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An archive of inspiration, negotiating the world through artistic intervention

Subotzky’s book on Pointe City is finally being released tomorrow! I deeply respect and admire their careful, compassionate and deeply conscious relationship to the communities they work with, and their approach to photography as a whole. Hear Subotzky speak through poetry and empathy on his work at a TEDx talk here.

Mikhael Subotzky & Patrick Waterhouse: Pointe City, Johannesberg South Africa.

Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse spent much of the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 engaged in the quixotic task of taking a photograph out of every window, of every internal door, and of every television-set in Ponte City. This circular 54-story building has been the subject of their three-year investigation of its structure and its position as the crucible of Johannesburg´s urban mythology.

Pointe City Background (from Artist’s Website):

The fifty-four-storey Ponte City building dominates Johannesburg’s skyline, its huge blinking advertising crown visible from Soweto in the south to Sandton in the north. When it was built in 1976 – the year of the Soweto uprisings – the surrounding flatlands of Berea, Hillbrow and Yeoville were exclusively white, and home to young middle-class couples, students and Jewish grandmothers. Ponte City was separated by apartheid urban planning from the unforgettable events of that year. But as the city changed in anticipation and response to the arrival of democracy in 1994, many residents joined the exodus towards the supposed safety of the northern suburbs, the vacated areas becoming associated with crime, urban decay and, most of all, the influx of foreign nationals from neighbouring African countries.

Ponte’s iconic structure soon became a symbol of the downturn in central Johannesburg. The reality of the building and its many fictions have always integrated seamlessly into a patchwork of myths and projections that reveals as much about the psyche of the city as it does about the building itself. Tales of brazen crack and prostitution rings operating from its car parks, four storeys of trash accumulating in its open core, snakes, ghosts and frequent suicides have all added to the building’s legend. Some of these stories are actually true, and for quite some time most of the residents were indeed illegal immigrants. And yet, one is left with the feeling that even the building’s notoriety is somewhat exaggerated – that its decline is just as fictional as its initial utopian intentions were misplaced and unrealized. 

>continue reading overview

Also see Subotzky’sother projects here, and here

halftheskymovement:

Approximately 1,200 indigenous Canadian women have been murdered or gone missing since 1980. Furthermore, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) report in May found aboriginal women account for 16% of female homicides and 11% of missing women despite only making up 4.3% of the country’s population. There has been little public inquiry into the high rate of murdered First Nations women and Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been quoted as saying the deaths should be viewed as individual crimes and not as a “sociological phenomenon.” 
The hashtag #AMINext is putting more pressure on the government to investigate the unusually high death rates. Holly Jarrett began the campaign after her cousin, Loretta Saunders was found dead in February in New Brunswick. Since the campaign’s launch, more than 2,600 have tweeted the hashtag.
Read more via BBC.

halftheskymovement:

Approximately 1,200 indigenous Canadian women have been murdered or gone missing since 1980. Furthermore, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) report in May found aboriginal women account for 16% of female homicides and 11% of missing women despite only making up 4.3% of the country’s population. There has been little public inquiry into the high rate of murdered First Nations women and Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been quoted as saying the deaths should be viewed as individual crimes and not as a “sociological phenomenon.” 

The hashtag #AMINext is putting more pressure on the government to investigate the unusually high death rates. Holly Jarrett began the campaign after her cousin, Loretta Saunders was found dead in February in New Brunswick. Since the campaign’s launch, more than 2,600 have tweeted the hashtag.

Read more via BBC.

(via humanrightswatch)

Jason Larkin : Tremors Below (2014)

Tremors Below deals with the people and landscape of Rustenburg which is home to 90% of the worlds platinum reserves. This vital metal is mined by some of the worlds largest companies and employees over 70,000 people in the area, nearly all of whom were on strike for over four months in the longest workers struggle South Africa has seen. As well as the ongoing strike, it was the fourth presidential elections this year, and mid August was the 2nd year anniversary of the Marikana massacre in which the police killed 34 striking miners.

As well as revisiting that horrific moment in South Africa’s history, which has been largely distorted across the world, we explored the environment in which these miners live and work within, the political unease at the ANC and the newer political groups which have been making some serious headway with the miners and their families. It’s a story that deals with much of what is going wrong in South Africa’s economy and political environment, and how much of the population is still left by the sidelines waiting for real change to take place.

