Mona Hatoum

The two pieces of work for Mona Hatoum that I plan to include in this dissertation are Present Tense (1996) and Continental Drift (2000).


Although the Palestinian artist in exile, Mona Hatoum uses maps in her artwork, these are not to make direct political statements, in fact her focus is more about the aesthetics of the artwork, the materials used and simplification to produce a reduced form that arrive at an abstraction which can then suggest many different associations with the piece.

The piece Present Tense (1996), the first cartographic piece by Mona Hatoum, constructed over the space of a week from olive oil soap bars which has been produced in the West Bank since the 14th Century, purchased by Hatoum in the local market. Red glass beads outlined the division of land in the 1993 Oslo Peace Agreement and were also purchased in the same local market. Originally created to be displayed at the Anadiel Gallery in Jerusalem, Present Tense was later acquired by the Tate Gallery in 2013.

The original intention was to mark the boundaries in the soap with nails, however considering that this appeared “aggressive” and “sad”, Hatoum chose the red glass beads instead.

Using a temporary material such as soap that will degrade over time, dissolving the borders defined by the red glass beads suggests the fluidity of borders that we see in our modern day world. Although conservation of the material was not a consideration at the time of making, newer pieces of soap are being covered in liquitex to conserve the colour and moisture content of the soap. We all associate soap with cleanliness and purity, yet this piece with the beads began to suggest that the soap had become unclean, diseased or untouchable and associations with the plight of the Palestinian people were beginning to take shape.

Having an unsettled personal history, Hatoum describes a feeling of not being able to take anything for granted, not even the solidity of the ground that you stand on.

Continental Drift, another cartographic piece created in 2000 from Iron filings and transparent plastic as a representation of the world from the North Pole. The iron fillings represent the ocean and a magnetized rotary arm passing over the iron filings creates a tidal wave that disfigures and alters the continents, continually shifting to show the instability in our geographical borders, suggesting that fixed boundaries that we know and accept can be destabilized by the presence of an overriding power, an invisible force that can affect our perception of the world.

Maps historically have been drawn and then redrawn time and again, the cartographic pieces of Mona Hatoum inspire reflection on the fluidity of our borders and boundaries and our identities that are intrinsically linked to these fixed delineations. By disfiguring her artwork, so to, our perceptions of the borders and boundaries become diffused and the sense of destabilisation lingers.

Bibliography Entries

Present Tense. (1996). Mona Hatoum [Olive Oil Soap, Red Glass Beads] Jerusalem: Anadiel Gallery.

Continental Drift. (2000). Mona Hatoum [Stainless Steel, Glass, Iron Filings, Electric Motor, Timer] London: Tate Britain.

Hatoum, M. (2000). Mona Hatoum. 1st ed. London: Tate Gallery Publishing.

Asperen, H. and Goudeau, J. (2014). The imagined and real Jerusalem in art and architecture. Leiden [u.a.]: Brill.

The Migrant’s Time Rethinking Art History and Diaspora. (2011). 1st ed. Massachusetts: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.

Thinking With Diagrams: The Semiotic Basis of Human Cognition – Semiotics, Communication and Cognition. (2016). 1st ed. De Gruyter.

Gržinić, M. (n.d.). Irit Rogoff, Terra infirma, Geography’s visual culture. (2013) London: Routledge.

Wood, D., Fels, J. and Krygier, J. (2010). Rethinking the power of maps. New York: Guilford Press.

Mona Hatoum by Janine Antoni. (1998). Bomb, (63).

Persekian, J. (2013). MONA HATOUM: PRESENT TENSE. Art Asia Pacific, [online] (84). Available at: http://artasiapacific.com/Magazine/84/PresentTenseMONAHATOUM  [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

Martens, A. (2003). Mona Hatoum. ArtScene, [online] (July/August 2003). Available at: http://artscenecal.com/ArticlesFile/Archive/Articles2003/Articles0703/MHatoumA.html [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

Cooke, R. (2016). Mona Hatoum: ‘It’s all luck. I feel things happen accidentally’. The Guardian. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/apr/17/mona-hatoum-interview-installation-artist-tate-modern-exhibition [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

Um.es. (2017). Cartographies of affect in the work of Mona Hatoum – Espacio articulado. [online] Available at: http://www.um.es/artlab/index.php/cartographies-of-affect-in-the-work-of-mona-hatoum/ [Accessed 24 Oct. 2017].

