When I first encountered this installation entitled Suspended Together by Saudi Arabian artist Manal Al Dowayan, I took it simply at face value and assumed I was looking at a collection of 200 fiberglass doves imprinted with what looked like postcards. I got it: birds moving from one place to another affixed with notes and postage. It was pretty. But reading further I realized the piece was not nearly as straightforward or innocuous. I had been duped, and that was the artist’s intention. Though I don’t usually do this I’m going to quote Manal’s statement about the piece in its entirety:
“Suspended Together” is an installation that gives the impression of movement and freedom. However, a closer look at the 200 doves allows the viewer to realize that the doves are actually frozen and suspended with no hope of flight. An even closer look shows that each dove carries on its body a permission document that allows a Saudi woman to travel. Notwithstanding their circumstances, all Saudi women are required to have this document, issued by their appointed male guardian.
The artist reached out to a large group of leading women from Saudi Arabia to donate their permission documents for inclusion in this artwork. “Suspended Together” carries the documents of award-winning scientists, educators, journalists, engineers, artists and leaders with groundbreaking achievements that gave back to their society. The youngest contributor is six months old and the oldest is 60 years old. In the artist’s words, “regardless of age and achievement, when it comes to travel, all these women are treated like a flock of suspended doves.”
A truly chilling situation, yet executed wonderfully by the artist. Provoking yet strangely sentimental. Suspended Together was included in the Future of a Promise exhibition at the 54th Venice Biennale last year. (via kawlture)
Paper artist Claire Brewster has been living and working in London for over 20 years, meticulously cutting these birds, flowers and plants from old maps. See more of her work on her blog. (via job’s wife)
John Dilnot is a man after my own heart. Using clipped illustrations of birds and months he arranges them to create beautiful dioramas within wooden boxes. Dilnot frequently lines the interiors with antique maps and arranges the birds in small flocks, setting them on perpetual cartographic journeys. You can see an archive of John’s work here and some boxes that are still available here. He also sells prints and postcards, just get in touch. Y’know, I was in a terrible New Age band in high school called Perpetual Cartographic Journeys but that’s a story for another time. (via staceythinx)
Pennsylvania artist and designer Paula Swisher takes doodling in the margins of old engineering and science manuals to new heights. She began the illustrations using nothing but ballpoint pen and white-out similar to Mark Powell’s envelopes, but soon explored new materials including colored pencil, gouache and other mixed media like thread and cut-out paper. Via email she tells me:
I’ve been using scientific imagery and information graphics off and on in my work. I seem to be drawn to the contrived sense of order that they show. In the drawings mentioned, superimposing bird imagery, hopefully, creates a visual metaphor for our attempts to make sense of our experiences.
I’ve been wanting to post the work of Yulia Brodskaya for almost a year and was thrilled to discover this new art piece entitled Loves Doves. Her work is unique in that it involves the placement of carefully cut, colored and bent strips of paper called quilling, giving her work a rich texture and depth. Julia was born in Moscow and now lives and works in the UK making quilled paper illustrations for some of the world’s top brands and publications. (via lustik)
This beautiful typographic poster made of folded paper was designed and constructed by Montreal-based designers Kyosuke Nishida, Brian Li and Dominic Liu for the Words Can Fly A Thousand Miles Project. The piece shows a number of origami cranes bursting through the surface of carefully crafted type. Via their website:
This design was inspired by the Japanese traditional custom, Senbazuri, which means a group of a thousand origami cranes. It is customary to fold these cranes to wish someone luck. We wanted to pay tribute to this custom through the process of constructing the paper sculpture.
The words on the poster were inspired by the instant encouragement and consoling words that Japanese people were able to receive just after the tsunami and earthquakes hit Japan, through social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter.