Malaika is a young, tall, slim and beautiful woman. A unique composition of Ethiopian, Masai and Tanzanianian genes has made her body perfect and her face original, exotic looking and absolutely stunning.
She is a single mother of two and has no permanent residence. One daughter has a disability. She has no contact with the other child. Due to her turbulent upbringing, she received no education and is now struggling with basic reading and writing skills. She has no realistic chances of getting any meaningful employment. To survive, she has few options: the most lucrative is to marry a rich foreigner, the other other choices are less appealing.
Her life has been filled with pain, abuse and hardship. A long chain of continuous disasters and predicaments has started to affect the “perfect” look. At 33, her outstanding natural beauty is vanishing rapidly while making her future more and more uncertain.
How an art lecturer defied odds to run a student exhibition during the pandemic
The pandemic and the resulting lockdown of the country has put many things on hold for a lot of people. How we interact with each other has evolved and more people have utilised the capabilities of technology that is around us to stay in touch with friends, family, and continue working where possible.
However, what isn’t a common thing for people to worry about is running an art exhibition in the middle of lockdown. However, Pawel Szymanski (Pav), Art Lecturer at South Devon College, was far from worried. He had a solution.
It was by no means an easy task, but what Pav did was nothing short of incredible. He hosted the Pandemic Art Summer Show 2020 in a virtual form, replacing the traditional exhibition that would normally be physically attended at South Devon College.
Using Zoom, 139 artists took part in the exhibition with over 1935 artefacts on display. 18 countries wererepresented: UK, USA, Switzerland, Canada, Nigeria, Serbia, Italy, The Philippines, Russia, China, Australia, Mexico, Spain, Poland, Argentina, Bahrain, UAE andGreece.
The event was a great success and continuing this event in the only way possible was appreciated by all of those involved.
Pav said: “I wasn’t going to let anything stand in the way of the students proudly displaying their work that they had invested so much time and effort into. It was an ambitious event to run of this scale online but it ran smoothly and it gave even more people the chance to see the fantastic emerging talent here at the College.
“Following the success of the event, I decided an online magazine would be the most appropriate way to commemorate this unique event and also continue toelevate the students’ thinking. It also gave us a chance to explain the meaning and significance of some of the pieces on display in more detail. And so, Art Foundry Magazine was born. This is the beginning of a quarterly magazine run by new students every year ensuring continuity and legacy.”
You can also view the work of all the artists involved in the exhibition at artpandemic.co.uk, including over 20 guest artist appearances, creative staff from the College and their students ranging from entry level to degree.
For more information on creative and artistic courses, visit southdevon.ac.uk where you can find all of the courses on offer. If you have any questions, get in touch by calling 08000 380 123 or email email@example.com.
For more information about this story, please contact Tom Davey, Marketing and Communications Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01803 540563.
Notes to Editors:1. South Devon College is a general Further & Higher Education college and degree awarding body, serving Torbay, Teignbridge and the South Hams, with campuses at Paignton, Torquay, Newton Abbot, and South Devon Marine Academy based on the River Dart in Kingswear.2. The College provides teaching and learning to around 10,000 students per year, has over 700 staff and contributes £30 million to the local economy each year.3. The College Mission is “inspiring our community through learning for all”4. The College provides teaching and learning at all levels, including: GCSEs, A Levels, technical and professional programmes, Higher Education degrees, apprenticeships, community learning, business training and bespoke services for businesses. 5. The College’s age range begins at 14 through South Devon High School, an exceptional opportunity for pupils entering Key Stage 4, offering direct entry to full time core GCSE and vocational programmes of study.6. The College has a successful and well established apprenticeship programme, providing work-based training to 1,500 apprentices of all ages and working with nearly 700 employers in 2018/19.7. The College offers high-quality university degrees, with Foundation Degrees, Honours Degrees, Top-up programmes and Higher National Diplomas and Certificates, delivered in partnership with the University of Plymouth, as well as award winning professional courses in management and accountancy.8. The College was awarded the PLATINUM Investors in People Award for its staff development and training in 2017, the highest level achievable.9. University Centre South Devon was awarded with the GOLD rating from the Teaching Excellence Framework(TEF) in 2017, the highest level achievable. 10. The College won the national TES FE award for Employer Engagement in 2017 and was shortlisted for the ‘TES College of the Year Award 2018’, and regularly features at the top of the league table rankings for employer satisfaction, learner satisfaction and other key benchmarks.11. The College is committed to investing in the community and local economy. Construction has recently been completed on the Hi Tech & Digital Centre, the South Devon College Sports Centre, as well as planning future marine sector initiatives.
I have received a personal invitation to submit some of my recent pieces to an international exhibition organised by Artoze. I was a featured artist in the last edition of their magazine. I was very touched to be recognised and invited again:
Hope you’re doing great!
It’s my pleasure to e-meet you and introduce you to this amazing opportunity that could be an interest for you and your beloved ones to let the creativity be showcased on an International Platform.’
I have spent the whole morning preparing relevant information and refining my artist statement. At the moment, I am ready to submit 12 paintings to be included in this show.
I have included a screenshot of the confirmation email below:
I have been invited by Al-Tiba9 to take part in an online preview of the new edition of their art magazine. Time: Jun 26, 2020, 14:30 Madrid
“Al-Tiba9 (الطباق) focuses on light as a manifestation of energy, a principle that makes it possible to reach the phenomenological world, an element of knowledge to achieve multiple levels of reality. This transgressive contemporary Arab show emerges between lights and shadows, human and artificial from here and there, reaching for profound hope but staying rooted in reality.“
— Mohamed Benhadj, Founder & Curator
Luca Rossinin, an Italian visual artist and fashion photographer, was a featured guest presenter. Her work was not known to me before. Her website is divided into three parts containing fashion, still life and collage. I become absolutely fascinated by her lonely, withdrawn and impactful art. Her style is original and unique and resulted in the creation of highly aesthetic and powerful images, which force a strong reflection on a viewer. They have a dream like quality and appear to visualise a world, which appears to be perhaps unreal. There are strong references to the old Dutch and Flemish masters in terms of her use of colour and chiaroscuro. Her models are withdrawn and absent minded. She is somehow questioning our perception of someone’s presence. Perhaps, her creative intentions are best summarised by her statement is below:
‘”Photography to me is not a way to document reality, but more the way in which I can suspend reality, with all its physical and societal rules, and turn everything into my dream of it. I love working with complex lights and low light, both in studio and in the open. My favourite subjects are portraits which tell dream-like stories; places which seem daydream scenarios; and surrealistic concepts created in my studio.
My view over the world has been seriously affected by “dreamers” like David Lynch, David Cronenberg and Federico Fellini, with their ability to transmit the distinct and uncomfortable feeling of not being really awake.
I come from the analogue days of the dark room, but my stylistic growth is very digital. I spent most of my life struggling to confine my artistic nature, so I achieved a PhD in biomedical engineering. It didn’t work, nothing works, there’s no cure against the urge to create and communicate, I guess.”
I am very excited about my recent invitation by Atolye, Dubai’s Creative Hub, to join an online presentation by Dr. Joana Casaca Lemos. She is a designer, researcher and educator, who specialises in interdisciplinary work. Her current engagements include her involvement in an independent run consultancy that supports organisations with research and writing a book titled: ‘When Research is Mesearch.’ She has worked with organisations such as Daimler, Sustainable Oceans Alliance, Business Council for Sustainability, Forum for the Future, among others.
Joana is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts UK and holds a PhD from Central Saint Martins College of Art in London.
The aim of Joana’s presentation was to provide a space for creative professionals to reflect and assess their personal growth with reference to their practice. She proposed to question the value of work experiences, which are transformative? The other deliberations were concerned with looking at what makes us feel uncomfortable and, therefore, challenged our understanding of the world.
Joana started by sharing her journey and reflective practice to introduce a framework drawn from her experience as a design researcher. Subsequently, all participants were guided through a collaborative activity, which enabled them to reflect on their practice and articulate their own ‘me-search’.
Joana’s intellectual provocation was very inspiring, as follows:
“As curious creatives we often draw inspiration from the world around us – but what might happen if we look into the world within?“
Leen Sadder, the organiser, explained the broader concept, which underpins the new series of presentations and stated in her invitation that:
“Insight Out is a brand new guest series hosted by ATÖLYE Dubai, featuring creative seekers, whose inward explorations have positively impacted the work they put out into the world. Once a month, we welcome you into the inner world of a designer, artist or maker to learn about the practices and experiences that have shaped their creative output.”
Despite questioning Joana’s spiritual perspective, which may have distorted and skewed her ability to critically analyse her research findings, I found this video conference very inspiring and thought provoking. Her travel experiences have a substantial impact on her thinking and this key element is also echoed in my own creative practice and exploration.
Thank you Atolye for your invitation and another remarkable cultural and professional experience.
In addition to all of my current duties, I have spent the last three months working hard to organise an amazing and challenging venture called artpandemic.co.uk
Due to the many limitations of the current crisis, our summer show has been moved online. Despite these compromising conditions, which you might think, would prevent me from organising a major celebration of learning and achievement, I have put together something very special and much bigger than the usual final assessment exhibition.
As a leader of Art & Design at my institution, I have invited Hi-Tec and Digital to join with me for a unique online international exhibition. Additionally, I have approached a range of former students, staff and artists from all-over-the-world to celebrate creativity and resistance to the damaging impact of the current pandemic. I am also delighted that Richard Wilson – one of the most renowned British sculptors agreed to exhibit a range of his artefacts with us, including his famous architectural interventions.
The Virtual Summer Exhibition 2020 took place on Friday, June 19th at 6 pm UK time. A scheduled link was distributed to those invited and activated on the night. The celebrations were possible thanks to Zoom – a multi-screen videoconferencing and interaction platform.
During the Private View, I was joined by artists from 18 countries, who were supporting my innovative response to the crisis, by producing their own work to enrich the exhibition.
I was asked to make a statement for a press release in Devon Live:
“It’s really exciting in these difficult times to be able to construct an exciting and revolutionary platform for students to present their work. The prospect of disappointing everyone by not having a summer exhibition and denying our learners an opportunity to show their talent was unacceptable. The idea of organising this ambitious online venture came about from my involvement in the prestigious Dubai Ideathon 2020. I was selected out of over 300 applicants to play an active role together with 100 fellow international artists and designers. I realised then the potential in connecting hundreds of people simultaneously could be achieved, and immediately knew, this would be the perfect solution for our students”.
The notion of an online art magazine seemed the natural way to go to prolong and elevate the artwork long after the event and give the work longevity. I have worked with three Foundation Art students on the design and format of the brand new Art Foundry Magazine. The first edition includes interviews and work produced by Richard Wilson, alumni, current students and a selection of collaborating artists. This publication will be updated on a quarterly basis.
Further details are below:
VIRTUAL SUMMER SHOW 2020 ART PANDEMIC
Link to the online exhibition:
Link to our full invitation video:
Art Pandemic in numbers:
139 artists, 1935 artefacts and 18 countries are represented, including: UK, USA, Switzerland, Canada, Nigeria, Serbia, Italy, The Philippines, Russia, China, Australia, Mexico, Spain, Poland, Argentina, Bahrain, UAE & Greece.
I have included some statistics below. Data were gathered on 27th June 2020.
|LINK TO THE EXHIBITION:|
I was invited by Al-Tiba9 to the opening of its online contemporary exhibition that takes
part in a Special EDITION – Al-Tiba9 Global 2020. It featuring artists from around the
world in a series of online shows to reflect contemporary perspectives and inspirations
that impact on our future.
