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dope poster

Masterclass Brought to you by yours truly…African led development what does it even mean? Featuring two voices I respect Rakesh Rajani and Jennifer Lentfer moderated by @solomelemma. Register today, space is limited. Kudos to @zuwlander for flyer. (at Far from Bono, Affleck & Clooney)

Masterclass Brought to you by yours truly…African led development what does it even mean? Featuring two voices I respect Rakesh Rajani and Jennifer Lentfer moderated by @solomelemma. Register today, space is limited. Kudos to @zuwlander for flyer. (at Far from Bono, Affleck & Clooney)

"In any case, New Imperialism is upon us. It’s a remodeled, streamlined version of what we once knew. For the first time in history, a single empire with an arsenal of weapons that could obliterate the world in an afternoon has complete, unipolar, economic and military hegemony. It uses different weapon to break open different markers.

Poor countries that are geopolitically of strategics value to the empire, or have a ‘market’ of any size, or infrastructure that can be privatized, or, god forbid, natural resources of value — oil, gold, diamonds, cobalt, coal — must do as they’re told or become military targets. Those with the greatest reserves of natural wealth are most at risk. Unless they surrender their resources willingly to the corporate machine, civil unrest will be fomented, or war will be waged. In this new age of empire, when nothing is as it appears to be, executives of concerned companies are allowed to influence foreign policy decisions.

This brutal blueprint has been used over and over again, across Latin American, Africa, Central and Southeast Asia. It has cost millions of lives. It goes without saying that every war empire wages becomes a just war. This, in large part, is due to the role of the corporate media. It’s important to understand that the corporate media doesn’t just support the neo-liberal project. it IS the neo-liberal project. This is not a moral position it has chosen to take, it’s structural. It’s intrinsic to the economics of how the mass media works.”

 Arundhati Roy, An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire

Messy notes on Mogadishu

"When you leave Mogadishu, you must remember how terrified of the planes you were. Frantically searching the interwebs for casualty history of their McDonnell MD-80 flight liners. You’re a hypocrite who commits herself to all things African, unless they have wings and seek to transport your body from one space to another. Technology is for the melanin challenged, your self-hating fear explains. The mortars terrified you too, as did the hungry boys who come baring body amour made of molten trauma seeking more of Mogadishu’s carcasses as penance. You try to still your mind and not think of the 1001 ways you can expire in the next few moments while you wait for this struggling plane. Instead, you’ll sit at Aden Adde International Airport, browsing all the images that fill your Smartphone. You delight at the faces of Mogadishu’s sons and daughters, and marvel at the possible reactions those images would instill in homesick friends. Then the remains of your feeble ethics will interject and tell you that you mustn’t publish faces of children you haven’t fed. You’re a writer now, and writers ought to have words in their pockets and limbs, words about what you’ve just seen in Mogadishu. But you have nothing, no letters, no poetic syntax, no scathing rhetoric, no geopolitical insight, nothing. You just wanna write this city and turn those paragraphs into authentic accounts of a deeply majestic place. You’ll laugh at the girl who once wanted to create movements here, who had no answers to the, ‘how’, ‘when’ questions, but had the answers for the, ‘why’ and ‘where’ ones.

You’ve been lucky. Nothing irks you more than the life examined through the juxtaposition of one’s privileged life to the have-nots, but you’ll do it anyway. It’s the only rubric you got. You remember the nights you layed eyes wide open in you bed, while your co-citizens slept in makeshift tents made out of tired steel, smelling of muck and misery, a thought enough to split the most hardened of you into a million little privileged pieces. This could’ve been you, us, you think. And you really don’t know what to quite do with that reality. The crocodile tears you share with your citizens.
You keep your head down and windows rolled up as you drive through Mogadishu’s present, shaking your collective heads at how far you’ve fallen and the lives never lived. You know shit is bad when you to point to the dictatorship era as your very own La Belle Époque…you say a really silent secular prayer for comrade Siyaad. You hate yourself for that. Sometimes you find yourself cursing your working class wallet for not carrying enough dollars to soothe the many bellies of kids who resemble yesteryear’s mini you. And sometimes, you quiet the screaming woman inside with rationales like, “there’s so many of them, what the fuck can I do?”, “it’s the bloody governments fault and the fucking UN”. You make promises to write scathing tweets about the UN and then retreat because you got friends who feed there. You’ll write a Facebook status instead. You sip on your papaya juice with earphones belting, “Inner City Blues”, hoping you can teleport into

