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Art

New Banksy Works Emerge Among the Destruction in Ukraine

November 14, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

All images shared with permission

Banksy (previously) has been traveling through the battle-scarred streets of Ukraine, producing a slew of works directly confronting Russia’s unwarranted and unjust aggression. The elusive street artist’s signature stencils have been spotted among the rubble of bombed buildings and barricades in Borodyanka and Gorenka, both in the Bucha Region, while others are just outside the capital city of Kyiv. Each centers on the strength and resiliency of the Ukrainian people.

The works broadly criticize the ongoing war and its disastrous effects on the everyday lives of citizens, depicting a woman outfitted with hair rollers, a bathrobe, and a gas mask grasping a fire extinguisher, a bearded man scrubbing his back in an open-air bathtub, and silhouettes of young children teeter-tottering on a left-behind hunk of steel. Perhaps the most pointed piece is that of a young boy slamming Russian President Vladimir Putin to the ground during a judo match—according to the BBC, Putin has projected an interest in the sport.

Watch Banksy at work on these pieces in a recent YouTube video, and find more on Instagram. This is the first time the artist has emerged since the Spraycation series 15 months ago.

 

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged barricade in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

 

 

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Photography

Jarring Juxtapositions of Prosperity and Conflict by Uğur Gallenkuş

May 17, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Bottom photograph: Paula Bronstein

Turkish artist Uğur Gallenkuş uses split images to emphasize the grave differences between war-torn countries and privileged, peaceful societies. Gallenkuş often specifically references Western visual culture in his juxtaposed images, such as Christian iconography of the Madonna and child, and the Instagram aesthetic of the ice cream cone portrait. In each composite image, the Istanbul-based artist pairs a carefully matched slice of prosperity with jarring documentation of conflict and poverty to show what occupies the attention and defines the experiences of people around the world, depending on where they live.

Gallenkuş has been creating these divided images for several years as a personal project, and has garnered global attention for his work, which he shares with nearly half a million followers on Instagram. In a recent interview with Juxtapoz, the artist explained,  “If we want to live in peace and trust, we must have healthy knowledge and empathy. Wrong and biased information and hatred make these problems even worse.”

Lefthand photograph: Abd Doumany

Lefthand photograph: Mario Tama

Lefthand photograph: Shakib Rahman / Righthand photograph: Frederic J. Brown

Righthand photograph: Yasin Akgul

Lefthand photograph: Khalid Mohammed

 

 

 



Documentary

Ai Weiwei’s Film ‘Human Flow’ Documents the Staggering Scale of the Global Refugee Crisis

March 23, 2018

Christopher Jobson

To create his new documentary film Human Flow, Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei spent a full year traveling through 23 countries, following the journeys of some of the 65 million people forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change, and protracted wars. Crossing oceans and visiting refugee camps in precarious border cities in Afghanistan, Greece, Iraq, Kenya, Mexico, Turkey and beyond, Ai documented the stories of fellow humans of all ages and nationalities who currently have no place to call home.

The individual stories of several refugees and their journeys—or near perpetual state of limbo—are interwoven throughout the film, though Ai focuses mostly on a macro view that illustrates the unimaginable scope of the unfolding crisis that has enveloped entire nations. By its nature, Human Flow recognizes that there are no easy solutions to these monumental catastrophes that impacts all of us directly or indirectly, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. A healthy dose of compassion and a recognition of a shared humanity would be a good start.

On a personal note, I felt deeply impacted by the film and strongly urge you to watch it.

On Sunday, April 29, 2018, Human Flow will be screened simultaneously across the United States. Immediately following, Ai will participate in a livestream Q&A with audiences around the country. If you are interested in hosting a public screening in a school, library, community center or elsewhere, you can find out more from ro*co films.

 

 



Art

Banksy Emerges in New York and Calls Attention to Imprisoned Turkish Artist Zehra Doğan

March 15, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Banksy (previously) has emerged this week on the streets of New York, creating at least two new artworks, his first pieces in the city since his ‘residency’ five years ago. In one large work spanning the length of the famed mural space at the corner of Houston Street and Bowery in Manhattan, tally marks form prison bars, symbolically counting the days of imprisonment for artist Zehra Doğan. The Turkish painter is currently serving a nearly three-year prison sentence for the creation of a single painting. The mural is a collaboration between Banksy and street artist Borf.

Doğan, who also worked as a reporter for the now-defunct Dicle news agency, created the painting in 2016 which depicts operations carried out by Turkish security forces against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The artwork, derived from a photograph, shows buildings reduced to rubble, plumes of smoke, and gathered military trucks, all part of a multi-year effort in Turkey’s southeastern towns and cities to clear out PKK militants.

The aspect that the Mardin 2nd High Criminal Court deemed a crime are the Turkish flags that Doğan included, draped over the facades of some of the standing buildings, elements that also appear in the original photo.

As a result of her artistic rendering of the destruction in Mardin province, Doğan may be the only person in the world imprisoned for the act of painting. In Instagram posts about his depiction of Doğan’s sentencing, Banksy is encouraging people to repost her work and tag Turkey’s president, who is also active on Instagram.

 

Zehra Doğan’s painting

The photograph that Doğan’s painting is based on

Update: A previous version of this article did not attribute Borf as a collaborator.

 

 



Design History

Delicate Sketches of the Original Peace Symbol to be Exhibited in London

February 20, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Sketch of nuclear disarmament symbol, by Gerald Holtom. © Commonweal Collection.

Stretching back over a half century, one of the most iconic symbols adopted by the international community has been the peace symbol. Utilized by millions of activists, organizations, and artists across the globe, most people are probably unfamiliar with the design’s unique origins and the meaning behind the multi-pronged symbol.

Artist Gerald Holtom created the symbol for the first Aldermaston March in 1958, part of a series of anti-nuclear weapon demonstrations in the 1950s and 1960s. The symbol was next adopted by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and soon peace groups around the world displayed it in a variety of configurations. But what exactly does it mean?

Holtom designed the peace symbol around the visual language of flag semaphores, a telegraphy method for communicating with flags at a distance, combining the letters “N” and “D” standing for “nuclear” and “disarmament.”

Flag semaphores for the letters “N” and “D” and an overlay. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Holtom’s original 1958 sketches are now in extremely fragile condition and are rarely seen in public. However, a few of them, along with 300 objects from a century of anti-war activist campaigns in the UK, will be on view as part of People Power: Fighting for Peace at the Imperial War Museum in London from March 23 through August 28, 2017. You can read more about the peace symbol’s history over on Hyperallergic.

Hey art and design teachers, here’s a fun project idea: have students create new symbols for ideas important to them using flag semaphores or some other symbolic alphabet as a starting point. Send the results to [email protected] by March 20, 2017 with the subject ‘Peace Project‘ and we’ll share our favorites here on Colossal.

 

 



Art

Floral Elements Embroidered Directly on Antique Soldiers’ Helmets

June 23, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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“Kill for Peace” (2016), soldier’s helmets, sweaters. Cross-stitch, drilling, Industrial needle punching. All images by Vidmantas Ilciukas.

Lithuanian artist Severija Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė (previously here, here, and here) uses cross-stitch embroidery to soften metal objects that seem materially opposed to the craft, having previously worked with car doors, spoons, pots, pans, and shovels. In her latest exhibition “Kill for Peace,” Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė used helmets from armies of various countries, stitching roses, violets, and thorns onto their surfaces. These helmets were presented at the contemporary art fair Art Vilnius 2016 where she was awarded for best installation at the fair. You can see more embroidered works on her website.

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