Photography

Celebrating Kenyan Culture, Bold Textile Patterns Disguise Subjects in Thandiwe Muriu's Portraits

December 6, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Thandiwe Muriu, shared with permission

What began as a simple appreciation of fabrics printed with vibrant geometries and hypnotic motifs has morphed into a stunning celebration of African culture. Thandiwe Muriu’s ongoing Camo series cloaks models in arresting garments that disguise them in textile surroundings, leaving just their hands and faces visible. “When I source fabrics, I look for something that I can look at and it almost feels alive,” she says. “Something bold, slightly confusing on the eyes, and less traditional. In my images, the fabric acts as the backdrop that I can celebrate my culture on. It is a bright, welcoming canvas that I can highlight what I love about my fellow Kenyan people.”

From the printed clothing to the subject’s accessories and hairstyles, each image is layered with references to the Nairobi-based photographer’s daily life and a sense of resourcefulness that permeates the local culture. Common items like bottle tops, mosquito coils, bicycle gears, straws, and cleaning brushes become elaborate eyewear or decorative additions to historical “architectural hairstyles that are being forgotten,” she tells Colossal. “Our natural hairstyles as Africans/Kenyans are one of the unique things about our beauty culture that I wouldn’t want to see lost, so I incorporate it into my work to spark conversation around traditional hairstyles and how we can wear them today.”

 

Muriu, who works in commercial advertising by day, shares that Camo is an ironic exploration into the relationship between personal and collective identities. The visually striking portraits are “commentary on how as individuals, we can lose ourselves to the expectations culture has on us, yet there are such unique and beautiful things about every individual,” Muriu says. “I wanted to celebrate everything I had struggled with in my own beauty journey—my hair, my skin, and my identity as a modern woman in a traditional culture.”

To see the complete collection, head to Muriu’s site and Instagram. You also might enjoy Cecilia Paredes’s self-portraits. (via Supersonic Art)

 

 

 



Art

Illuminated Dinosaurs Stalk Paris's Jardin des Plantes in a Spectacular Journey Through Time

December 6, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © China Light Festival B.V.& Sichuan Tianyu Culture Communication Co., Ltd, shared with permission

Trilobites, luminous flying raptors, and a T-Rex towering 27 meters above the ground are just a few of the otherworldly creatures currently haunting the grounds of the Jardin des Plantes. The massive organisms are the subjects of a fantastic exhibition now on view at the Paris venue that takes viewers on a spectacular journey of development and biodiversity through the ages.

Populated by hand-painted silk sculptures crafted by the Sichuan-based company China Lights, Evolution on a Path to Enlightenment opens about 3,700 million years ago with the Precambrian era’s marine creatures. The walkable, outdoor show then ventures into the early terrestrial environment of the Paleozoic period, greets the dinosaurs of the Jurassic and Cretaceous ages—this segment includes fanciful renditions of well-recognized creatures like the stegosaurs and velociraptor, all of which are based on research from paleontologists from the National Museum of National History—before closing with the birds and mammals that remain today.

Visit the botanical garden before January 30, 2022, to explore life 600 million years ago or take a virtual tour in the video below.

 

 

 



Photography

A New Book Captures Roger A. Deakins's Signature Cinematic Style Through Ironic Black-and-White Photos

December 6, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images are © Roger A. Deakins

Alongside his work with a host of renowned directors like the Coen brothers, Sam Mendes, and Denis Villeneuve, cinematographer Roger A. Deakins spent the last five decades quietly amassing a collection of photographs that capture his distinct sense of irony and wit. Now compiled in a monograph titled Byways, the black-and-white images traverse rural North Devon, the English coasts, and distant locales from 1971 onward, documenting Deakins’ surprising and idiosyncratic encounters with life across the world. Signed editions of the new book, which features a spate of previously unpublished images, are available now from Damiani. (via Juxtapoz)

 

 

 



Art

Cut from Found Feathers, Minuscule Silhouettes Become Intricate Symbolic Works

December 3, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Gull Flight” All images © Chris Maynard, shared with permission

Equipped with surgical knives and scissors, artist Chris Maynard (previously) carefully slices exquisite silhouettes of birds, people, and tiny stars from individual feathers. He cuts the naturally shed materials, which come from private aviaries and zoos, into metaphorical scenes of change and transformation: figures hatch from eggs, a flock of seagulls flies into a perfectly round arc, and still developing chicks nestle into the barbs. “Feathers are symbols of our aspirations,” the artist tells Colossal. “Like a lot of us, I want to fly but I can’t, so I use feathers to try to capture an essence of flight.”

To see how Maynard extracts such intricate shapes, head to his Instagram where he shares more about his process and a variety of recent works.

 

“Journey”

“Acorn Woodpecker”

Top: “Worm Food.” Bottom left: “Entwine.” Bottom right: “Goodbye”

“Undulation Reflection”

“Another Creation Story”

“Embryo III Flight Training”

 

 



Photography

Jane Goodall, Paul Nicklen, and 100 Photographers and Conservationists Join a Print Sale to Protect the Environment

December 3, 2021

Grace Ebert

Kilifi was an 18-month-old rhino and his keeper, Kamara was hand-raising along with two other baby rhinos at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya. Kamara spends 12 hours every day watching over the vulnerable baby rhinos. He loves these animals like his own children and is part of the reason Kenya’s black rhinos, whose population had plummeted to near extinction, are doing so well here. Photo © Ami Vitale

A collaborative effort by 100 world-renowned photographers and conservationists is harnessing the power of an image to generate much-needed empathy and protect the environment. Helmed by the woman-led nonprofit Vital Impacts, an ongoing print sale captures the stunning, intimate, and remarkable sights of the natural world through a diverse array of works focused on the earth’s landscapes, plants, and animals. “As world leaders disperse to implement COP26, these photographers show us exactly what is at stake. The photographs from all the artists in this initiative are diverse but the one thing they all have in common is a shared commitment to the environment,” co-founder Ami Vitale says.

Available images include a signed self-portrait by Jane Goodall and shots by some of Colossal’s favorites, including Paul Nicklen (previously), Xavi Bou (previously), Reuben Wu (previously), and Tim Flach (previously). Sixty percent of the net profits will go toward four programs—Big Life Foundation, Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots and Shoots, Great Plains Conservation’s Project Ranger, and SeaLegacy—and you can shop the sale, which is operating on an entirely carbon-neutral platform, through the end of the month. (via PetaPixel)

 

The Nenana River wolf pack spends time in Denali National park and just East of the Park. The pack is moving more and more away from the Park into territory where it is legal to hunt wolves. Photo © Aaron Huey

A resting endangered Green Sea Turtle surrounded by Glass Fish on the back of the Ningaloo reef. Photo © Aimee Jan

While on a remote climbing expedition in Greenland, I was approached by a curious polar bear while scouting fjords in a small zodiac boat. The moment lasted only a brief second before the bear dove down and into the icy arctic sea. Photo © Andy Mann

As night falls over the Makgadikgadi Pans, giant trees stand starkly against the horizon. Leafless branches reach for the light. On the opposite side of the sky, Earth’s shadow is rising. True wildness manifests itself in the form of curling black branches in November, silhouetted against an indigo sky. Photo © Beth Moon

Self-portrait © Jane Goodall

Image taken for National Geographic on the Pristine Seas Expedition to Franz Josef Land, 2013. Underwater Walrus shots from near Hooker Island. Photo © Cory Richards

Heron Island, Queensland, Australia. A Green Sea Turtle hatchling cautiously surfaces for air to a sky full of hungry birds. Against all odds, this hatchling must battle through the conditions of a raging storm whilst evading a myriad of predators. Not only has the tropical storm brought out thousands of circling birds, but there are also patrolling sharks and large schools of fish on the hunt for baby turtles. Only 1 in 1000 of these hatchlings will survive, will this one survive against all odds. Photo © Hanna Le Leu

In winter, Japanese macaques in the Joshin’etsukogen National Park, on the island of Honshu, congregate in the hot-spring pools, to stay warm and to socialize. The colder it gets in the mountains, the more of them head for the pools. Photo © Jasper Doest

Giant Sequoia Trees, photographed for National Geographic. These trees are without a doubt my favorite and a species endemic to California’s Sierra Mountains. Fully matured trees grow upwards of 250 feet tall, can live for over 3,000 years, and have fire retardant bark that’s three feet thick. Photo © Keith Ladzinski

Hope Through The Storm. Renan Ozturk lives to tell stories about our connection to the natural world, often set within the most challenging environments on Earth. Photo © Renan Ozturk

A school of sailfish set upon a ball of sardines off Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Photo © Shawn Heinrichs

 

 



Art

Bars of Light Pierce a Dilapidated Sydney-Area Home in Ian Strange's Illuminated Intervention

December 3, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Ian Strange, shared with permission

Tagged with graffiti and marred by a chipped facade, a stately Victorian home in a Sydney suburb is the site of a brilliant site-specific installation by artist Ian Strange. “Light Intersections II” uses angled beams of light to impale the derelict structure and permeate outer walls, windows, and the ornate, metallic railing on the second-floor balcony. Illuminating the battered building, Strange’s monumental public work is one of his many projects that explores ideas of home through architectural interventions.

The artist, who lives between Melbourne and Brooklyn, relies on the concepts of drawing to inform much of his practice, with a particular focus on how single marks alter perspectives and affect understandings of the material world. He explains:

The lines of light in ‘Intersections’ are an attempt to place abstracted perspective lines back into the environment. These drawn perspective lines don’t appear in nature, but are staples in both painting, drawing, and architecture, used as a way of containing, representing, and changing the natural environment.

Commissioned by the City of Sydney, “Light Intersections II” follows the artist’s 2019 project that installed a similar concept throughout the galleries and around the perimeter of Melbourne’s Lyon Housemuseum. Watch the video below for a tour of the radiant home, and explore more of Strange’s work on Instagram. (via Street Art News)