Friday, 30 September 2016

What if? by Kofi Mensah

Samuel Dalle/Joe Pollitt | The Conductor, 2016

What if?

And what if we were to make Earl Grey Tea an illegal substance, banned all smelly cheeses, boycotted the humble bagel whilst outlawing all crisps, French Champagne and barring all sugars. What then?

What if we were to legalized drugs and allowed only black shopkeepers to sell them; gave every child matoki from Uganda in Primary Schools and fed the poor with free cassava, okra, sweet potatoes from Nigeria, yams from the cancer tree from South Africa and plantain fufu from Ghana. What then?

Human rights, equality for all, FREE TRADE, don't make me laugh. There is a Prohibition on all black people in the USA, Europe and Africa (if they don't own it, you can't have it.) 

Kofi Mensah 30/09/2016

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Poetry for #Blacklivesmatter

Black Lives Matter | Kofi Mensah



This Movement is extremely important. Not just about police brutality in America but black lives across the globe. Here is a poem Kofi wrote that takes on an African beat and plays with the syllables of Black (1) Lives (1) Matter (2) - the poem starts off with 4 syllables and then is reduced to 3 and ends up back with the initial 4 syllables. This is to show how talent, opportunities and lives are squeezed in the middle and then return to normal in the end. Every line is read as a single entity fragmented but also as a whole, as a story told so simply. Not wanting to sound like a singer, a front-man but more like a bass. Not wanting to create a complete band-sound or an orchestra, no, just a bass note of syllables on every line that make up the 4/3/4 style poem. Kofi's intention is to sound like a lost bow-less cello. Saying something as simply as possible, like a jab from a boxer rather than an uppercut or a killer blow.

Black Lives Matter
We cannot stop
Our lives matter
So-We can see
You cannot stop
You will all-ways

Hold us back
We can never
Rise too high
You will cut
Our bite down
Just to say

We made you great
Dreaming the dream
Sight for sore-eyes
That we exist
Going nowhere
So-say no more

Kofi Mensah | 26/09/2016

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Aboudia at Jack Bell Gallery, London




Private view: Thursday 8 September 2016, 6 - 8 pm

Exhibition: 9 - 23 September 2016

Monday, 29 August 2016

BOTSWANA | Disturbing News

SAVE THE BUSHMEN | This really caught my eye. Trophy hunting has moved up a notch, now people are killing the Bushmen from helicopters. Unreported News for sure. What is my point here? I can see a shift in the Continent's art in regards to becoming proud of being primitive and celebrating the Uncivilized but look what happens when viewed by the wealthy western world. African lives become less valuable than those of the animals. So this gross act must be punished at the highest levels of Botswana's Leadership. What an utter disgrace! Shameful to value a life so poorly. 

We must fight against the Greed. This is what is driving justified murder by the so-called Civilized World; not just in Africa but everywhere. The Bushmen know the land so well; what we lose is so important, far more precious than diamonds and natural resources. When the knowledge has been destroyed and the Greed succeeds, only then, will we realize that the lands of Botswana will become permanently useless.

Genocide in Plain Sight: Shooting Bushmen From Helicopters in Botswana

In a healthy democracy, people are not shot at from helicopters for collecting food. They are certainly not then arrested, stripped bare and beaten while in custody without facing trial. Nor are people banned from their legitimate livelihoods, or persecuted on false pretenses. Sadly in Botswana, southern Africa’s much-vaunted ‘beacon of democracy’, all of this took place late last month in an incident which has been criminally under-reported. Nine Bushmen were later arrested and subsequently stripped naked and beaten while in custody.

The Bushmen of the Kalahari have lived by hunting and gathering on the southern African plains for millennia. They are a peaceful people, who do almost no harm to their environment and have a deep respect for their lands and the game that lives on it. They hunt antelope with spears and bows, mostly gemsbok, which are endemic to the area.

According to conservation expert Phil Marshall, there are no rhinos or elephants where the Bushmen live. Even if there were the Bushmen would have no reason to hunt them. They hunt various species of antelope, using the fat in their medicine and reserving a special place for the largest of them, the eland, in their mythology. None of these animals are endangered.

A shameful history of state persecution

Despite all this the Botswana government has used poaching as a pretext for its latest round of persecution. The increasingly authoritarian government of General Ian Khama sees the Bushmen as a national embarrassment. It wishes to see them forcibly integrated with mainstream society in the name of ‘progress’.

There are huge diamond deposits on, or close to, the Bushmen’s lands, as well as natural gas which is soon to be fracked out of the soil. Botswana would rather see wealthy foreign tourists on the Bushman’s lands – many of them western trophy hunters – as well as foreign corporations digging for resources underneath it. In their eyes, ‘primitive’ hunter gatherers are an inconvenience. Between 1997 and 2002, hundreds of Bushman families were brutally evicted from their land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Their homes were destroyed, their wells were capped, their possessions were confiscated, and they were moved to government eviction camps en masse. Any who tried to resist were beaten, or even shot with rubber bullets.