Jason Larkin: Invisible City

A city within a city, built in the morning light, and which disappears with the last of the day. An infinite and intertwining network of commerce colliding for just a few hours a week.” ‘Invisible City’ Italo Calvino.

This story is an exploration of the myriad people, objects and spaces that make up Cairo’s Souq El-Gomma, the Middle East’s largest informal market gathering. Every Friday this trading metropolis materialises, with no formal direction or control, no one idea and ultimately no boundaries, it encompasses the aperture between the living city and the city of the dead. Colonised by the economically marginalised the trade is in the detritus of the city, here Cairo’s flotsam and jetsam is sorted, salvaged and sold on. This organic and dynamic entity offers up a window into the lives of other people and more fundamentally a window into the life of the city itself.

Commissioned by The National M Magazine. Published in Sowar Magazine, Ojopedez.

Peter Magubane (South Africa)

Mugabane started his career in 1955 in the midst of apartheid in South Africa. He started his career in 1955, when he joined Drum magazine. This took Magubane and his camera to the heart of the anti-apartheid defiance campaigns and treason trials. However, at the time the official press venues were restricted to white photographers only. Not being allowed to carry a camera in the open, he had to hide his camera in a hollowed out Bible, loaf of bread, or empty milk carton to get the shots he needed.

On June 1969 he was arrested and held for 586 days in solitary confinement without being charged with a crime.

On his release, he was banned from photography for five years and had to resign from the Rand Daily Mail.

In 1971, he was rearrested and sentenced to a further 123 days for contravening the banning order, prompting the newspaper to run a feature, Magubane, The Man Who Does Not Exist.

However his coverage of the June 16 Soweto student uprisings  circumnavigated the globe, earning him international acclaim and made him an icon of the struggle. On this day 3000 and 10 000 students mobilized by the Soweto Students Representative Council’s Action Committee supported by the BCM marched peacefully to demonstrate and protest against the government’s directive. The march was meant to culminate at a rally in Orlando Stadium. However, on their pathway they were met by heavily armed police who fired teargas and later live ammunition on demonstrating students. This resulted in a widespread revolt that turned into an uprising against the government. While the uprising began in Soweto, it spread across the country and carried on until the following year.

When a group of young men approached him demanding that he stop taking photos he said ‘Struggle without documentation is not struggle. I’m not asking for myself only; I’m asking for anybody that has a camera documenting this struggle. You must let them work.’”

The aftermath of the events of June 16 1976 had dire consequences for the Apartheid government. Images of the police firing on peacefully demonstrating students led an international revulsion against South Africa as its brutality was exposed. Meanwhile, the weakened and exiled liberation movements received new recruits fleeing political persecution at home giving impetus to the struggle against Apartheid.

His worldwide acclaim for his work led to a number of international photographic and journalistic awards, one of which was the American National Professional Photographers Association Humanistic Award in 1986, in recognition of one of several incidents in which he put his camera aside and intervened to help prevent people from being killed.

He also took photographs for several United Nations agencies, including the High Commission for Refugees and UNICEF, being particularly committed to exposing the plight of children and documenting traditional societies. His photographs have appeared in Life magazine, the New York Times, National Geographic and Time magazine.

Magubane was a fighter. He thrived on the challenge. And in 1990 his hard work was rewarded when Mandela personally chose him as his official photographer.

Further reading via conciousness.zb

NYT interview on his current work

Recent exhibition on child labor

*forgive the length of this post. Tumblr coverage of his work is sorely lacking so i feel compelled to give more context.

Paintings by Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Richard Yukenbarri Tjakamarra, Dorothy Napangardi and Nancy Noonju.

Australian aboriginal paintings that dream with the land, grass, yam and rivers. Dreaming is a term used by Aborigines to describe the relations and balance between the spiritual, natural and moral elements of the world. It is an English word but its meaning goes beyond any suggestion of a spiritual or dream-related state. Rather, the Dreaming relates to a period from the origin of the universe to a time before living memory or experience - a time of creator ancestors and supernatural beings. -aboriginalartonline

Claudia Gaudelli: Women Boxers in Argentina
Artist Statement via lensculture:

This photoessay, “Women Boxers” was born from a desire to show women from an unusual perspective: fighting in the boxing ring. By highlighting a side of women that is commonly associated with masculinity—what many would even call a dark side—my hope is to broaden our perception of the limits of womanhood.