Netherworld and dead the sounds of your hurt city spitting deafening, empty fridges rhymes. There’s not all hurt here, but beauty too. Most live on the faces of those who retreat at night. the mothers whose stories have are reduced to NGO jargon like IDPs, and in the faces of fatigued soldiers who’ve turned in their militia boots and fire for a chance at a honest living. They say they’ll die for her, Somalia, as soon and they’re paid their 100 dollar a month salary, now overdue for six months. They sit at their checkpoints, faces at war with the Mogadishu sun, waiting for generous days.
You’re what we call one of the many PTSDs running around, and you just got diagnosed in Mogadishu. Tired diasporans who tell lies about a purpose-driven return, when you’re all just looking for similar faces and welcoming tongues. You hated Canada, and Europe won’t have any of you. If only the euros knew how little you like to work and how much you love haram liqueurs.
You then ask your brother for the address holding your kid memories hostage. He gives it to you and warns you not to visit. Fears the new proclaimed tenants might view your nostalgic attempt at an Instagram moment as move to end their years with a fixed address. You go anyway and forget the camera.

You call family, mainly compromised of beloved friends, who want you out of Mogadishu. They say it’s not safe, I tell them it’s safe; the mortars in the background betray your feigned courage. Your father tells you to leave, and by that he means, “don’t awaken the city we killed in 1991″…You tell him she had cancer and her death was inevitable. He laughs, partly annoyed, partly amused, calls you a cheeky troll, “Af Mishar”. You wish he would laugh like that with you again in Mogadishu.
You’re lost and sans a purpose, can no longer assembly Mogadishu in your daydreams at work, no longer create fetishizes accounts of how perfect she could be. You’ve now met her and she doesn’t seem familiar or friendly. You’re an asshole for expecting warmth from a place you failed. This hurts you. You’re gonna go stop writing now because you hear gunshots and need Curtis Mayfield to calm you down.
Your battle between the west and Mogadishu has ended, both lost, and all of you casualty. You tell your friend You’re done with Mogadishu, disgusted with the administration, the government affiliated kleptomaniacs, the pseudo feminists who enjoy the company of men in polyester suits versus the sight of the women they come to save, the sounds of foreign weapons ready to dislodge in local African bodies. You’re overwhelmed and so unprepared for this. He tells you, “what did you expect? This is Mogadishu homie”…he suggests you wrap it up and consider Nairobi or maybe South Africa as home substitute, you tell them him they harass and kills Somalis in those places too. He replies, “I thought you wanted a close substitute”. Lol touché. You hear Helsinki is nice and they got a Somali MP there. Anywhere but Canada, can’t go back to the one who never let you in. You’re thinking too much, maybe you need a picture of Lido Beach.”

Idilay Bilan 

Originaly published on

#London #Exhibition Kenya’s Phoebe Boswell’s “The Matter of Memory”

7 March - 10 April 2014 at Carrol Fletcher’s Gallery 

Born in Kenya and brought up as an expatriate in the Middle East, Phoebe Boswell combines traditional draughtsmanship and digital technology to create charged drawings, animations and installations that tell layered, global stories of human endeavour anchored in a personal exploration of the notion of ‘home’. For this exhibition, Boswell will present The Matter of Memory*, the multimedia installation for which she won the Sky Academy Arts Scholarship in 2012, which reflects on aspects of Kenya’s history - her history - by drawing upon and reinterpreting her parents’ memories.

