Photography

Braids and Bowlers: Indigenous Bolivian Women Skateboard in Style in Celia D. Luna’s Empowered Portraits

January 27, 2023

Kate Mothes

A photograph by Celia D. Luna of an indigenous Bolivian woman skateboarding.

All images © Celia D. Luna, shared with permission

Against the pastels and earth tones of a skate park in Bolivia, Miami-based photographer Celia D. Luna captures the vibrant energy and determination of women who express solidarity and strength through a love of skateboarding. Part of her series Cholitas Bravas, “Cholitas Skaters” focuses on a group of Indigenous Bolivian women who wear traditional clothes while practicing extreme sports. “I’ve always admired brave women and culture; it’s in my DNA,” she says, describing that her upbringing by a single mother in the Andes Mountains of neighboring Peru instilled an admiration for courage and perseverance.

As recently as the last two decades, Bolivia’s Indigenous Quechua and Aymara women, known derogatorily as “cholitas,” were marginalized and ostracized from society. Distinguished by their long braids, wide skirts, and bowler hats—an amalgamation of styles resulting from Spanish colonizers forcing Indigenous people to adopt European styles during the Inquisition—the style evolved into a symbol-rich, empowered look.

Indigenous Bolivian women were historically banned from entering some public spaces, could not use public transportation, and were burdened by extremely curtailed career opportunities. They have been advocating for their civil rights since the mid-20th century, but it wasn’t until the election of the nation’s first Indigenous president in 2006 that the Cholitas finally achieved some success in restoring their rights, and the pleated skirts, lace blouses, and sombreros prevail as emblems of their cultural roots.

Luna tells Colossal that the women’s choice to don traditional apparel is for “some of them in honor of their ancestors and some of them because that’s what they wear in their everyday life. I was taken by their courage and their love for their culture, and I wanted to capture that.” Her portraits highlight each individual as she skates around the park, gathers together with the group, and poses with her board as she gazes commandingly at the viewer.

“Cholitas Skaters” is one of a trio of sub-series that comprise Cholitas Bravas; the other two chapters focus on female rock climbers and wrestlers. Find more on Luna’s website and Instagram.

 

A photograph by Celia D. Luna of an indigenous Bolivian woman skateboarding.

Left: A photograph by Celia D. Luna of an indigenous Bolivian woman skateboarding. Right: A portrait of a "cholita" wearing a traditional Bolivian lace blouse and a white hate, holding a skateboard.

A photograph by Celia D. Luna of an indigenous Bolivian woman skateboarding.

A photograph by Celia D. Luna of an indigenous Bolivian woman holding a skateboard.

Left: A photograph by Celia D. Luna of an indigenous Bolivian woman skateboarding. Right: A portrait of a "cholita" with her skateboard.

A photograph by Celia D. Luna of an indigenous Bolivian woman skateboarding behind a group of three more women posing with their skateboards.   A photograph by Celia D. Luna of an indigenous Bolivian woman skateboarding. A portrait of an indigenous Bolivian woman posing with her skateboard and flicking her long braid into the air.

A photograph by Celia D. Luna of an indigenous Bolivian woman skateboarding.

 

 

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Illustration

Whimsical Woodland Creatures and Sea Life Carved by Zoe Feast Inhabit Raw Wood Rounds

January 26, 2023

Grace Ebert

A photo of a raw wood slice with a bird motif

All images © Zoe Feast, shared with permission

Designer Zoe Feast has an affinity for patterns, and her practice revolves around motifs of flora, fauna, and organic forms that she creates for a variety of personal projects and commissions. After a visit to her local library and an encounter with its laser engraver, Feast decided to translate her whimsical illustrations to a three-dimensional surface. She sourced slabs of wood from a nearby habitat restoration project and carved seals in whispy waves, hedgehogs lounging among flowers and foliage, and a family of wide-eyed owls perched on branches. Nestled within the gnarled, bark-laden edges, the woodland creatures add a playful texture and motif to the raw material.

See more of the collection on Feast’s site, and pick up prints and other goods featuring her designs in her shop and on Society6.

 

A photo of a raw wood slice with an owl motif

A detail photo of a raw wood slice with an owl motif

A photo of a raw wood slice with a forest motif

A photo of a raw wood slice with a flower motif

Four photos of raw wood slices with a forest motifs

A photo of a raw wood slice with a seal motif

 

 



Art Illustration

Folk Art and Bold Geometric Shapes Flourish in Lisa Congdon’s Joyful Paintings

January 26, 2023

Grace Ebert

A photo of a vibrant folk art painting with ships and animals on a white gallery wall

All images © Lisa Congdon, courtesy of Chefas Projects, shared with permission

A sense of lively optimism permeates Lisa Congdon’s work. Through vibrant palettes of yellows, pinks, and blues, the Portland-based artist pairs bold geometries with folk art symbols, rendering abstract compositions or minimal scenes that capture a joyful outlook. Her acrylic paintings are on view now at Chefas Projects as part of The Opposite of Sorrow, a solo show that considers what it means to be positive.  “One cannot know joy without also knowing darkness,” Congdon says, sharing that her practice originated as an antidote to depression. “It was through art that I began to see and feel the beauty of life and to feel happy for the first time.”

