'Lynch started off as an artist, and when you remember this, his films make much more sense – if that is the word. One of the things you notice, secondarily, about Eraserhead is how little dialogue there is in it.'
'The point is that Lynch prefers the image to the word. His favourite directors, he has said, are Tati, Herzog and Kubrick, all of whom can be said to use silences of varying lengths to great effect. (Although the relentless background noise of his films, continuous in Eraserhead, sporadic in, say, Blue Velvet, most notably as a precursor to sexual violence, shows how interested he is in different kinds of silence: the "room tone", which film-makers have to be very careful to match when shooting the same scene from different angles.) He is also a great fan of Francis Bacon, which comes as no surprise when you look at the mutant baby in Eraserhead, which recalls nothing so much as the painter's Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion.'
David Lynch: director of dreams
Meta Warrick Fuller was a black female artist who specialized in sculpture. Born in Philadelphia in 1877, her career peaked during America’s Gilded Age, a time when more women were trained as artists than ever before. She attended the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Arts in 1897 (now Pennsylvania College of Art) before traveling abroad to study in Paris in 1899. Warrick studied at the Académie Colarossi for sculpture and La Ecole des Beaux Arts for drawing. It was during this time that she met Auguste Rodin, who encouraged her to continue the sculptural realism that she loved. This advice invigorated her art. With her new confidence, she exhibited at Samuel Bing’s L’Art Nouveau Gallery in Paris in 1900.
Meta Warrick returned to Philadelphia in 1902. Eleven years after her return she married Dr. Solomon Fuller of Massachusetts. In 1910 she created signature piece, Ethiopia Awakening which in many ways anticipated the Harlem Renaissance two decades later. As the depiction of an ancient black Egyptian coming back to life, this piece exemplifies a determination to shatter Africa’s association with slavery and ignorance. In the time that Fuller created this piece, only Ethiopia of all the African nations had successfully maintained its independence against European imperialists. Fuller created the piece as a historical validation and celebration of Africans and their connection to African Americans.
In a similar vain, Fuller also completed a commemorative plaque in honor of Emperor Menelik II of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in 1912. In the 1930s and 1940s, Fuller became increasingly active in church work and as a result her sculpture took on a religious theme that manifested itself in her version of the Pieta in 1930. Fuller retired from her work in the 1950s to care for her ailing husband and to recover from her own bout with tuberculosis. In the 1960s she returned to sculpture, creating tributes to the civil rights movement before dying in 1968 at age 90.
Renée Ater, “Making History,” American Art (Vol 17 Issue 3, Fall 2003); Sharon E. Patton, African American Art(Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1998).
4 March 2013
The birthday of Miriam Makeba, the late singer and civil rights campaigner, has been commemorated with a Google doodle.
Makeba was born in Johannesburg on 4 March, 1932. In 1960, the South African government cancelled her passport to prevent her returning to her home from her travels overseas. She returned after the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990.
South African diva Miriam Makeba is well known throughout the world known as the Mama Africa and the Empress of African Song. Born in 1932 in South Afica, she first came to the public's attention as a featured vocalist with the Manhattan Brothers in 1954. She soon left to record with her all-woman group the Skylarks while touring Southern Africa with Alf Herberts' African Jazz and Variety, an 18 month tour that launched the careers of many African artists.
In 1959, Makeba's incredible voice help win her the role of the female lead in the show, King Kong, a Broadway-inspired South African musical. She then went to conquer America where she sang at President Kennedy's birthday and worked in New York with Harry Belafonte creating such classics as "The Click Song" and "Pata Pata".
In 1963 she testified about apartheid before the United Nations, as a result the South African government revoked her citizship and right of return. She stayed in the U.S. and married Stokely Carmichael, a Black Panther leader. That began her exile from her South African homeland. After harassment by U.S. authorities she fled to exile in Guinea.
Makeba returned to world prominence when she performed with Paul Simon on the Graceland tour. Finally in the late 1980's she returned to her homeland as a free South African.
17 April 2012
Swedish minister denies claims of racism over black woman cake stunt
Calls for Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth to resign over role in art event supposedly highlighting female genital mutilation and racism
Sweden's minister of culture has been accused of racism after cutting a cake depicting a naked black woman.
Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth was taking part in an event at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, the capital's museum of modern art and home to works by Picasso and Dalí. She was invited to cut the cake, an art installation meant to highlight the issue of female genital mutilation. She began, as instructed, by taking a chunk from the cake's "clitoris".
The artist, Makode Aj Linde, who created the installation for World Art Day on 15 April, took part in the cake-cutting, with his blackened face and head sticking up next to the cake's stomach and arms. The cakes "insides" were a gruesome red. A video shows him screaming loudly every time a visitor hacks off another slice of the cake.
Linde posted photos of the "genital mutilation cake" on his Facebook page. But the images provoked a furious response, with Sweden's African-Swedish Association describing it as "a racist spectacle".
A spokesman for the association, Kitimbwa Sabuni, told Sweden's The Local newspapers: "In our view, this simply adds to the mockery of racism in Sweden."
The association has demanded her resignation. In a statement, Sabuni said the association doubted a cake party meant to highlight the issue of female genital mutilation had achieved its aim. Instead, the cake was just "a racist caricature of a black woman". He said the minister's decision to take part in a dubious event with cannibalistic overtones showed her "incompetence and lack of judgment".
Sabuni told the newspaper: "Her participation, as she laughs, drinks and eats cake, merely adds to the insult against people who suffer from racist taunts and against women affected by circumcision."
Adelsohn Liljeroth, however, said she sympathised with the association's criticisms but denied she had done anything wrong. Speaking to the TT news agency, she conceded the cake installation was provocative and rather bizarre, and said she had been invited to speak about artistic freedom and the right to offend.
She added: "They wanted me to cut the cake." Ultimately, the artist was to blame for any confusion, she said, arguing that the situation had been misinterpreted. "He claims that it challenges a romanticised and exoticised view from the west about something that is really about violence and racism," she said. "Art needs to be provocative."
Sabuni dismissed the remarks, according to Swedish media reports, and called the minister's comments "extremely insulting". He added: "Sweden thinks of itself as a place where racism is not a problem. That just provides cover for not discussing the issue, which leads to incidents like this.
"To participate in a racist manifestation masquerading as art is totally over the line and can only be interpreted as the culture minister supporting the Moderna Museet's racist prank," he said.
The 'cake' of a naked black woman made by an artist, Makode Aj Linde Link to video: Swedish minister accused of racism over cake stunt
Swedish Cultural Minister eating a slice of “Black Woman” cake with a male artist in Blackface.