As a young man, Rohit Oza joined his father on photography trips through the streets and coastlines of the African island of Zanzibar.
Now 62-years-old, Oza is still walking in his father’s footsteps. He runs the photography shop Capital Art Studio, which his father first opened in Stone Town, Zanzibar, in 1930. Alongside his father’s photographs, he displays his own images of the same locations today, compiling a treasure trove of past and present portraits of the East African island.
Rebecca Crook, an American school principal working in South Africa, discovered Capital Art Studio on a recent trip to Zanzibar and documented its work in a beautiful photo series posted on her Instagram account.
Today we’re joined by Flavia Rose. Flavia is an incredibly talented and versatile artist whose sheer range is truly amazing. She does sculpture, documentary films, theater, graphic design, photography, and laser cut jewellery. As if that’s not impressive enough, she also has a blog she co-runs that’s a literary analysis of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics. Color me impressed. The pictures of her work show remarkable skill and dedication. This is an artist who has a bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
NOTE: Please go to the WordPress site to see even more of Flavia’s art.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m a generalist, I dabble in a lot of different mediums. My main areas of interest are graphic design, wearable art and technology, and documentary filmmaking. I also love working in theatre, photography, and I’ve recently started designing jewelry. I love anything visual and I’m happiest when I’m making something. Some of my favourite projects recently have been a ukulele that lights up when you play it, and a collection of female dwarf beard designs that, in my opinion, should have been in the Hobbit.
What inspires you?
I love to travel, I collect ideas and inspiration from wherever I go. I did a big trip around the UK and Europe in 2013 and I’m still processing all the ideas I got from my adventures.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I think I always knew that I was going to spend a life making things. I grew up with a maskmaker for a mother and so it was a very creative household. We’d solve problems by making things, and so I got very used to the trials of the creative process very quickly. I was never quite sure what type of artist I wanted to be, but that was probably because a lot of the areas I work in now weren’t even invented when I was a child. Or at least, laser cutting and 3D animation weren’t really discussed over a New Zealand 1990s dinner table.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?
Recently I’ve been gravitating towards projects featuring complex, interesting women. This goes for both personal and group work, and also applies to the characters the project features and the women I work with. Recently I had the immense privilege of working in a queer feminist theatre collective. We had this moment of realization where we were like, “Wow, how often does it happen that the director, writer, and sound, set and lighting designers are all women?” Women and LGBTQIA+ people are still grossly underrepresented in making film and theatre, so it’s important for me that I work on projects that have good representation.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Keep making things and don’t stop. One of the best things I heard as an aspiring artist was that, when you start out, there’s a gap between your hands (skills) and your head (ambition). So maybe you’re making things and you’re a little bit disappointed with what you’ve made because it doesn’t quite match up with what you imagined it would be. The only way to get through that is to keep making things, and the gap will close. Don’t be discouraged! Surround yourself with art that you love and create stuff that makes you happy.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I’ve definitely encountered ignorance. Once I told a photography tutor that I was interested in doing a photographic essay on asexual people – he asked me, “is that people who reproduce with themselves?”. When I come out to people I usually find myself answering a Q&A session because most people in New Zealand, at least, haven’t heard of it before.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
The good ol’ “you haven’t met the right person yet”.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Trust yourself. What you feel is valid.
The most valuable piece of advice anyone ever gave me was, “you don’t have to like anyone.” No one had ever said that to me before – instead they said things like “we need to get you a boyfriend”. For someone to tell me, “No, it’s fine, you don’t have to conform to the expectations that people push onto you” was incredibly freeing for me.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Meet Eric Edwards, A Brooklyn-based African Art Collector Seeking to Launch A Black-Owned African Art Museum in New York.
The art world and the that of art collecting specifically, is no stranger to racism. Walk through the insides of museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Belgium,
Sainsbury African Galleries in the British Museum in London, and Paris’ Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro, amongst many others, and you‘ll be greeted with countless African artworks often numbering in the 100s, on display in these locations.
Then, of course, there are the stories about how these works of art found their way there in the first place. Though some were bought, under what circumstances that remain questionable, many were looted and stolen throughout European colonialism in Africa. One of the most infamous examples of this was during the Benin Expedition of 1897 where British troops destroyed and looted Benin Bronzes belonging to the Benin Empire in modern-day Nigeria.
In this new short documentary from New York City-based filmmaker Mark Zemel, we meet and enter the Clinton Hill apartment of former AT&T executive Eric Edwards, a man whose home is host to an estimated $10 million 1,600-piece collection of African art, that encompasses 54 African countries and goes back as far as the Nubian empire, amongst many other things.
Collecting African art for over 40 years, Edwards has always been a collector of sorts but was particularly drawn to works from Africa through his father’s deep sense of Pan-African and Black Consciousness, “My father knew that we [his kids] would experience racism, and he
wanted to basically inoculate us from feeling less important or inferior than anyone else. So his
way of doing that was to teach us African history, which later in life
led me to collecting African art.”
