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Adolescent Girls, Adult Women

Coming of Age Images by Five Canadian Women Artists

Loren Lerner

This article examines the concept of female adolescence and the idea of coming of age by five Canadian women artists. Marisa Portolese, Angela Grossmann, Natalka Husar, Fiona Smyth and Susan Scott were asked to explain their understanding of coming of age in relation to works they considered most representative of this phase. For each artist there is a summary of the interview and an analysis of the pictures singled out for discussion. The findings suggest no easy definition of coming of age. The images created by these women are based on autobiographical sources, their experiences as a young person, and present life circumstances as a mother, daughter or teacher. The works assert a girl's identity and search for bodily knowledge, and affirm female puberty as an intellectual and emotional reaction to physical changes.

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Clément Baloup

In this artist's statement, originally written for a keynote lecture given at the American Bande Dessinée Society conference held at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) on 3 November 2012, Clément Baloup recounts his artistic trajectory through comics, moving from his experience as a comics reader to his art work as a professional cartoonist. He speaks about other cartoonists who influenced his work, ranging from Baru to Baudoin, Mazzuchelli to Miller, and Sacco to Spiegelman. He then describes three aspects of his comics about the Vietnamese and their history: the stories that he has created, his research and writing process, and the cartooning techniques involved in making each book.

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Zeina Abirached

Zeina Abirached, born in 1981 in Beirut, is a cartoonist who studied at the Académie libanaise des beaux-arts [Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts] (ALBA) in Beirut and the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs [National Graduate School of Decorative Arts] in Paris, France. In this artist's statement, originally written for a keynote lecture given at the American Bande Dessinée Society conference held at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) on 3 November 2012, she presents her four comic books published to date, all of them autobiographical: [Beyrouth] Catharsis [(Beirut) Catharsis] (2006), 38, rue Youssef Semaani [38 Youssef Semaani Street] (2006), Mourir, partir, revenir: Le jeu des hirondelles (2007), published in English as A Game for Swallows: To Die, To Live, To Return (2012), and Je me souviens: Beyrouth (2008), published in English as I Remember Beirut (2014). She focuses especially here on the dimensions of time and space, history and geography, and memory and autobiography in her work. She also discusses the influence of OuLiPo, and especially the writings of Georges Perec, on her comics.

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Jeffrey H. Jackson

By the 1920s, the physical transformation in the urban space of Montmartre led two groups of artists to "secede" from the city of Paris, at least in spirit. Calling themselves the Commune Libre de Montmartre and the République de Montmartre, these painters, illustrators, poets, writers, and musicians articulated a distinctive community-based identity centered around mutual aid, sociability, and limiting urban development. They also reached out to the poor of the neighborhood through charity efforts, thus linking their fates with those of other area residents. Through these organizations, neighborhood artists came to terms with the changes taking place in the city of Paris in the 1920s by navigating between nostalgia and modernism. They sought to keep alive an older vision of the artists' Montmartre while adapting to the new conditions of the post-World War I city.

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The Artist in a Positivist Academy

Bridging the Artist-Scholar Divide

Ibanga B. Ikpe

One of the consequences of hyper-positivism on contemporary scholarship has been an increase in measuring academic excellence by instrumental rather than intrinsic value. Increasingly, university disciplines are required to demonstrate their relevance in the marketplace, resulting in a tendency by some arts and humanities scholars to deemphasise research and concentrate on creative practice. This paper attempts to bridge the gap between these two responses. It argues that concentrating on creative practice (techne) reduces the art academic to a tradesperson and that concentrating on rhetoric while ignoring arts practice alienates the artist from vital skills and techniques. It identifies scholarship as the defining feature of academic excellence and argues that this is better achieved when academics use critical thinking to balance creative expression and research based practice.

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Writing about Artists

Self-Referral in Drama and Society

Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe

Since the considerable commercial and critical success of Piaf by Pam Gems in 1978 and Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus in 1979, the British stage has been swept by a wave of plays about famous artists. That trend has not yet come to an end. Rather than offering a representative interpretation of one or more of these plays, either as text or in performance, I would like to discuss an aspect of the creative writing process: what inspires dramatists to write about fellow-artists? I will argue that the writing of plays about artists has to be located in a wider context of developments in society over the last twenty years rather than restricted to theatre in particular or even the arts in general.

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Intimate Passports

The Subversive Performances of Tanja Ostojić

Jehanne-Marie Gavarini

The article explores the artwork of Tanja Ostojić, an interdisciplinary artist from Serbia who uses performance art to examine social and political issues. Ostojić in particu- lar expresses the migrant woman’s perspective when facing today’s world of political and economic inequities. With caustic humor, the artist examines who occupies cen- ter positions and who remains in the margins. Ostojić’s subversive performances blur the boundaries between art and life. Her use of her own body, personal history, and identity reflects a feminist perspective. Placing Ostojić’s work in the longer history of performance art, this article analyzes how this provocative artist pushes the boundar- ies of art and culture by denouncing the power dynamics that rule exclusive systems such as the Western-dominated art world and the European Union.

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Portrait of the Artist as Colonised Subject

Fanon, Rancière and the Struggle Toward Decolonisation on the Aesthetic Front

Matthias Pauwels

This article engages with Frantz Fanon’s writings on different responses by artists among colonised peoples to the fact of their colonisation. Fanon develops a dialectical account in which an initial stage of assimilation of Western techniques and paradigms is followed by a phase of immersion in African artistic traditions. These two phases then function as prelude to a third, combative stage which is presented as the most efficacious and authentic way for artists to play their part in decolonisation. The article problematises the temporal logic and implicit hierarchies of Fanon’s account. It does so by using Jacques Rancière’s redemptive reading of early working class mobilisations in 1830s and 1840s France, prior to the advent of Marxian proletarian politics, as a counterpoint. The article here finds a different, more affirmative, nondialectical and non-historicist way of evaluating the liberatory potential of artistic practices by the colonised prior to combative decolonisation.

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Douglas Farrer

This article traces the connections between death and the afterlife as configured through the Malay martial art silat in Malaysia, Singapore, and the Riau Archipelago. The practice and performance of silat are addressed here through aspects of non-material and material culture, including ritual, dance, jewelry, symbols, and art. Silat is designed to transform physically and spiritually the silat practitioner and to remove the fear of death and dying. This transformation is partly accomplished by summoning (berseru) the shadows of the 'potent dead'. However, the contemporary medicalization of death may preclude the possibility of a 'noble death'. To illustrate the disjuncture of 'deathscapes', I compare the agonizing death of a silat master to the cemetery ordeal of his son.

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“The Strange Happiness of Being Abroad”

Dorothy Richardson's Oberland

Mhairi Pooler

Oberland has typically been viewed as an odd interlude in Dorothy Richardson's novel sequence Pilgrimage. Depicting a fortnight spent in the Swiss Alps, it focuses on the experience and influence of travel and new surroundings, celebrating a state of intense wonder—“the strange happiness of being abroad.” This article argues that reading Oberland within the tradition of travel writing rather than the novel improves our understanding of the volume's distinctiveness as well as themes central to the whole of Pilgrimage—in particular those of wonder and “privileged sight,” faculties that, it is suggested, are essential to the artistic temperament. Concerned less with the protagonist's inner life and more with her immediate experience of place, Oberland may be distinct from the rest of Pilgrimage, but not from modernist travel narratives. This article considers the implications of such genre distinctions for Richardson's text and what it means for her protagonist Miriam's development toward artisthood.