Summer party!

The Open Arts Archive is looking forward to tonight’s Summer Party and MK Calling preview tonight at Milton Keynes Gallery. 

MK Calling (28 June – 8 September) is the Gallery’s summer programme of exhibitions and performances, featuring 100 artists, musicians and performers from Milton Keynes. This dynamic season of painting, video, dance, music, poetry and much, much more will showcase MK’s finest emerging and established talent.

The MK Calling preview and MK Gallery’s Summer Party with free hog roast and live jazz will take place on Thursday 27 June, 6-10pm. Everyone is welcome. There will be speeches by Anthony Spira (MK Gallery’s Director), Hedley Swain (Area Director, ArtsCouncil South East) and Peter Geary (MK Council Cabinet Member for the Arts) at 7pm.

More information about the event is available on the Open Arts Archive or from Milton Keynes Gallery.

Art and climate

The Two Degrees festival takes place this week (17-22 June) at Toynbee Studios in London, offering a range of activities examining the connection between art and climate change. This is a topic addressed by the Radical Nature Study Day back in 2009, available to view on the Open Arts Archive, but is no less current today.

Agnes Martin in the news

Agnes Martin has been in the news this week as her work features in the current exhibition at the Mayor GalleryThe Nature of Women (5 June until 26 July) features six female abstract artists, among them Agnes Martin, Aurélie Nemours and Lisa Corrine Davis. Furthermore, two of Martin’s paintings are also new to the Kunsthaus, Zurich in their latest exhibition (7 June – 8 September) of the Hubert Looser collection.

Agnes Martin was the subject of a conference at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge that can be viewed on the Open Arts Archive at http://www.openartsarchive.org/oaa/archive/692.

FABRIC-ATION at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The Open Arts Archive was very pleased to film a study day at Yorkshire Sculpture Park this weekend. ‘Contemporary Art and Textiles in West Africa’ was one of the events organised to coincide with Yinka Shonibare’s Fabric-ation exhibition running this summer.

The first part of this study day (‘African Textile, African Contemporary’) introduced participants to the textile heritage of Nigeria that Shonibare draws upon. It looked at the various forms of textile production in Nigeria, with specific reference to the Yoruba people. The diverse forms of weaving, dying and industrial production were examined. It then explored the significant place that textiles have in Yoruba culture, opening out the various traditions of use as well as looking at how those traditions have been brought forward into the twenty-first century, in areas of textile use such as masquerade, identity and religious practice as well as modern fashion and clothing. This revealed the complexities of notions of ‘African-ness’ as many of the textiles we now consider to be ‘African’ in fact have substantial European origins and influences. The colourful cloths featured in Shonibare’s exhibition are less popular, in Yoruba culture, than plain white cloth, which also has particular ritual or religious significance.

The title of the exhibition, ‘FABRIC-ATION’, plays on the role of fantasy in the cloths the artist has created. This highlights the extent to which Shonibare’s work sets up complex and often paradoxical notions of identity based on ideas of disguise and cultural hybridity, which are also common in aspects of so-called ‘British’ culture.

The second part of the day (‘African Contemporary, African Textile’) looked at the relationship between textiles and contemporary art in Nigeria, examining a number of artists who make use of textile traditions in their work. A substantial focus in this respect was on the issue of the ‘modern’ and the tensions that may arise for post-colonial artists who wish their art to be considered, under this heading, alongside that of their western counterparts.

Footage from the day will be available on www.openartsarchive.org shortly.