Saint Hoax: MonuMental 2018

10.10.2018 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

Saint Hoax is one of instagram’s latest front runner accounts known for it’s well-edited controversial and often accurately curated memes and photos which make light of socio-political issues in fun spirits. The pseudonymous artist behind the account is not only a humorous composer of memes and images, but also a creator of what is described as POPlitical Art — an art form which repurposed political and popular ethos as a commentary on the briefness of adulation. This is displayed through the artist’s oil paintings, lenticular prints and installations.

Saint Hoax’s latest venture is an exhibition titled ‘MonuMental’ set to debut tomorrow in Beirut, Lebanon following the artist’s last two exhibitions which showed in Bangkok and New York ‘MonuMental is an iconographic study of the pathos lurking beneath the immaculate facades of idols.’ It features version of the artist’s work in exaggerated dimensions which represent a reflection of the icons’ magnified personas in comparison to the vulnerability of the souls behind them. The exhibition is scheduled to take place in one of Beirut’s most historical buildings called The Egg. This is a cinema built in the 1950’s that was destroyed during the Lebanese civil war which throughout decades has experienced several stages of political and physical deteriorations and renovations. The exhibition  is curated by Plastik Gallery and will open to the public on October 11 until October 14.

Saint Hoax, Killer Queen, 2018
Saint Hoax, God Save The Queens, 2018
Saint Hoax via Instagram

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Azaadi by Misha Japanwala

23.08.2018 | Art , Blog , Fashion | BY:

Pakistani designer and visual artist Misha Japanwala recently presented an uplifting collection entitled ‘azaadi’ — an Urdu word which means freedom — as her official debut as a New York based designer.

The Parsons School of Design graduate returned/revisited her hometown for inspiration where she sought to focus on a more positive narrative from the headlines she often read as a child about murders and brutal acts of violence against women.

“My collection was inspired by women like late Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch and other victims of honour killings who were murdered by family members that believed they had brought dishonour upon the family because of actions or decisions the victims may have made.

Japanwala used her platform as a designer to create a series of wearable sculptures of the female body moulded from her own body along with accessories from the hands of other Pakistani women.

“The female body was the perfect symbol to highlight the strength of the women who aren’t afraid to fight to live on their own terms, but also representative of the fragility that comes with being a woman in Pakistan.” Twin spoke with the designer about her process and inspirations behind this meaningful collection.

Azaadi by Misha Japanwala

How long did it take you to compose this entire collection and what were some of your challenges?

I worked on this collection for almost a year. I spent the first couple months deep in research about honour killings and reflecting upon experiences of Pakistani women from different backgrounds, including my own. The process of designing the looks in the collection was the most challenging aspect for me, because it took a long time to settle upon visual anchors that represent struggle, strength, and what it means to be a woman living in Pakistan. A few months in, I had a dream where all of the final looks in the collection were created using sculptures of the female body, and that’s when the process of experimenting with casting and different materials began. I had never sculpted or life-casted before, so the process of trying to figure it all out included a lot of trial and error and experimentation, which was a lot of fun for me as an artist.

Photography by Alec Lesser and Teagan West

How has the general feedback been since you’ve launched?

The reaction I’ve received from people, both during the process of creating my thesis as well as after completing it, has been really special. As an artist, the best I can hope for with any work I create is to make people feel something, and it’s been amazing to watch so many of them, especially Pakistani women, connect with the themes explored in this collection. However, I also knew that by highlighting taboo and controversial subjects, and by being an outspoken Pakistani women, I would face some amount of backlash. It has been important for me to expose myself to the negative opinions about my work, because I think it is always necessary to have an open dialogue, especially when it’s conversations surrounding honour killings, domestic violence and the societal pressures faced by women living in Pakistan. 

Photography by Alec Lesser and Teagan West

How did it feel to show your muses the finished products?

After completing the collection, I went back to Pakistan for a couple weeks and had the opportunity to show my work to some of the women that had inspired it, and the ones who allowed me to make moulds of their hands to create the accessories in my collection. It was really special to see them excited about the collection and wearing the accessories themselves. It resulted in us having an impromptu photoshoot and it’s one of my favourite moments associated with the collection. 

Image courtesy of Misha Japanwala

Where can one find these pieces to view/buy?

My collection can be viewed online – official photos of the lookbook are up on my website www.mishajapanwala.com, and I continue to share photos and images of my process on my instagram @misha_japanwala. Anyone interested in buying my work can contact me directly through those channels.

Photography by Alec Lesser and Teagan West

What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on launching an online store in the next few weeks to sell accessories inspired by the themes I targeted in the collection. I want to use my platform and my art to help Pakistani women, and so a portion of all proceeds from the sales on my website will be donated to a women’s shelter in Karachi, Pakistan. Moving forward, my work will continue to explore the subjects I used with my first collection, because I still feel like there is so much to say. In Pakistan, now more than ever, it is so important to continue pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo, and I hope that my work can, in a small way, help change mindsets and open people to different perspectives. 

Image Courtesy of Misha Japanwala

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Person of the year: Rose McGowan and the silence breakers of 2017

10.12.2017 | Culture | BY:

Rose McGowan was awarded Time Magazine’s Person of the Year award 2017, an acknowledgement of the incredibly brave and powerful work that she, and the many other women who spoke up against sexual abuse in the wake of the Weinstein scandal, have enacted this year.

Screen Shot 2017-12-10 at 20.43.33

“I’m not saying things that are earth-shattering. I’m just the only one saying them” McGowan commented in an interview with The Fall earlier this year – speaking then she couldn’t possibly have known the cultural shifts and change that her actions have since engendered. Because of women like McGowan, and those who followed from her lead, 2018 looks set to welcome a new era for gender equality where previously engrained cultures amongst elites from all industries have been broken, we hope, for good.

Images and quotes courtesy of The Fall magazine, which is out now. 

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The Hardest Word

01.02.2017 | Blog , Culture | BY:

At a time when liberal values are being challenged and questioned in the West, the story of George Montague‘s campaign is timely. In November 2016, George, a 93-year-old gay man, marched on Downing Street to present Theresa May with a petition signed by 16,000 people. The petition demanded an apology for the discrimination against homosexuality and the abuse that gay men endured under the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885. Before homosexuality was legalised in 1967, the act often culminated in arrests and criminal records for men persecuted for their sexual orientation.

George, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1974, brought the case to the Prime Minister on behalf of all gay men who were forced to suffer shame and embarrassment as a result of the Act.

A new film from Hilow Films invites viewers into George’s life as he embarks on his journey to No.10, celebrating his activism, sense of humour, loving nature and commitment to securing the ‘sorry’ that gay men of his generation are yet to receive. You can watch the new film exclusively below.

 

The Hardest Word from Hilow Films on Vimeo.

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Anything but Ordinary

27.02.2012 | Art , Blog | BY:

There are many words to describe Claude Cahun: feminist, political activist, Surrealist artist, poet, writer, photographer, actress. However, the word thought-provoking seems to say it best.

Born in 1894 as Lucy Schwob in Nantes, she began practicing her most well-known form of creative expression, self portraits, at 18 years old. Produced under her pseudonym and playing between the extremes of androgyny and hyper-femininity, Cahun’s images express the idea that gender and sexuality perhaps aren’t always an A or B answer.

Involved in a life-long romantic and artistic partnership with her stepsister, and as a member of Georges Bataille’s left-wing organisation Contre-Attaque in Paris, Cahun was no stranger to controversy. In protest against the fascist regime of WWII, she distributed oppositional pamphlets combining governmental critic and poetic rhythm among the soldiers.

At a time where not even religious freedom was granted, Cahun’s defiance of political, gender, sexual and aesthetical conventions within society is remarkable. In her anti-realist, autobiographical work Aveux Nos Avenus, she wrote:  “I will follow the wake in the air, the trail on the water, the mirage in the pupil … I wish to hunt myself down, to struggle with myself.”

This internal struggle, both emotionally and on the artistic surface, helped make Cahun not only an intriguing artist, but also an inspirational legend.

Entre Nous: The Art of Claude Cahun is on display from February 25 to June 3 at The Art Institute of Chicago.
www.artic.edu

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