In her project “City of the Dead”, Iraqi-Canadian photojournalist Tamara Abdul Hadi documents the lives of families living in the cemetery of Bab al-Nasr in Cairo. For the past 60 years, generations have been residing in this modern day necropolis among their deceased ancestors. Children were born and raised in the ruins of the graveyard, they attend schools nearby and even work in the area.
“This is a cemetery of the living”, says one of the residents, Mohammed Abdel Lateef.
Such illegal settlements as the City of the Dead, date back to the 1980’s. They were a primary coping method for local poor and “ultra-poor” inhabitants. Despite unsanitary conditions with no electricity or running water, workers were moving to the urban slums in order to stay close to employment. Overall, there are five main cemeteries like Bab al-Nasr and the whole area was said to have a population density of a whopping 12,000 inhabitants per square mile.
Abdul Hadi is already widely known for her documentary photographs of the Middle East, giving us a close-up look at their controversial culture and society. She states that the Arab world faces many misconceptions, such as oppressing patriarchy, ignorance and others. In her work, Abdul Hadi tends to bring up the softer and peaceful side of the communities which is rarely shown by the mass media. (h/t Middle East Revisited and The New School)
Shaun Berke is one of the most skilled artists I’ve ever met. And when I saw a Rembrandt master-copy he created for a group show, I instinctively knew that he must have had some really insane pieces hiding out in his studio. So, I took the trip out to his place, where he pulled out one amazing print after another. He had woodcuts that were as masterful as anything by Albert Dürer as well as an entire book he made for his thesis project at Art Center that was full of pop culture references you wouldn’t realize he was initially inspired by. The fact that he can execute everything from a classical painting to graphic design work is kind of unheard of. There are those who can do one or the other, but very rarely anyone who can do it all, and do it all remarkably well. In particular though, I really wish Shaun continues to make some more woodcuts, since I haven’t seen an artist do anything close to what he’s doing with the medium due to his level of detail and depth of narrative. I mean, some of his pieces have entire books that go along with them featuring mythologies he’s created based upon heavy research.
Fellow art blog, Booooooom, has organized a great opportunity for you to help Haiti and build up your art collection, at the same time. The artists have agreed to donate all proceeds from each sale to Haiti. So please head on over to their fundraiser and support this cause. If you prefer to just donate, you can do so through Google: http://www.google.com/relief/haitiearthquake
Portland artist Meg Adamson’s work is delicate without coming off as forced or mechanical. This dynamic reflects her natural, organic subject matter very well. She is participating in PangeaSeed’s Great Artist Migration benefit tour, which begins in July.
Dutch painter Philip Akkerman has 200 or more self-portraits on his website. They are extremely varied stylistically but almost always share a really unsettling vibe that’s hard to articulate. In the paintings, Akkerman is usually glaring; eyebrows and lips turned downward. What’s most intriguing in these works is Akkerman’s evolution over time. He’s experimented with myriad different styles and techniques and grown as a painter, and his various transformations are all laid out in these works. Not his glare, though. That’s remained somewhat of a constant. (via)
This seminal volume on the indigenous African Dinka group is a landmark documentation of a vanishing people in war-torn Sudan. World-renowned photographers Angela Fisher and Carol Beckwith have devoted their lives to documenting the rapidly disappearing ceremonies and cultures of the indigenous people of Africa. In breathtakingly poignant images, they present a story that started with their first visit to the Dinka thirty years ago. Living in harmony with their cattle, the Dinka have survived years of war only to find their culture on the brink of vanishing forever. Where the White Nile River reaches Dinka country, it spills over 11,000 square miles of flood plain to form the Sudd, the largest swamp in the world. In the dry season, it provides abundant pasture for cattle, and this is where the Dinka set up their camps. The men dust their bodies and faces with gray ash—protection against flies and lethal malarial mosquitoes, but also considered a mark of beauty. Covered with this ash and up to 7’ 6″ tall, the Dinka were referred to as “gentle” or “ghostly” giants by the early explorers. The Dinka call themselves “jieng” and “mony-jang,” which means “men of men.”
Angela Fisher and Carol Beckwith have spent a lifetime studying the peoples of the Horn of Africa, and have published their photography in a series of acclaimed books as well as major magazine features in Time, Life, Vogue, Marie Claire, and Elle. They exhibit and lecture widely at prestigious venues such as the American Museum of Natural History, The Smithsonian Institution, and the Royal Geographical Society in London.
I am an avid admirer of Allison Healy‘s illustrations. She is an illustrator based out of Boston, Mass. Her work strikes me as the colors are rich and vibrant possibly implying digital coloring but I know for a fact she uses watercolor and only watercolor. I find this refreshing in the mass digital illustration age. Check more of her intricate works out after the jump.
Jannick Deslauriers’ large scale soft sculptures span a wide genre of themes from transparent battle tanks to a dense installation of psychedelic mushrooms. Her works flow here and there with the gentlest breeze like a jelly fish transformer that’s swam out the ocean and morphed into dry land objects of all sizes and shapes. (via empty kingdom)