For this year’s Spring-Summer collections presented at SPFW, the Afro Brazil Museum in São Paulo hosted a show featuring the latest works of several African fashion designers using all black models. For me, this is a great idea. Brazil insists on de facto segregation in so many areas of society that I see nothing wrong with essentially a separate event for black models. True integration is supposed to signal equality and as we’ve seen time and time again in numerous countries, groups that have power will never realistically share this power. In my view, activists need to stop deceiving themselves. Rather than always pushing for integration why not simply establish alternatives?
Look closely, these frilly mushrooms are made of books. Although they look like something Alice might’ve encountered during her adventures in Wonderland, they’re the creation of Chicago-based visual artist Melissa Jay Craig. Entitled (S)Edition, this delightfully strange installation features 99 books made to look like common Amanita muscaria mushrooms. Each bookshroom is made of cast and hand-shaped abaca, also known as manilla help, embellished with cotton rag paper.
Fungus is an agent of change. I’m fascinated with its myriad forms, and I love to go in search of it. I can become more excited by discovering a beautiful fungal growth than by perusing artwork ‘discovered’ for us by curators in contemporary museums. When I was a child, the first time I had the intriguing feeling that the planet carried messages (texts, if you will) for those who were curious enough to look, was when I came upon a group of Amanita Muscaria, huddled together in a dark, secret space under tall pines.