What we’re reading this week

Oil Spill Gulf of Mexico 2010 by MarlenaBuczekSmith

Water Love by Alejandra

Green Patriot Posters: Via PBS News Hour’s Art Beat blog

Inspired by imagery from World War I and II as well as by the attitude of Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense, an organization called Green Patriot Posters is using graphic design and the Internet to advocate for environmental sustainability. The messages of propaganda posters from World War II that pushed energy conservation as a form of patriotism were particularly resonant for Dmitri Siegel and Ed Morris, the organization’s co-founders. Morris told PBS News Hour’s Art Beat blog, “World War II posters were able to valorize individual actions in a collective framework in a way that struck me as completely relevant for today.” On the Green Patriot Poster’s website users can view historical propaganda posters, submit their own poster designs and rate submitted designs. The designs with the highest ratings will be among those the organization selects for distribution in book, exhibition and other highly visible channels like bus ads and billboards.

Change. Algernon Miller, Sanaa Gateja and Kwetu Afrika Women's Association Angels. Beads fabricated from recycled Barack Obama presidential campaign literature 8 x 10 ft. Courtesy of Algernon Miller

This image is a screen capture from the Global Africa Project resource packet for teachers (84 pages!) created by MAD’s education department, which is available for download at the exhibition’s website.

MFTA member Museum of Arts and Design’s exhibition: Global Africa Project MAD Museum, 2 Columbus Circle, on view through May 15, 2011.

The story of Change, a work in the Global Africa Project exhibition, is taken from the resource packet by Petra Pankow, museum educator, in collaboration with the Museum of Arts and Design education department:

Designer Sanaa Gateja has found international acclaim for his neckpieces made from recycled paper beads, which he produces with the help of bead makers he trains, two hundred women currently, “the wives of soldiers, single mothers, school dropouts, the Kwetu Women’s Association Angels (KAWAA). They are learning to work with organic and recycled materials, turning them into beads and using them in innovative and original designs for fashion accessories for the export market.”

When an American friend sent him a large amount of 2008 Obama campaign materials to be recycled, some of the resulting paper-beaded products were on display at the 2010 Go-Green Expo in New York City, where they caught the attention of American sculptor and installation artist Algernon Miller. He suggested a collaboration on a large-scale work based on his idea and after an extensive process of planning and implementation involving many text messages, emails, and phone calls over two continents, Change was born, an 8-by-10-foot wall piece made in Uganda of beads of varied shapes that reveal snippets of content related to the Obama campaign.

From the MAD press release

An unprecedented exhibition exploring the broad spectrum of contemporary African art, design, and craft worldwide, The Global Africa Project premieres at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) on November 17, 2010. Featuring the work of more than 100 artists working in Africa, Europe, Asia, the United States, and the Caribbean, The Global Africa Project surveys the rich pool of new talent emerging from the African continent and around the world. Through furniture, architecture, textiles, fashion, jewelry, ceramics, and basketry, as well as selective examples of photography, painting, sculpture, and installation work, the exhibition actively challenges conventional notions of a singular African aesthetic and identity, and reflects the integration of African art and design without making the usual distinctions between “professional” and “artisan.”

On view through May 15, 2011, MAD and the Center for Race and Culture at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) organized The Global Africa Project.

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