The Opposite of Sorrow is on view through February 11. If you’re in Portland, Congdon runs a shop with originals, prints, and other goods. Otherwise, find more of her paintings and illustrations on her site and Instagram.

 

A photo of a vibrant folk art painting with birds and flowers on a white gallery wall

A photo of two paintings of minimal figures with flowers

A photo of a vibrant folk art painting with birds and flowers on a white gallery wall

A photo of two vibrant geometric paintings with flowers and shapes

A photo of a vibrant painting with clouds and colorful lines on a white gallery wall

A photo of a vibrant folk art painting with flowers and an eye on a white gallery wall

 

 



Art

Memories Emerge in Stephen Wong Chun Hei’s Paintings as Vivid Saturated Landscapes

January 25, 2023

Grace Ebert

A painting of a natural landscape in vivid saturated colors

“MacLehose Trail Section 4” (2022), acrylic on canvas, 150 x 200 centimeters. Photos by Bonhams HK, all images © Stephen Wong Chun Hei

Vivid palettes of blues, greens, and pink saturate Stephen Wong Chun Hei’s landscapes, which translate memories of travel into dream-like paintings in acrylic. The artist considers each work a vessel for the impressions of places he’s traveled or hiked. “I never try to capture just one moment in a landscape. The colours are ever-changing through time,” Hei tells Colossal. “This is the reason that the colours in my paintings are not realistic or naturalistic in appearance. I would like them to be more subjective.”

Many of the paintings originate in a sketchbook, which the artist brings along on his adventures and back to his Hong Kong-based studio. “When I work on canvas, I also got the feeling of travel with every brushstroke and colour used,” he shares.

Hei is currently preparing for a show in May at Tang Contemporary, and one of his works will also be on view with Gallery Exit for Art Basel Hong Kong. He’s currently traveling to multiple countries to explore their landscapes, which he hasn’t been able to do since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow those excursions on his site and Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

A painting of a natural landscape in vivid saturated colors

“MacLehose Trail Section 2” (2022), acrylic on canvas, 150 x 200 centimeters

A painting of a natural landscape in vivid saturated colors

“MacLehose Trail Section 5” (2022), acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 centimeters

A painting of a natural landscape in vivid saturated colors

A painting of a natural landscape in vivid saturated colors

“MacLehose Trail Section 6” (2022), acrylic on canvas, 150 x 120 centimeters

A painting of a natural landscape in vivid saturated colors

“MacLehose Trail Uphill at Section 5” (2022), acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 centimeters

 

 



Craft

Delicate Knots, Velvet, and Beads Entwine in Julia Shore’s Mossy Embroideries

January 25, 2023

Kate Mothes

Embroideries made to look like moss that also incorporates real moss, surrounded by beads and thread.

All images © Julia Shore, shared with permission

Dappled with French knots, glinting materials, and pieces of moss, botanical embroideries by Julia Shore replicate the forest floor’s supple textures in fiber and beads. The Los Angeles-based artist also uses hand-dyed velvet, wool, felt, and sequins to add a variety of hues ranging from emerald green to golden yellow. “I tried to capture its intricacy—all the different shades and forms of moss; its soft and calming nature,” she says.

Shore’s next series of moss pieces will be released on Etsy in February. She shares embroidery tutorials on YouTube and has kits and downloadable patterns available for purchase on her website. You can also follow more updates on Instagram.

 

An embroidery made to look like moss that also incorporates real moss. Pictured held in someone's hand surrounded by beads and thread.

An embroidery made to look like moss that also incorporates real moss, pictured surrounded by natural moss.

An embroidery made to look like moss that also incorporates real moss, pictured surrounded by beads and thread.

An embroidery made to look like moss that also incorporates real moss, pictured surrounded by natural moss.

A photo of a moss-like embroidery

A photo of a multiple moss-like embroideries

An embroidery made to look like moss that also incorporates real moss, pictured surrounded by natural moss.

 

 



Photography

Vibrant Makeup Mirrors Sweet Frozen Treats in Max Siedentopf’s ‘Pleasure Portraits’

January 25, 2023

Kate Mothes

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

All images © Max Siedentopf, shared with permission

London-based artist and creative director Max Siedentopf has a knack for portraying more than meets the eye in his distinctive portraits. A series titled Pleasure Portraits looks forward to summer, featuring the distinctive pastels and jewel tones of ice cream bars alongside subjects whose decadent makeup mimics the hues and embellishments of their paired confection.

No stranger to fashion and makeup artistry in his collaborative, creative development role with the Italian brand Gucci, Siedentopf cast models who were ornamented with gems, baubles, and vibrant patterns. In this playful study of duality, there is a twist of irony: despite the association of frozen treats and the sunny colors of summertime with pleasure, Siedentopf’s subjects sit inert and gaze expressionlessly at the viewer in a similar format to passport photos.

Siedentopf is currently preparing a few upcoming exhibitions, fashion campaigns, and a forthcoming book of photographs. Follow updates on Instagram, and find more of his work on his website.

 

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A series of side-by-side photographs pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.