I know very little about this sculpture that Damien Hirst has lent to the village of Ilfracombe in Devon, Britain. The Reuters caption on its images says “The 20 metre high bronze artwork depicting a naked pregnant woman holding a sword, has been loaned to the Devon seaside town for twenty years by the artist who lives locally.”
This is a representation of a strong, young woman reminiscent of Edgar Degas’s Little Dancer of Fourteen Years who is very close to term. She holds a sword and scales, traditional symbols of justice. On one side we see her naked, and on the other side of the statue we see her with her skin peeled back to reveal muscle, breast, bone and foetus. According to the BBC the town’s residents are split between liking it and hating it:
She has been called outrageous, immoral, bizarre, obscene, offensive, disgusting, grotesque, a monstrosity, of no artistic merit and demeaning to women.
Others see her as beautiful and unique, with the power to transform a town’s tired image and boost its economy.
I love it. What do you think?
This is old news. But for me the lighting up of the Nelson Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg was very moving. My aunt is dying of cancer. My 40-year-old cousin died earlier this year of breast cancer. My father died 4 years ago. An uncle and another, older cousin have also died of the disease.
This is an awful disease – it chews at the body either too slowly or too fast. And watching as it devours once healthy-looking bodies has been the hardest thing in my life. But death is part of life and becoming an adult is accepting that we are born to die. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t keep trying to prevent these premature deaths by more research into the nature of cancer and into possibly improving the often unsuccessful cures.
So back to the bridge. On October 2, I arrived late, not dressed glamorously in something pink as the invitation had stated we should be. I did apply some pink lipstick at the door when I saw that everybody else was magnificent in designer dresses and beautiful suits.
Estee Lauder is doing a great thing with their Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign. In 2000 Mrs Evelyn Lauder launched The BCA Campaign’s Global Landmarks Illuminations Initiative and over the years landmarks around the world have been light up in pink to call attention to breast health and early detection. This year is the first time that a South African landmark has been illuminated. And of course it was The Nelson Mandela Bridge that was lit up on October 2.
Alon Skuy took the picture.
Wow. The ELLE team really did a great job with their truly fabulous November cover. Isn’t it gorgeous? The Huffington Post had this to say about it:
The “Losing You” singer is captured on the November 2012 cover sporting bold colors and eye-catching prints, a combination that she iss known (and loved) for. The bright yellow background and Solange’s enviable curly hair add to the cover’s overall awesomeness–don’t you agree?
Solange told us during New York Fashion Week last month that the shoot would feature outfits created by South African fashion designers, and she didn’t disappoint. For the cover image, which was shot by Justin Polkey and styled by ELLE fashion editor Asanda Sizani, Solange is wearing a sleeveless satin top by Tart, high-waisted shorts by Loin Cloth & Ashes and two wrists full of extra large rope bracelets by Pichulik.
And here is the magazine’s press release: Read More…
Last Tuesday evening Lion Shriver the bestselling author of her novel, We Need to Talk About Kevin, came to the Troyeville Hotel in Johannesburg, as a guest of the book club there. I know this is of no literary importance at all, but she is much smaller, than I expected her to be. But petite in no way suggests a petite personality.
At first, I found her brittle and difficult. Her answers to the pre-talk cocktail hour questioning were monosyllabic. Let’s say she was an awkward guest to begin with. But once in the chair with a micro-phone in her hand, I found her fascinating. Not only because she had many things to say about school-killing sprees but because her politics seemed to me rather naive. She ranted against the IRA, totally unsympathetic to their cause. (Her latest book, New Republic, deals with terrorism.) There was very little in her discussion that suggested she agrees with the saying that “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”. She did however say that South Africa, the ANC particular, offered the world an exceptional case. Some would argue that many in the middle East (Palestinians) would have a similar case. In an answer to a question from the audience she did relent and agree that terrorism can be an expression of suffering.
In her discussion about Kevin she was interesting. She does very little research, most of it online, and said she was sad that the book is still relevant, that these spree-killings still take place.
Why they occur, according to her, is depressing and perhaps not entirely plausible. Her sense of the current crop of (US) teenagers is that if everybody isn’t noticing them, then they feel like nothing. Their self-worth is wrapped up with fame, or infamy which is far easier to achieve.
The media is responsible for this, she says. Why would you want to get straight As for Matric? You wouldn’t get noticed by a reporter. It’s far easier to attract attention when you do something illegal, something brutal, something shocking. And we as media consumers also love these murder stories far more than we do the stories of students achieving A aggregates.
I am sure the reasons for school killings are far more complex and nuanced than this, but during a short book launch this is the reason Shriver gave.
I know that we had this image on The Times front page on Thursday. But I need to put it here too. Newsprint didn’t do it justice. There are shades of grey (sorry about that awful reference) and of black and of white which don’t quite get through the newspaper printer. Did you notice the rat on Yo-landi’s head? Apparently the opening of Roger Ballen’s exhibition on Tuesday night was huge – 500 people were at the ErdmannContemporary & the Photographers Gallery za in Cape Town. Sorry not to have been there.