Postcolonial.org. (2008). Hatoum, Said and Foucault: Resistance through Revealing the Power-Knowledge Nexus? [online] Available at: http://postcolonial.org/index.php/pct/article/viewFile/891/79  [Accessed 24 Oct. 2017].

Tate (2011). Mona Hatoum – Studio Visit | TateShots. [online] YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs3DzydSKu8 [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

Serpentine Galleries (2011). Mona Hatoum – Mappings. [online] Vimeo. Available at: https://vimeo.com/24541176  [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

El Anatsui

The artwork created by El Anatsui that I am including in the imaginary museum is Tsia Tsia (2013) and Diaspora (2012).

Made for the Royal Academy in 2013 and displayed on the outside of the building, Tsia Tsia – Searching for Connection by El Anatsui is made up of nine panels that measure overall 15.6m by 25m and is made from his signature chain-mail of aluminium bottle tops, printing plates announcing births, deaths and marriages and discarded roofing sheets  providing squares of vibrant colour woven together with copper wire which shimmer and gleam in the sunlight giving this piece a sense of vibrancy, akin to a curtain of light. It is only on closer inspection that you see the painstaking detail that has gone into stitching all these aluminium bottle tops together.

All the materials used are discarded items that can be easily viewed as litter, in fact the bottle tops have been collected from the streets. In transforming ordinary objects, that would normally be thrown away, Anatsui alludes to a sense of a life once lived in a different way. The piece also possess a textural freedom that cannot be replicated, suggesting a freedom from restraint and convention.

In an interview with Art News in 2015, Anatsui describes the relation he sees between the bottle tops and the history of Africa where Europeans would bring alcohol from the West Indies to trade for slaves. These drinks are now made locally in in Nigeria the bottle tops symbolize the historical connections between these two continents. Born in Ghana in 1944, El Anatsui now lives in Nigeria where he collects the materials to be included in his artwork.

The artwork Diaspora (2012), an edition of 35 plus 20 artist proofs by Anatsui is comprised on Archival dyes printed onto cotton and hand-stitched then fabricated by Dyenamix, New York.

Emily Jacir

The artwork created by Emily Jacir that I am including in the imaginary gallery is Salt of the Sea and Where We Come From (Osama) 2001-2003.


The question “If I could do something for you, anywhere in Palestine, what would it be?” was the impetus for the artwork Where We Come From (Osama) created between 2001 and 2003 by Emily Jacir. Soliciting requests from Palestinians who faced severe travel restrictions, she sought to realize the wishes of those Palestinians forbidden to enter their homeland. Carrying an American passport provided Jacir with the freedom to move around her homeland that the people she represented no longer had.

One such request was to visit a mother’s grave, place flowers and pray on her birthday from Munir, unable to visit the grave only a few kilometres away because of these travel restrictions. Presented beside the panel with the request is a photograph of Jacir’s shadow over the grave, a fleeting image of a moment in time where Jacir fulfilled these wishes. Freedom of Travel across Palestine is no longer available to Jacir either, and this work could not have been made, if Jacir had embarked on this project at this point in time.

The film Salt of the Sea by Emily Jacir seeks to bring to light the tensions experienced by those wishing to return to their Palestinian homeland. The film is set from a female perspective and seeks to highlight the role of women returning to Palestine attempting to regain that sense of home and belonging. Following the story of an American born Palestinian-American Soraya who returns to Palestine to recover her grandfather’s life savings which were confiscated by the state. Salt of the Sea chronicles the love that Suraya has for her homeland and the rediscovery of an intimacy with her homeland that she had only previously known through her parents stories. Highlighting also her desire to take back her right to return to her homeland, this connects her to the desire of many Palestinians to return to their beloved homeland.

Curatorial Writing

Curator Introductions

There is not a one-size-fits-all approach, but various methods. Here is one simplified process to put on an exhibition from start to finish. If feasible, give yourself at least six months to arrange all the necessary details.

In today’s art world, you do not need to be a museum staff member to curate an art exhibition. You could be an independent art curator and work — that’s right — independently.

A curator’s job is like a movie director’s in that you need to oversee every detail of the production so it helps to be extremely organized and that you can work well with others as it takes many skilled people to put on an exhibition.