There are close ties between the Botswana government and the infamous De Beers diamond corporation, and both have grown rich from the gemstones. Nevertheless, the government was savvy enough to know that diamonds alone would be an ugly excuse for wiping out an entire people, so they circulated absurd rumors.

The Bushmen were ‘poachers’, they said. They rode around in jeeps, they shot game on a massive scale with rifles, and posed a threat to the environment they had been dependent on and managed for millennia. They had to change, for the sake of ‘civilization’.

Despite a landmark court ruling in 2006 which the Bushmen won with the support of Survival International, the situation is still pretty terrible. Most of the Kalahari Bushmen are still living in government camps, and access to the Reserve has only been granted to a limited number of individuals. It is enforced under a brutal permit system, which sees children born in the reserve forced from their homes and family at the age of 18.

The permits are not heritable, and so when the present generation of Bushmen dies, their people will have effectively been legislated into extinction. The system was compared to the apartheid-era South African pass laws by veteran anti-apartheid activist and former Robben Island prisoner Michael Dingake.

The annihilation of a people – genocide in open sight

As if that wasn’t bad enough they aren’t even allowed to hunt to eat. In 2014, Botswana introduced a nationwide hunting ban, but gave a special dispensation to fee-paying big game hunters, who flock to the northern Kalahari and the Okavango Delta in the extreme north of the country to shoot animals for sport.

Such a dispensation was not extended to the tribal peoples who actually live in these territories, who are accused of ‘poaching’ and face arrest, beatings and torture while tourists are welcomed into luxury hunting lodges.

And now they are being shot at from helicopters. Botswana police scour the Kalahari, looking for people hunting with spears to intimidate and arrest. The government has introduced planes with heat sensors to fly over the Bushmen’s lands looking out for ‘poachers’ – in reality Bushmen hunting antelope for food.

Police and wildlife officials then use whatever brutality they consider to be necessary to enforce the ban. This is an urgent and horrific humanitarian crisis. An entire people’s future is at stake. If the Bushmen cannot enter their land or find food there, they will have no option but to return to the government camps, where vital services are inadequate and diseases like HIV/AIDS run rampant.
Policies like this have been used by governments all over the world. It is easier and less shocking than simply exterminating people, but in the long-term it has a similar outcome. By denying people their land and basic means of subsistence, viable ways of living are abolished, and peoples’ land, resources and labor are stolen.

In a world of larger-scale and more headline-friendly crises, the plight of the Kalahari Bushmen risks being largely ignored. Nevertheless, the Bushmen – portrayed as backward and primitive simply because their communal ways are different – could face annihilation if the brutal shoot on sight policy is left in place.

Source: Counter Punch |

Uganda, Kampala | Solo Exhibition Zikunta by Wasswa Donald

Sunday, 28 August 2016

New Look Ghana

New Exhibition in Accra Ghana curated by Bernard Akoi-Jackson

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Painting Unseen | Hilma af Klint

Serpentine Galleries presents an exhibition of Swedish painter Hilma af Klint (1862–1944), who is now regarded as a pioneer of abstract art. While her paintings were not seen publicly until 1986, her work from the early 20th century pre-dates the first purely abstract paintings by Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich. 

"The show of the year" - The Sunday Times

This Serpentine exhibition focuses primarily on af Klint's body of work, The Paintings for the Temple, which dates from 1906–15. The sequential nature of her work is highlighted by the inclusion in the exhibition of numerous paintings from key series, some never-before exhibited in the UK.
After graduating from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm in 1887, af Klint took a studio in the city where she produced and exhibited traditional landscapes, botanical drawings and portraits. However, by 1886 she had abandoned the conventions she learned at the Academy in favour of painting the invisible worlds hidden within nature, the spiritual realm and the occult. She privately joined four other female artists to form a group called ‘The Five’. They conducted séances to encounter what they believed to be spirits who wished to communicate via pictures, leading to experiments with automatic writing and drawing, which pre-dated the Surrealists by several decades.
In 1905, af Klint received a ‘commission’ from an entity, which the group named Amaliel, to create her most important body of work, The Paintings for the Temple. Consisting of 193 predominately abstract paintings in various series and subgroups, the artist painted a path towards a harmony between the spiritual and material worlds; good and evil; man and woman; religion and science. This major work charted the influence of science and religion on af Klint’s works, from the discovery of electromagnetic waves to the spiritual teachings of anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner. Steiner was af Klint’s mentor and his presence in her life resulted in the cycle becoming more orderly with depictions of symbols and motifs, such as shells, snakes, lilies and crosses, from his spiritual movement.

Hilma af Klint painted in near isolation from the European avant-garde. Fearing that she would not be understood, she stipulated that her abstract work should be kept out of the public eye for 20 years after her death. While the works were not exhibited for a further 20 years, it subsequently came to be understood alongside the broader context of modernism at the turn of the 20th century.

The exhibition is co-curated by the Serpentine Galleries in collaboration with Daniel Birnbaum, Director of Moderna Museet, Stockholm.