Aesthetics or Ethnography? Notes on the Amsterdam Anthropology Lecture Series (AALS)

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Photography by Omar, one of Termeer’s respondents

By Matthias Teeuwen            When one thinks of a Muslim artist in the Netherlands one naturally thinks of someone who, with his or her art, tries to address issues of integration, tensions between Islam and secularism or the clash between Islamic and western society. Because that is what art by Muslims in the Netherlands is supposed to be about. Right?

In last week’s AALS lecture Dr. Bregje Termeer came to talk to us about her dissertation research on artistic strategies of young Muslim artists living in the Netherlands. What she discovered was that these artists did not subscribe to the definition of what art by Muslims is supposed to be. These artists were, as Termeer called it, ‘disengaging culturalism’.

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aNTHROPOLOGiSTS iN aRT & GaLERia LETO PRESENT:

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Invite by: Gorilla

Anthropologists in Art and Galeria Leto present:

Gorilla Goes Bananas
Dutch graphic designers breaking the news with a twist
a masterclass – a lecture – an exhibition
May 23rd – June 15th, 2013
Galeria Leto, Minska 25, Warsaw (PL)
Opening: Thursday May 23rd, 20.00 hrs Lecture: Thursday May 23rd, 17.30 (doors) 18.00 (start lecture), (free entrance). Guestspeakers: Piotr Rypson, Gorillas (Alex Clay / Lesley Moore, Richard vd Laken / De Designpolitie, Herman van Bostelen) Masterclass: May 24th – 25th Exhibition: May 23rd – June 15th

Anthropologists in Art presents: Neon Warszawski

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Anthropologists in Art presents: Neon Warszawski – Polish Neon, a photography exhibition on Socialist visual communication

By Ilona Karwinska & Krzysztof Wojciechowski

February 9th – March 16th @ WM GALLERY, Elandsgracht 35, 1016 TN, Amsterdam

OPENING: SAT. 9th OF FEBRUARY, 17.00-19.00

About the exhibition:
In 1957, at a conference in Czechoslovakia, Communist Party ideologues agreed that neon could be a way to reconcile the seemingly contradictory ideas of communism and consumerism in their ailing, state-run economies. The Polish Socialist Party, having created the state-run company ‘Reklama’, throughout the 1960’s and 70’s, recruited prominent artists and designers to bring about a transformation through light, playfully modifying the uniformity of the grey, drab socialist skyline. “Neon Warszawski – Polish Neon” shows the photographs of two Polish artists, photographer and Neon Muzeum director Ilona Karwińska and independent photographer Krzysztof Wojciechowski, whose photographs of old school Polish neon signs adorn the walls of WM Gallery. Both artists present the exquisitely designed neons from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s from different perspectives. Whereas Karwińska’s photographs present the signs from a more ‘documentary’ point of view, due to her efforts of rescuing the old signage from disintegration and anonymity, Wojciechowski’s black and white photographs from the 1970’s show us night-time Warsaw as it must have been; glum, dark and deserted, enlivened only by the fanciful rectangles and curls of Poland’s premier designers in light. Visit the official webpage HERE. Lees verder

Reading a Post-Apartheid Memorial

 
Photo by April Killingsworth

Duane Jethro Sunday 8 August, 2010: I am on an expedition to find an elusive Sunday Times memorial in Soweto, Johannesburg. On the way, I drive through Vilakazi Street, passing by Nelson Mandela’s former home. It has been transformed into a museum. The precinct surrounding his former domicile is teeming with tourists and a host of locals plying a range of different commercial strategies aimed at cashing in on the spoils of the heritage venture. Further along the way, I pass the monumental Hector Pieterson Memorial and Media Centre, another heritage project erected during the post-apartheid era dedicated to the memory of the first student to have died in the 1976 student uprisings. Soweto seems to be brimming with new, rich heritage ventures mapping the formerly hidden histories of its former residents. The memorial I am in search of is not very different, having been dedicated to another forgotten memorable moment in time.

I perform a radical driving manoeuvre having suddenly spotted the artwork. The wheels churn up a cloud of dust as I swerve into the open plot of ground opposite Morris Isaacson High School in Jabulani section. Lees verder