 

https://www.thebalance.com/curating-an-art-show-1295610

Scottish and Welsh Diaspora

Reflection on the Scottish and Welsh Diaspora

Diasporic Communities have moved around the globe for centuries. The most pertinent examples would be the migration of a Scottish and a Welsh community to the region of Chubut in Patagonia. In search of a new life, the 150 Welsh people who set sail from Liverpool in 1865 on the Mimosa. The overriding reason for this migration was to preserve and not dilute the Welsh language, however despite all odds the Welsh community in Patagonia thrived and continue to grow to this day.

Both communities of Welsh and Scottish individuals of whom historically left the UK to create a better life for themselves and are scattered across the globe, having integrated successfully into new communities whilst continuing to maintain their cultural association with their home land, Scotland or Wales.

A famous historical event in both Welsh and Scottish History is the time when two communities, one from Caithness and one from North Wales, migrated to Patagonia with the intention of creating a better life for themselves. There must have been some resistance to these Scottish and Welsh “incomers” from the native Tehuelche Indians; however they did attempt to help the Welsh settle into the inhospitable Patagonian land.

When the 150 Welsh Immigrants set sail on the Mimosa for Patagonia in 1865, the intention of the Victorian Minister, Michael D Jones was to preserve the Welsh language through the isolation of the region Chubut, their intended destination. However this suggests a paradox in that preserving the Welsh language could potentially destroy the language and culture of the Chubut Indigenous community.

In fact, the Welsh language has only survived in this region because of the assimilation with the local language and customs that Michael D Jones detested so much.

Some 150+ years later, there is an ongoing effort to preserve of the Welsh language in Patagonia with the Welsh Language Project run by the British Council sending three Language Development Officers to Patagonia with the aim of developing and protecting the welsh language in the Chubut region. The number of people in this area learning Welsh is on the increase and in fact 1270 were taught Welsh in Patagonia during 2016, as described in the 2016 Annual Welsh Language Report for the Chubut region.

Today in Chubut it is suggested that 50,000 individuals can claim Welsh Ancestry and 5000 speak Welsh in a community of 550,000 people. So indeed, the original colony of 150, Y Wada have preserved existing Welsh traditions and started some Patagonia Welsh traditions too. The Eisteddfod del Chubut has been running since 1965 and a contingency of Welsh Patagonians also continue travel the 8000 miles to Wales for the Welsh National Eisteddfod.

John Akomfrah

The work of John Akomfrah that I am including in the imaginary exhibition is Auto Da Fé (2016).


Born in Ghana in 1957 to parents involved in Anti-Colonial Activism, Akomfrah, influenced by Stuart Hall has lived in Britain since the age of four and is one of the UK’s most prominent film makers, dealing with issues surrounding race, diaspora and migration, combining original footage with archival material, his films are poetic and wide reaching in an attempt to provide a voice to the African Diaspora.

Auto Da Fé (2016) is the second film installation by John Akomfrah, a poetic, enigmatic diptych that reflects upon six displaced populations that have migrated as a consequence of religious persecution during the last 400 years and right up to the present day.

Akomfrah was inspired to make this film after seeing a cemetery containing 17th Century graves of Sephardic Jewish refugees who had fled Brazil while teaching in Barbados which raised the question “How did they get here?”.

These specific migratory stories are set amidst chaos and uncertainty and reflect the precarious situations that these migrants found themselves in. Using an deliberate anonymous landscape, this film relates universally to stories of migration and religious persecution throughout the ages. Although each of these stories are from a different part of the world and a different time, there is a common theme or thread that binds these stories together. The issues that affect diasporic communities in the modern age are also issues that have affected these communities historically too.

Diaspora

The word diaspora comes from the Greek word for scattering seeds.

A style of post-1960s art which rejected the traditional values and politically conservative assumptions of its predecessors, in favour of a wider, more entertaining concept of art, using new artistic forms enriched by video and computer-based technology.

