Lagos-based photographer Medina Dugger documents colorful hair culture in the coastal Nigerian city with her ongoing series Chroma. The collection of portraits pays homage to J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, a renowned African photographer who documented women’s hairstyles in Nigeria for over 50 years, starting in the mid-20th century.
Prior to decolinization, Dugger explains, wigs and straightening had replaced much of the indigenous hair culture, and ‘Okhai Ojeikere’s documentations sought to celebrate traditional hairdos. She continues, “African hair braiding methods date back thousands of years and Nigerian hair culture is a rich and often extensive process which begins in childhood. The methods and variations have been influenced by social/cultural patterns, historical events and globalization. Hairdos range from being purely decorative to conveying deeper, more symbolic understandings, revealing social status, age and tribal/family traditions.”
While ‘Okhai Ojeikere’ images were in black and white, Dugger updates the documentary style with brightly colored backgrounds, a diverse array of vibrant contemporary fashion, and rainbow hues integrated into the hairstyles with thread, beads, and dyed extensions. You can see more of Dugger’s colorful editorial photography on her website and Instagram.
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Israeli designer Sharon Sides translates natural forms into designed objects by digitally transferring their patterns onto metal. In her series of bronze and acid-etched brass furniture titled Stumps, she utilizes the concentric rings of tree stumps to create richly textured surfaces. As a way to more deeply connect each piece to the object it is inspired by, Sides also keeps the edges of her tables and chairs as close to the stump shapes as possible, and molds the furniture’s legs to appear like twigs or branches. You can watch the design process behind Sides’s series of tree-inspired objects in the video below.
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Unlike Guatemalan conceptual artist Darío Escobar, most people who pass through the sporting goods section of a store would not pause to consider the accumulation of mass-produced industrial objects like soccer balls and the cultural value that they gain via those who consume them. Escobar’s sculptural works make use of balls that have had their patches removed and resewn inside out, bats that have been broken and configured to form skylines, and skateboards that have been cut into pieces and reformed using gold hinges.
“My work starts from a reflection about the industrial object, sculptures created with soccer balls, skateboards, baseball bats, etc.,” the artist said in a statement, adding that his work is about the “persistent thinking of identical objects in a sculptural operation; a new configuration of an element repeated obsessively, such as when showing a product in supermarkets or sports stores.”
Escobar says that he is inspired by the way that objects like soccer balls are collected and displayed in an attempt to make them more appealing to consumers. “The artwork also tells us about the accumulation not from the perspective of the soccer balls’ ready-made individuality but from the amassing of merchandise as raw material for contemporary sculpture,” he said. In an interview with Reigning Champ, Escobar said that his manipulation of the objects is a way to “change the angle of view” and gain a new perspective. At larger retailers, balls are displayed at or below eye-level in individual packaging that elevate the intrigue of the product, while Escobar’s sculptures place them high above the viewer and bunch them together so that each ball is like the last. The works turn these merchandise displays on their head, creating unique ways to observe the construction of the sporting good object and its connection to the world at large.
To see more of Escobar’s conceptual sculptures using ready-made objects, check out his website.
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Cape Town-based artist Philip Barlow paints abstracted depictions of the cityscapes at night, blurring the focus of street lamps and headlights the way our eyes or a photographer’s lens might when adjusting to a city’s bright, multi-colored lights. In this way, Barlow paints from perception rather than reality, showcasing the beautiful ways we process our daily surroundings. In the foreground, the paintings feature overlapping orbs of white, red, and blue light, which obscure blurred buildings, cars, and signs that occupy the dimly painted background.
“The figures in the landscape serve as carriers and reflectors of the light that falls upon them,” explains Barlow. “Bathed in the luminosity, it is my hope that they would become more beautiful. To me, light is the ultimate subject because it embodies the pinnacle of all reality.”
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After setting up shop in a London corner store and NYC-style bodega, Lucy Sparrow (previously) has grown her unusual art showing/selling technique into a full-blown ’80s-style supermarket. Taking up 2,800 square feet of the Standard Hotel in Downtown LA, the British artist’s fifth large-scale installation is quite literally stuffed with replicas of everyday products, each handmade from felt. The shelves are packed with different ramen and instant noodle soups, Reese’s Puffs, Frosted Flakes and other popular cereals, three different brands of peanut butter along with Smucker’s grape or strawberry jelly, a whole range of favorite snacks, chips, pasta or rice, and all the essential personal hygiene products.
