ – the brief history of Rome. It gave me a vague feeling of nostalgia, and a strange familiarity, yet I had never seen it before. It was later, during a BBC interview with Mr. Kentridge that I connected the dots and his story came alive for me.

pic 2

This piece is a 550m long frieze (erased from the biological patina on the Tiber embankment walls of Rome’s urban waterfront). It consists of more than 80 figures, up to 10m high and represents a silhouetted procession of Rome’s greatest triumphs and tragedies. To celebrate its launch, he and his long-time collaborator, the South African composer Philip Miller, devised a series of performances featuring live shadow play and more than 40 musicians.

The hope is that, [as] people walk the extent of these 500 meters, they will see images of the history they find both familiar and transformed in some way. And this will reflect the complex way in which a city is represented… We are trying to find the triumph in the lament and the lament in the triumph, putting together a sense of history from fragments.’ – William Kentridge

William Kentridge was born in 1955 in Johannesburg, South Africa and still resides there today. Both his parents were attorneys during the apartheid era and they represented the oppressed and marginalised.  This explains where he gets his political slant from. With a strong artistic voice he is able to communicate what we think and feel during turbulent times over tabu subjects. He makes you think, holds you accountable, and inspires you to do something – to make a change. He calls us out. Whether we are guilty or not.

Short film – Felix in Exile:

At first he wanted to be an actor, gave it a good try but when he realised he was failing, he went back to his first consistent love, drawing. Eventually, he became comfortable calling himself an artist and he has never looked back since. More than just art for arts sake (which there is nothing wrong with by the way) he genuinely has content that makes political leaders squirm in their seats. He took his charcoal drawings to another level and started to create short films – successive charcoal drawings, always on the same sheet of paper, contrary to the traditional animation technique in which each movement is drawn on a separate sheet. In this way, Kentridge’s videos and films came to keep the traces of the previous drawings. His animations deal with political and social themes from a personal and, at times, autobiographical point of view.

On the art market, Kentridge’s artworks are among the most sought-after and expensive works in South Africa: “a major charcoal drawing by world-renowned South African artist William Kentridge could set you back some £250 000”. Kentridge is represented by Marian Goodman Gallery in New York, however over the years he has also had work in all the major galleries around the world, including the Louve, Paris.

The South African record for Kentridge is R2.2 million ($250,000), sold at Stephan Welz in Cape Town in 2010. One of his works reached $600,000 at Sotheby’s New York in 2011.

The above images were photographed from a Phaidon Publication.

Mr. Kentridge is a truly inspiring artist to follow and one I am deeply proud as a fellow South African.There is just so much more to him, than I have shared here, so I encourage you to look out for him in book stores and galleries near you. May be he will challenge how you see the world and history.

Cheers,

la

Kirrily Morris – Cultural Photographer

15844215_228869567560208_875271169444122493_o-copy

I once followed Kirrily through the old souk here in Kuwait. I watched her as she engaged her targets with a polite confidence, calm and cool. They of course were all too thrilled that a little blonde Westerner wanted to take their photos. Many in return taking selfies with her which she happily played along too. “Well if I take pictures of them, why not let them take pictures of me” she said. I remember how uncomfortable I started to get when the fish market started to fill up and fight for our (her) attention and when I felt like going in the opposite direction, thinking yup this is our time to exit, she walked further into the crowd happily snapping away. It is this type of personality that is so very rare and makes this Cultural Photographer, Kirrily Morris, so very special.

17038690_255775694869595_3788466476560266976_o-copy

She is a mum, a wife with a business degree and someone who flirted with interior design.

Finding her passion for cultural photography she is mostly self taught, Kirrily has started studying through the New York Institute of photography where she is getting to know the finer details of her craft.

14940157_195165844263914_7561597270288304633_o-copy

This Aussi girl who calls the UK home, but lives in Kuwait at present, is currently working on building an image library of what makes Kuwait beautiful. I’m not talking flowers and street art (although that certainly plays a role). I’m talking real people, the soul of the country. The Culture! This is what one misses the most when they move on from this expat post, and this is what she is so beautifully photographing.

16665832_246451315802033_2072018493027886557_o-copy

Her work introduces one culture to another, it breaks down any social boundaries that may exist and leaves the viewer feeling attached to the subject in frame. Wanting to know more. I find myself lingering over her images trying to pick them apart, trying to make sense of it all. And I love that!

15000673_199102133870285_335549541408396024_o-copy16665597_246451389135359_7246105637085059842_o-copy

Kirrily’s photographs are available for purchase as stock photography and artwork. She is also in the process of putting together a Kuwait photography book of her favorite images. She is very active on Instagram and you can follow her cultural journey and connect with her there  @kirrilymorrisphotography.

15069103_206575743122924_8632043620895561618_o copy.jpg

I can’t wait to follow this talented, fresh photographer as she travels between Kuwait and the rest of the world capturing cultures and sharing them with us.

Cheers,

la

Ghadah Alkandari

They say the best revenge to any break up is success. If that is the case then Ghadah Alkandari has won this round. This Kuwaiti artist and blogger has shone both locally and internationally and most recently at the Contemporary Art Platform in Kuwait.

1dsc_1020

She found herself in an isolating, lonely place after the loss of a long term relationship and started making these simply gorgeous, perfectly put together paper Polyhedra. One after the other they kept coming. In brilliant combinations of striking colours and patterns, each one took 1 hour to fold and construct. I walked into the first room at the CAP and I was greeted by the first installation called ‘Until Love’. The title represents her personal journey of recovering from hurt and searching for new love. She vowed to make these complex polyhedra until love came around again. It is amazing to think of  the thoughts and emotions must have gone into each of them over a two year span and here they lay in front of me on the floor, perfect, fragile and unapologetic.

1dsc_09771dsc_0997

Her art work progressed effortlessly as I walked into the second gallery. Moving from these complex structures of individualism, suppression, and isolation, to her collection of paint on canvas, titled ‘Until.’

Ghadah takes us on an emotional journey alright. From the jagged, hard lines of raw emotion to more flowing lines in her acrylic on canvas works. These, second phase works, if you will, feel more calm, open and gentle. They speak of friendships and new relationships formed – of empowerment, support, company, and in the end fulfillment.

I adore this artist, besides being a brilliantly talented visual communicator, she has an amazing relationship with colour and she is able to inspire her audience while telling her very human story.

Her exhibition will  be running until February 22 so head on over. You don’t want to miss this. The Contemporary Art Platform can be found on the mezzanine floor of the Lifestyle Centre in Shuwaikh Industrial area, Block 2, str 28.

Pop on over to her blog ‘Prettygreenbullet’ to get inspired as well.

Cheers!

la