The work responds to various childhood stories from Kenya recounted to Boswell by her “ki-settler” father (a fourth generation Kenyan settler) and Kikuyu mother, in an attempt for the artist to piece together her own definition of ‘home’. Presented as a colonial style living room, much like the one she recalls from her own memories of childhood visits to Kenya, the immersive, multi-sensory installation aims to take the viewer on a narrative journey through personal histories, where revelations of uncomfortable truths emerge embedded within the fabric of this familiar space through audio monologues, projected hand-drawn animations, wall drawings and animated objects. From the vantage point of a person who grew up removed from the site of her heritage but very much a product of a post-colonial partnership, the work explores the effect Kenya and its colonial past had on the often opposing childhoods of Boswell’s parents.

* A term sourced from the book Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor


Sue Williamson: A Few South Africans (1984)

Made at a time when South Africa was still firmly in the grip of apartheid, A Few South Africans (1983-7) was a series which attempted to make visible the history of women, mostly unsung individuals, who had made an impact in some way on the struggle for freedom. The ‘few’ of the title are representative of the anonymous many who were part of the struggle. At the time, pictures of these women never appeared in the popular press, and little was known about them. In order to make their portraits the artist had to photograph them herself or source images in banned books which she unearthed in university libraries. Through her mode of presentation she gave each of these women the status of heroine. The backgrounds and framing devices reflected aspects of their personal histories. Williamson has explained that the framing devices she used here refer to the way in which people in the squatter towns and townships would use scraps of wallpaper, printed packaging and coloured gift wraps to elevate snapshots to the status of works of art. The central image of each is a photo-etching, sometimes with the additional of aquatint or hard-ground etching; the frames were screenprinted and collaged over the etched images. Motifs in the frames derive from African textiles such as kanga cloths, or personal artefacts. Referring to this series, Williamson has said “I like to make work people feel ready to get engaged with, so they don’t just walk past. Lots of images are quite familiar images so I re-present them so viewers are seeing something quite familiar to them in a new or different context. In many ways, I am acting as an archivist.” The subjects of these prints have been documented by Williamson, with an account of each woman’s life and her political role detailed in a catalogue which accompanied the publication of the series. 

An important part of the history of this series of 17 prints is that they were also reproduced as postcards, in order to make the images widely accessible to the general public. These postcards have been described as ‘one of the most important icons of the eighties’. This view is reflected in Williamson’s comment, “My work is about people, rather than about myself. It’s about stories of people in the community. At the same time, I feel allowed to use these stories to make my work so I like to put something back in again … I try to make things that are popular and will be understood by most people who look at it. I don’t just want to talk to other artists, many of whom make work for their peers.”







Dancing with South Africa’s @Tarryn_tnt! #sheKILLSit

Dope micro documentary on Tarryn:

L.A Hotel Room new video from Tanzanian/Canadian songbird Alysha Brilla! 

Preservation, Cultivation, innovation + more with Spoek Mathambo’s collaboration with Vodafone. 

Senegal’s Selly Raby Kane “Alien Cartoon” F/W 2014 


Stuart Hall | Interview on multiculturalism 

Thinking Allowed, BBC Radio 4, March 2011

"I’m not surprised that identity has become a political question, but I’m in despair, and also ironic, about the actual forms that takes…I mean St George’s Day, can you imagine? I think those are pretty ridiculous. But, at the same time, globalisation has greatly overplayed the decline of the nation state and national culture. These two things work hand in hand, so the question of, well, ‘what are we attached to?’, especially for a society which has constructed its history to suggest that, you know, these are special people - they came out of the North Sea already tolerant, liberal, open-minded, addicted to freedom etcetera. It’s horrendous distortion of what the national history has been, as our story, which is going on right now. We’re about to teach a version of it that says the only thing is really that we did come out of the sea civilized. I think all of that is not amusing at all. A difficult and dangerous preoccupation, and its a preoccupation that Paul Gilroy called ‘[postcolonial] melancholia’ a kind of mourning for a lost object, and its an unrequitable mourning because it’s not going to come back in that form.”


Documentary: The Godmother of Rock & Roll: Sister Rosetta Tharpe! #BHM 

Bonafide mixtape by mr @africanhiphop aka J4 thx @akwaabamusic!

Great interview here too! 

Kin VII Scent of Magnolia - Whitfield Lovell
via theleoisallinthemind:

Kin VII Scent of Magnolia - Whitfield Lovell

via theleoisallinthemind: