┐ Paola Zaccaria, Medi-terranean Borderization └

“At the end of the 1990s, as a result of the diasporas produced by new wars and new forms of colonialism, boats, rubber dinghies, and wornout ships started sailing in the direction opposite to that of colonial times: people emigrating from North Africa steered toward the closest Mediterranean shores, especially to the Italian island of Lampedusa, the southern gate to Fortress Europe. The reaction of the European nations in the Mediterranean region has been to erect a series of virtual yet impenetrable walls and borders, all created in the name of sovereignty, thus violating the international agreement on human rights ratified by the European Court in 1951. (…)

Activists and artists have begun to focus their attention and work on borders, national divides, and class and gender inequalities, and by now it is clear that migrants, rebels, oppressed women, and “mongrels” who keep on moving, notwithstanding the erection of walls, offer a perspective through which “citizens” can begin to perceive postcolonial, neopatriarchal violence. In doing so, these “others” inspire the disruption of dividing lines. Together activists and border-crossers teach how to resist passivity and produce el mundo zurdo, lateral or “left-handed” knowledge/understanding/conocimiento. Translinguistic and transcultural artivism shows the exclusion of diasporic migrant subjects, atravesados, oppressed women, and rebels from the still-patriarchal nation-state formation, but at the same time this artivism is a tool to make visible the invisible: the illegals, the violated, the multitudes on the move, the new European fronterizos, or “clandestines,” in Italy bring attention to the politics and poetics of borders.”

excerpt of the article Medi-terranean Borderization, by Paola Zaccaria, in Signs, Vol. 37, No. 1 (Autumn 2011), pp. 10-18

┐ Jason Florio └

© Jason Florio, KNLA – Karen National Liberation Army freedom fighter (left) + KNLA fighter carrying wood (right), from the series Burma, from the project Blackout History

© Jason Florio, Karen Civilians, from the series Burma, from the project Blackout History

© Jason Florio, KNLA – Karen National Liberation Army cook with bamboo water jugs on his back (left) +
KNLA – Karen National Liberation Army fighter (right), from the series Burma, from the project Blackout History

“For 62 years, in what is now the world’s longest ongoing conflict, the ill-fed and ill-equipped people of Karen have been fighting for an independent homeland against the ruling Burmese military government. “The Karen people have been locked in a David-and-Goliath conflict with a powerful authoritarian regime that seeks to push the Karen people off the map. The junta is applying a brutal, systematic policy of murder, rape, forced labor and wholesale destruction of Karen villages,” reports the award-winning photographer.

Working on assignment in the Karen State in 2010, Florio was enamored by the calm resilience of the Karen people, both soldiers and civilians, of who all seem to possess a quiet determination. Florio was so moved by the stoic and serene nature of the Karen people, and horrified by their stories of the human rights violations against them. Self -funded, he decided to return in February 2011, to bring the face of the Karen people and their under reported struggle for survival against the brutal junta, to a wider audience.”

More of Jason’s work here

┐ Ian van Coller └

© Ian van Coller, Daisy Angy Kekae (left), from the series Collage Portraits, 2009

“This series combines several influences that have personally been relevant to my art-making process. The work grew out of my experimentation with the use of quilting techniques based on traditions from Africa and Gees Bend, Alabama as a way to tell stories and record oral histories. The manner in which individuals in these portrait collages are presented, was heavily influenced by posters from the period of resistance against apartheid in South Africa. The union posters are now iconic examples of the strong printmaking tradition that grew out of resistance and artistic movements that began in the townships, and which often created “heroic” figures out of ordinary people. The individuals portrayed in the portrait collage series are primarily female domestic and farm workers.

The collages themselves consist of a multi-layered, two-dimensional piece. I print images on Mitsumata fiber paper, which is then soaked in shellac to provide a transparency that allows me to rework both the front and back of the image. The transparency of the paper allows me to layer images on top of one another so that the final piece is essentially multidimensional.”

© Ian van Coller, from the series Memory Boards, 2000-2007 (ongoing)

“This body of work deals with the colonial legacies that have become the social and economic realities of a modern South Africa. Each piece is an exploration of how Euro-centered attitudes have affected my personal history, as well as how they helped construct notions of Africa as the “dark continent.” In an attempt to resolve these dramatically different influences on my life, and to come to terms with my place in the world, I have made very specific choices about the images, materials, and the frames. This body of work originated with the idea of  Zambian “memory boards” as a way to trace personal memory/history, as well as the social memory/ history of South Africa. The frames themselves are transformed into objects that carry content in and of themselves, rather than merely encasing a photograph. Old family snapshots or culturally significant images and texts are also inserted in the frame, expressing the tension between the African and European influences on my identity.”

© Ian van Coller, Ndonganazibovana (left) + IMbedle (right), from the series Colonized Trees, Photogravure & photo litho, 1995

more of Ian’s great body of work here

┐ Zanele Muholi #2 └

© Zanele Muholi, Lesedi Modise, Mafikeng, North West, 2010, from the series Faces and Phases

“In the face of all the challenges our community encounters daily, I embarked on a journey of visual activism to ensure that there is black queer visibility. Faces and Phases is about our histories and the struggles that we face. Faces express the person, and Phases signify the transition from one stage of sexuality or gender expression and experience to another. Faces is also about the face-to-face confrontation between myself as the photographer/activist and the many lesbians, women and transmen I have interacted with from different places. Photographs in this series traverse spaces from Gauteng, Cape Town, Mafikeng and Botswana to Sweden.”

“I always say to people that I’m an activist before I’m an artist. To me, you take a particular photo in order for other people to take action. So you become an agent for change in a way. I say that I am a visual activist because it’s important to me to go beyond just being a photographer. Because you know, that sounds so sexy and it’s a “profession.” I think to myself what’s the point of just taking a picture? What happens after that? I’m doing what I’m doing to make a statement and also to say to people: This is possible.”

more of the work here

┐ Carrie May Weems └

© Carrie May Weems, Untitled, from African Jewels, 2009

© Carrie May Weems, Untitled, from African Jewels, 2009

installation view from African Jewels, 2009

Carrie’s web home here

┐ Julian Röder – Exit Africa └

or how I would call it: Turned by love: the ignorance and fragility of a national socialist mind.

I can´t recall whose phrase this is but it goes something like this: Ignorance can be overcome by reading and racism is overcome by traveling. I agree, it can be as simple as that.

@ Julian Röder, Nick W. Greger with his girlfriend Auntie, Gambia, December 2011

@ Julian Röder, Nick W. Greger’s dog, Nick’s girlfriend Auntie named him “Hitler”

Nick Greger has a Nazi Storm Trooper and the map of the German Empire tattooed on his forearm.

Since he was 12, he has been frequenting right-wing circles. With his buddies, Greger attacks foreigners and leftist flat shares. In the Dresden tram, he tears off a black man’s ear. Twice he sits in jail for aggravated assault.
Shortly before his third arrest, he escapes to Africa. The love for a black Namibian moves him to reconsider. He decides to exit. In 2005 he returnes to Germany and turns himself in. Today he lives with his girlfriend in Gambia, being the only white person in a large settlement in The Gambia.

The rest of the work here