Each one of these female athletes has her own story but all of them shared something in common: humble origins and family environments in which the prevailing atmosphere was  need and poverty.

None of my subjects hailed from “conventional” families, or from nice homes with gardens,  or from airy apartments with balcony views. For these women, their past became their identity and situated them in a present where sacrifice, respect and love for boxing are the very air they breath. For these brave women, boxing is a form of art: the art of hitting and not being hit.

These athletes live a life of discipline and strict training. Every day when they get up, they are looking for a different future for themselves. They spend what free time they have on long commuter rides from poor, suburban neighborhoods, traveling for the chance to get in the ring.

They train every morning, sometimes evenings too, day after day. All of them are pouring their hearts out for the chance to fulfill a dream, a shot at the world championship.

This dream is what keeps them standing on their feet, this dream has kept them from falling, kept them waking up, training, struggling and fighting.

—Claudia Gaudelli

Riverboom: The Love Commandos; is a voluntary organization in India dedicated to helping India’s lovebirds who want to marry for love. They provide assistance in protecting couples, helping them fight harassment and giving them shelter so they can marry freely.

via Riverboom “A reward of Rs 50000 to kill us is still valid. Our crime is: we fell in love. We have been on the run since 2010 as our families are not ready to accept us as a couple. Had it not been for the Love Commandos we would not have been alive today”, explains Mehvish, 23.

In a land, where even Cupid would tread carefully, the Love Commandos, a volunteer organization, have taken the onus to protect couples from the animosity of their families. Operating from their HQ in the crowded area of Paharganj in North Delhi, the Love Commandos are a small team but have saved many couples. They fight against killers, resists police and battle against century long traditions that enrage entire villages. Lead by Sanjoy Sachdev and Harsh Malhotra this open group of activists helps these couples by organizing their break outs, filing their cases in court and protecting them from dangers, all in the name of Love.

Just last year, only in northern India, more than 900 young people were declared missing or dead. And it is to help such couples, who choose their life partner on their own that Love Commandos was born.

Infact, falling in love in India today can be a dangerous business. Most families do not accept the marriages, which are out of religion, caste or class. Families choose the bride or the groom and you don’t get married to a man or a woman but to their families.

But with more opportunities of education and the information age, things are rapidly changing and the young people refuse imposed marriages. Such couples end up living a life on the run, rather than spending their lives with someone they don’t love.

Even though marriages between people belonging to different classes, casts, or religions are permitted according to the Indian law, young couples who take this path often find themselves running away from those people who should love and protect them: their families.

Ending up chased by their relatives and often hunted down by assassins recruited by the Khap Panchayats, the Indian village councils that substitute the local government throughout the country, these young lovers have no choice other than to run away or find protection from the Love Commandos.

Disarming Design from Palestine


Disarming Design from Palestine is an inclusive design label that presents functional products from Palestine, that provide an alternative narrative from what you might usually find in the high street. The collection includes objects such as hourglasses that use cement from the separation wall, a dress made out of one keffiyeh, embroidered car decorations, scarfs depicting landscapes, olive leaves as earrings and an impossible chess game with water tanks and watch towers. The growing collection of products is presented on-line and through a traveling exhibition.* As a collection it aims to represent Palestinian culture in its current reality and reflect upon the function of art in situations of conflict.
The goods are developed, designed and produced by contemporary designers, artists and students in collaboration with local artisans and producers. During several ‘create-shops’ they engage in an enriching design dialogue with small emerging businesses and international colleagues. The project aims to catalyze the development of design as a discourse in Palestine.

More excerpts from the extremely beautiful “Subjective Atlas of Palestine" project. View the full publication via link.

About: The Dutch designer Annelys de Vet invited Palestinian artists, photographers and designers to map their country as they see it. Given their closeness to the subject, this has resulted in unconventional, very human impressions of the landscape and the architecture, the cuisine, the music and the poetry of thought and expression. The drawings, photographs, maps and narratives made for this atlas reveal individual life experiences, from preparing chickpeas to a manual on water pipe smoking, from historic dress to modern music. Pages containing humorous and caustic newspaper cartoons and invented Palestinian currency followed by colourful cultural diaries and moving letters from prisoners.

All in all, the contributions give an entirely different angle on a nation in occupied territory. In this subjective atlas it is the Palestinians themselves who show the disarming reverse side of the black-and-white image generally resorted to by the media.