  • The evolution of film making as a visual art form.
  • The subject of freedom of expression from the perspective of a film maker.
  • The evolution of technology in the field of visual art.
  • Censorship on the various visual arts and why art holds such a strong influence.
  • Role of the artist to heal and transform wounded communities through
  • Healing tranformation spiritual wounds and community
  • Loss of land, loss of identity, loss of community
  • An ethnography of diasporas, loss and globalization discussing how Post Mondernist Artists across the globe seek to heal and transform spiritual wounds within a diasporic community using artistic expression to remember
  • Film making
  • Migration – Diaspora
  • Exodus
  • Movement
  • Shift
  • Activism
  • Censorship
  • Text Art
  • Ethnographic enquiry
  • Dewey
  • The ethnography of Diaspora
  • Tracing Slavery – Penrhyn – Historical influences
  • Colonialism
  • Through the eyes of a filmmaker
  • Diaspora, Trauma and Rememberance
  • Mapping
  • Diaspora, Migration and Globalization
  • spiritual activism
  • How we identify with a culture or with individuals
  • Welsh Language

Potential Artists

  • John Akomfrah
  • Ai Wei Wei – chinese
  • Xu Bing – Print Making and Installations –  –Book from the sky
  • Lamia Joreige – lebonese
  • Priya Sen
  • Trin T Min-ha

noun: diaspora

  1. the dispersion of the Jews beyond Israel.
  • Jews living outside Israel.
  • the dispersion or spread of any people from their original homeland.

plural noun: diasporas – “the diaspora of boat people from Asia”

Ethnography (from Greek ἔθνος ethnos “folk, people, nation” and γράφω grapho “I write”) is the systematic study of people and cultures. It is designed to explore cultural phenomena where the researcher observes society from the point of view of the subject of the study. An ethnography is a means to represent graphically and in writing the culture of a group. The word can thus be said to have a “double meaning”, which partly depends on whether it is used as a count noun or uncountable.[1] The resulting field study or a case report reflects the knowledge and the system of meanings in the lives of a cultural group.[2][3][4]

artists in exile: Identity Origin and Roots: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=1DxEBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA87&lpg=PA87&dq=diaspora+slavery+north+wales&source=bl&ots=qqJwhPCWD-&sig=EVNZgO9qkuHAP1hQ-RytMaRdzMM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwii8a-sntHUAhVHBMAKHYToAWoQ6AEIPjAF#v=onepage&q=diaspora%20slavery%20north%20wales&f=false

John Akomfrah – Ghanian

Ghanaian-born filmmaker and founder of the Black Audio Film Collective. Akomfrah’s video installation over two screens looks at five centuries of migration and religious persecution.

It was inspired while he was teaching in Barbados in 2009 and he saw a cemetery containing 17th Century graves of Sephardic Jewish refugees who had fled Brazil: “I was asking ‘how did they get here?'”

Lamia Joreige

The starting point for Mathaf (Arabic for museum) from this visual artist is the collection of the destroyed National Museum of Beirut, in particular a fragment of Roman mosaic, damaged by a hole from a sniper’s bullet.

Quote

it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between diasporic migrations and many other kinds of transnational migrations and movements.

Tate – Diaspora term

Jamaican-born cultural theorist and sociologist Stuart Hall, Widely known as ‘godfather of multiculturalism’, published an important essay called Cultural identity and Diaspora in 1990.

Jamaican-born cultural theorist and sociologist Stuart Hall, Widely known as ‘godfather of multiculturalism’, published an important essay called Cultural identity and Diaspora in 1990. In it he addresses issues of identity in relation to cultural practice and production and explains the experience of the migrant as one of dislocation, displacement and hybridity (a mix of experience and cultures). Through his investigations, based on the experiences of the Caribbean diaspora, he came to the conclusion that individuals have more than one identity: they have one that is based on similarities and a unity which comes from belonging to a shared culture; and one that is based on an active process of identification, that responds to points of difference and is therefore always evolving through ‘a continuous play of history, culture and power.’

Regional Print Centre Open Access

2nd August 2017

I decided to practice some screen printing at this Open Access Day at the Regional Print Centre. I had a few goals that I wanted to achieve during this day.

  • Create some textured prints to be used in the Artist Books with Estella Scholes workshop running the following day.
  • Prepare a Screen and Print from it to gain experience of using the light box.
  • Practice some gradient printing.

I decided to create a stencil from newsprint as a start to the practice of creating some textured prints.

 

I then experimented with adding ink directly to the screen for a more textured look a feel.

 

Once I had cleaned the screen, I then experimented further with gradients.

 

Finally, I prepared an image on a screen ready for printing and then printed that image and included some of the gradient prints too. As an experimental day, very happy with the results.