In 2014 Sparrow successfully used Kickstarter to fund her first major project in London called The Corner Shop, which offered 4,000 hand-sewn felt products. Three years later she hopped across the pond to open 8 ‘Til Late, a bodega located in Manhattan at The Standard, High Line with 9,000 items that sold out a couple of days before the official closing date. Challenged by the demand for her plush groceries, the artist locked herself inside her Felt Cave studio for a year and produced her largest and most elaborate project to date — Sparrow Mart.
The retro shop has all the familiar selections of American comforts, including a videotape rental section with ’80s classics like Footloose, Dirty Dancing, and Short Circuit. She also has fresh hand-sewn seafood on ice, sushi, fruits and vegetables, a variety of meat cuts and other animal products, popular snacks, canned goods, cereals, candies, sodas, liquor and cleaning products. Each item is meticulously cloned from felt, a material that evokes childhood and play. The fact that the store offers 27 different types of sushi (each produced in 300 pieces), plus chopsticks, wasabi, pickled ginger, and even soy sauce packed inside iconic plastic fish containers, says a great deal about the amount of detail and determination that went into creating this overwhelming installation. Working alone until very recently, the artist ended up hiring four full-time assistants in her studio and outsourcing fifteen professionals to complete this immersive project.
Offering a felt ATM in between the isles, an exclusive gallery section in the back, and ending with three felt checkout stations, each of the 31,000 products on view is available for purchase with prices ranging from $5 for bubblegum to $73 for a kimchi Michelada. Sparrow Mart is open through the end of August 2018 from 11am-9pm (closed Mondays). The installation is accompanied with Sparrow To Go, a 24/7 restaurant in the lobby of the hotel, offering dishes inspired by the items in Sparrow Mart and prepared by the hotel’s executive chef Julio Palma. After this, the artist is considering creating a similar installation in Chicago, Dallas, Melbourne, or somewhere in Asia, like Hong Kong or Tokyo. You can see more from Sparrow on Instagram.
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Coral-Inspired Vessels Formed From Thousands of Individually-Applied Porcelain Fragments by Olivia Walker
London and Barcelona-based ceramicist Olivia Walker produces works in porcelain that address the ideas of growth and decay through additive and subtractive processes. After creating her initial shape on a potter’s wheel, Walker attaches thousands of individually-applied fragments that appear like organic growths. “I start from a set point on a bowl, and let these organic accretions spread out and grow – eating through, or growing over the form beneath,” she explains. “These make reference to organisms – fungus, coral, and bacteria – but are unidentifiable.”
Walker’s vessels are currently a part of the New Member Showcase at CAA Gallery in London through August 31, 2018. She will also be showing her sculptures at the British Craft Pavilion as a part of the London Design Festival from September 20-23, 2018. You can see more of her porcelain works on Instagram.
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For three days in September, Toledo’s favorite waterfront park will be transformed by dynamic interactive art projects, art exhibitions and performances, innovative music across a spectrum of genres, and a Mini Maker Faire.
From large scale art installations including Fantastic Planet by Parer Studio and the Compound Camera by Pneuhaus to specially commissioned interactive artworks from regional artists, visitors will find a diverse mix of hands-on art experiences. Exhibitions will showcase Toledo’s rich history as the birthplace of the studio glass movement and current knowledge base in the glass industry.
Musical guests Orquesta Akokán will bring their big band collective of the finest Cuban musicians both young and old. The Toledo Symphony Orchestra will perform “Water Concerto” by composer Tan Dun (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). A wide range of regional and local musicians and performers will be active in the park throughout the festival.
The Toledo Mini Maker Faire features more than 20 makers with demonstrations and hands-on activities. Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker Movement. Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers of all ages and backgrounds.
The 2018 Momentum festival will be held September 13-15 in Promenade Park and the surrounding area including Imagination Station. Learn more at momentumtoledo.org and follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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Editor's Picks: Fashion
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.