Motivated and inspired by his father, Edwards seeks to open up his collection to the world beyond this 4-minute documentary. In a bid to secure his collection once beyond his own lifetime, Edwards is currently looking for funders and backers to assist in his launching of The Cultural Museum of African Art, an African art museum in Brooklyn. Architect Rodney Léon, who designed the African Burial Ground National Monument in Manhattan, is one of them, so far.
The Collector is the start to an incredibly important meeting of worlds in both art and history.
‘MADE BY HAND’ is a short documentary about the handmade art culture featuring the works and words of some of Melbourne’s game changing young artists.
I am incredibly nervous to unveil this to the world. This project was very challenging, I have little to no experience filming, editing, directing people, finding nice music etc etc. But to every one fault and frustration I encountered with this project, I have ten incredible memories from undertaking it. That’s 1:10, which if you’re good at maths you will know means I had a way good time making this.
While studying I’ve found that if I set a goal for myself that more than three people tell me I won’t be able to achieve in time, I will work very very hard to prove them wrong. I’ve certainly made myself proud by starting and finishing this, and I know for a fact that I will look back on this in 5 years and be incredibly chuffed with myself.
I have to start a new paragraph to fangirl over the absolute superstars who feature in this documentary. I cannot thank you enough for your time, patience, hospitality and good energy. Every time I was on my way to meet one of you for the first time, I said a little prayer that people in this industry are so welcoming and positive and as I packed up my equipment and said my endless thank you’s and goodbyes, I said another big prayer that I had the audacity to ask in the first place. I had so much fun with all of you, and will forever be bragging about getting this opportunity. I’m going to make a list of everyone in this film who you should check out because each and every person who touched this made it infinitely better. That also goes for George and Miles, who trusted me with their music and my friend Sarah Maunder who did her second voiceover for one of my uni videos and sat with me while I did the final editing. I really hope you all like this and can be as proud of it as I am.
I have watched it around 10,000 times and still feel like I am clinging to the last shreds of it (adding more footage, changing the volume of everything too many times, finessing over titles) so please be kind in your judgement of my film skills and focus your attention on the artist babes and good tunes.
Thank you for watching, let me know what you think and please go and check out all the artists featured! :~)
Magic and secret societies play an important role in society of Sierra Leone and Liberia. It is something that is everywhere and part of politics, culture and religion. Secret societies can be found in all levels of society. Magic and the fight against witchcraft is one major reason that the secret societies are so influential. All secret societies are using herbs and ceremonies to fight against the witchcraft. Witched people or children are being persecuted by a special healers union and even killed in some occasions. In the villages there are bush schools and dancing devel ceremonies. A portrait of mystical Sierra Leone, meeting traditional priests, hidden societies and magical healers.
Video: Sol LeWitt, a new documentary film by Chris Teerink, produced by Icarus Films, addresses the rich philosophy behind the artist’s work. To see times and locations for Sol LeWitt screenings, click here.
One of my first photographs which got published in natgeoyourshot Daily Dozen was made in Jaipur, India. A hub for tourists all around the world, famous for its ancient history and beautiful forts. There was this place in the old city of Jaipur where local people feed grains in large amount to the birds and hundreds of Pigeons come and eat. It was magical when those pigeons flew over me. I already knew what I wanted to capture and waited for the birds to take a flight and captured this long exposure moment.
May 17: Catch the premiere of Eva Hesse, a documentary portrait of the artist rendered through archival footage, recently uncovered still imagery, and intimate shots of Hesse’s extraordinary art. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion about the artist’s work and legacy in contemporary art.
Eva Hesse in front of Expanded Expansion, 1969. Anti-Illusion: Procedures/Materials (May 19-July 6, 1969). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Photograph: Frances Mulhall Achiles Library, Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.
Filmed in late 2012, Maya Lin discusses her marble sculpture series, “Disappearing Bodies of Water,” at her Manhattan studio with Art21. As a young woman growing up in Athens, Ohio, Lin staged protests against environmental crimes and cruelties. She continues to be an activist today, using her art to encourage closer examination of the natural world.
Courtesy of Gianfranco Gorgoni and Getty Research Institute
A New Documentary Sheds Light on the ‘Troublemakers’ of Land Art
Isolation may be the essence of land art, as the director and art historian James Crump says, but if the soaring views of earthworks - straddling canyons; riddled with lightning - in his new documentary are any indication, the genre’s second nature is wonder.
My name is Dario Dunaj, I’m twenty five and living in Zagreb, Croatia. Love towards photography grew together with my love for skateboarding. I started with cheaper cameras, recording amateur skate videos. Later, in high school, it developed in the way that I captured everything around me that drew my attention. Two years ago I discovered Instagram and that’s where my creative thinking began, photo editing and everything else that relates in a logical way, with a lot of experimenting.
Like most amateur photographers, I take photos of various genres - B&W, street art, skateboarding, lifestyle, abandoned places, buildings, factories and nature. I hope my love towards photography will grow in a more professional way and that I will, one day, be able to make a living from it.