On the Guardian site recently I came across Melissa Terras’ article, The Superwoman fallacy: what it really takes to be an academic and parent. It’s an edited version of her blog post. The first reason she gives for not being a superwoman is that she has a supportive partner. Partner well at work and at home is the good advice I was once given. It works for her, and for many others.
But it’s the fourth point she makes that I don’t think we pay enough attention to. She writes “I am not superwoman… I can afford help around the house.” She’s a London-based academic and can only afford a cleaner to help her for two hours a week. That’s nothing compared to the help most middle-class South African mothers get.
I have a nanny who is with us for five days a week. Without Lindy Nyakane I would be a depressed, miserable woman living through my children’s lives. I just hope that she isn’t miserable spending most of her days with my children, and that I give enough credit and money to her for helping me make my life work as well as it sometimes does.
This photograph taken on an iPhone by Dale Yudelman is on display at WAM (Wits Art Museum). It captures a relationship we don’t respect enough.
Alek Wek may have appeared in Vogue, been photographed by top fashion photographers Steven Meisel, Herb Ritts and Irving Penn and in 1997 been the first black woman to appear on the cover of American Elle magazine, but she can’t forget the war-torn country, South Sudan, that she had to leave as a refugee.
On a recent trip to South Africa, the 35-year-old model talks to me about her work for the UN refugee agency UNHCR, and how she travelled with the organisation to her home country to visit refugee camps and to mark the first anniversary of South Sudan’s independence on July 9 after a long protracted civil war.
“For me it was very personal. I went through the same thing with my family as a refugee. My family was displaced and had to leave our small town where I was born and raised. And then when the war got worse, we had to leave and find safety and refuge,” she says wearing what she calls a very chic Clive Rundle outfit.
With her sister, the 14-year-old Wek made her way to London where she was noticed by a modelling agency in a park one Sunday afternoon in 1995.
“I have been in fashion for 15 years or so. And I try to lend my voice, which fashion has given me, to shed the light on important and fundamental issues. I’ve always done so. I have a tremendous amount of respect for UNHCR.”
She never imagined that “this moment of independence would come. My trip last month brought back so many memories.”
“My mother wants us to all move back, she wants me to marry a man from our Dinka culture.
But she is older and still has friends there. For me it is a good time to go back and forth to play as much of a role as I can to make a difference.”
For now Wek is happy to live in Brooklyn, New York, where she shares her home with a four-legged animal.
“Seriously it’s very sad,” she says laughing.
“My mother is always on about me getting married. I’m modelling in moderation now, so maybe it will happen soon. I start with a four-legged companion and then it will be a two-legged one.”
Wek was in South Africa as the face for Amarula Cream’s new advertising campaign. She’s travelled to a secret location in Limpopo where she did a shoot with local director Ian Gabriel.
So I can’t go tonight. But last year’s first Comics Choice Awards was a blast. Great stand-up and a good way to see the best of our best.
I asked a few comics to answer the question: Is there anything funny that you are ashamed to admit to?
John Vlismas – who is a star and complete pro – had this to say:
Sneakily watching appalling reality shows, like The Only Way Is Essex , or Big Rich Texas – I am gobsmacked at the ridiculous-ness of these people, but it’s also brilliant satire.
Alyn Adams, one of The Times Comic’s Pen Award nominees, came back with this:
Top Gear. Richard Hammond’s a sniggering schoolboy sidekick, James May (who should know better; he’s bright!) is a collaborator in the WWII sense and Jeremy Clarkson suffers from the same unexamined life and privilege of far too many wealthy white males; but even knowing all that, they make me laugh out loud. It’s probably the irreverent piss-taking of so much that “their class” also takes seriously that allows them to get away with the juvenile leftie-bashing, in my book…
■Tickets for the 2nd Annual Comics Choice Awards on July 10 at the Teatro, Montecasino are available from Computicket. For more information visit www.comicschoice.co.za
Yayoi Kusama, the Japanese artist who was born in 1929, sees her life as “a dot lost among millions of other dots”. Once when she was young she hallucinated at a dining table: the red flower patterns on the tablecloth started to spread across the walls, the floor and on herself. According to the Louis Vuitton press release I have, she then used all and any technique to transcribe “this disorientation” (sculpture, painting, film-making and photography, and writing).
She has lived in New York where she knew Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol and Donald Judd. In 1973 she went back to Japan where she moved into a psychiatric hospital and where she still lives. She visits her studio daily.
Louis Vuitton has collaborated with Kusama and many of their goodies will be given the Kusama treatment. Marc Jacobs, artistic director of LV, is a fan of her work, and through working on designs, special Kusama store windows, and Kusama concept stores, with her will spread her message: Love Forever.
Daniel Born, one of The Times photographers, put together the above slide show.
|1472 Article Views Today|
|1419 Article Views Today|
|1075 Article Views Today|
|883 Article Views Today|
|749 Article Views Today|
|350 Article Views Today|
|291 Article Views Today|
|242 Article Views Today|
|201 Article Views Today|
|117 Article Views Today|
|View More Top Blogs|