Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Author: Christabel Johanson

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Malachi James: Black Masculinity & Vulnerability


From my own personal experience, growing up, I did feel different and often out of place as a working class artistic mixed-race boy who wasn’t into football for example. Back then, I guess I wasn’t seen as traditionally masculine but I also didn’t want to ever show vulnerability in front of others either.

Malachi James in conversation with Christabel Johanson.
Charles Mingus, 2020


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Ethiopia & the Ethiopian Art Scene

Tariku Shiferaw, Kinfolk (Mereba), 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Addis Fine Art.

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to separate oneself from one’s roots. Ethiopia is a part of me as much as my Black identity is in the United States. My work is heavily focused on my identity to where I’ve grown up and where I currently live. I have hopes that my African background will, perhaps one day, lead to conversations about global Blackness. Being Black in other parts of the world isn’t the same as it is in North America – the struggles and challenges differ from place to place.

Christabel Johanson in conversation with Tariku Shiferaw
Kinfolk (Mereba), 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Addis Fine Art.

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Body Vessel Clay: Black Women, Ceramics & Contemporary Art


Clay as a material is malleable, thus it is able to be shaped in the artist’s vision. So, pottery can become a personal or political manifestation. As well as the aesthetic heritage, pottery is a record of the world around it, the zeitgeist and the society it was borne from. This is why recording and archiving these works are not only important for the art world but vital for history.

Christabel Johanson on Black Women Ceramics
Two Legged Vessels by Bisila Noha, Credit Thomas Broadhead for OmVed Gardens

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Isaac Julien: Looking for Langston


One of Julien’s aims in his work is to break down the barriers between different art forms like dance, film, poetry and so forth. So far this has been achieved and in doing so, Julien’s viewers are shown how to break down the perceived barriers of sexuality, class, culture and race.

Christabel Johanson on Looking for Langston of Isaac Julien
Looking for Langston, 1989, Courtecy the artist and Victoria Miro, London/Venice. Copyright the artist

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Creative Coaching


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