This particular 8th Edition aims to give the artist a curated show and extensive
international exposure that helps them to deal with the online technologies and
confront their works and creativity in a virtual environment.
Opening exhibition 20.06.2020 at 6:00pm GMT+2
Featured Artists are:
Alexandra Freitas (Portugal) – Joram Blomkwist (Netherlands) – Braun & Braunschweig
(Germany) – Conceiçao Abreu (Portugal) – Gianni Lucchesi (Italy) – Hong Taeyang
(South Korea) – Jieyuan Huang (China) – Joe Karlovec (USA) – Kaoru Shibuta (Japan) –
Naoki Okada (Japan) – Povilas Daknys (Lithuania) – Raki Nikahetiya (Sri Lanka) –
Ray Ewing (USA) – Ronald Gonzalez (USA) – Sarah Tompkins (Canada) – Wong Tin Wai
(China) – Val Wecerka (Bulgaria) – Vasya Dmytryk (Ukraine) – Yvonne Lin (China)
The exhibition was opened by Anna Shvets, who is an art manager, an expert on trends in
the world of art and CEO at TAtchers’ ART Management. She believes that art can be a
unique language that unites countries and continents, culture and science.
She is an internationally recognised arts manager.
In preparation for the final show, the group has been invited to exhibit at the Raum Gallery
I have the following paintings on display:
“One Legged Pool Player”
“Crows and Ravens glazed”
“Coach To Myiek”
Tutorial with Jonathan Kearney,
Video Skype call,
Wednesday, 17th June at 12.30
This was my last tutorial before the final submission at the beginning of July. We had a long conversation about my project and its refined and evolved meaning. Jonathan approved the changes, which I have made in consequence of our previous discussions. All my work was converted into video files and supported by a computer generated spoken narrative explaining each piece. This element of juxtaposition of image and related stories is integral to my investigation. It gives important additional insights and explanations, while contextualising my work and thinking.
We progressed to discuss the impact of the current pandemic on my research, visual investigation and the overall achievement. I explained how I would like to continue with the development of my project and ideas, and we discussed the plan for extending my visualisation during the forthcoming trip to Madagascar. In case of prolonged sky closure, I intend to identify another, appropriate to my creative intentions, location such as Serbia.
The second part of the tutorial was dedicated to reviewing the blog and its curation. Jonathan confirmed the final design of my online exhibition space and asked several questions regarding my proposal and its rationale. Subsequently, I was advise how to improve the initial part of my unit 2 assessment plan. I was advised to elaborate on a list of headings to explain their content and significance to progress. I also learned that some of the links in this document did not work and needed to be corrected.
I fully embraced all advice given for my consideration and actioned every suggestion immediately after the tutorial. I am very grateful to Jonathan for taking a lot of time to help me refine and improve my submission, which is now much more thorough and comprehensive, therefore increasing my chances for the top score.
call ended at 13.45
In the context of the current pandemic, our final show will take place online. Additionally, several fantastic opportunities have been recently created to display and promote our work through a variety of exhibitions and using different digital platforms.
At the moment, the main focus is on collaboration with Aristotle in order to present my project using Cables. Following a lengthy process of negotiation, refinement and improvements, the design of exhibition is rapidly taking shape. I have documented the thread of our discussions: https://www.fineartdigital.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=12
The idea for the show is inspired by the clarity and aesthetics offered by platforms such as Behance and Instagram. I really wanted to display all of my artefacts on a plain and long white wall, without any unnecessary distractions. However, due to the limitations of the software I was forced to opt for the grid idea, organising all of my paintings and video work in three rows, 7 pieces in each and 21 in total. Each item included is supported by a computer generated voice in order to contextualise and explain the outcome of my visual investigation and exploration. This method also allows me to detach myself form the entirety of my experiences and, subsequently, view my work as a distant observer. Supposedly, it is all in the past… yet my memories are becoming more and more vivid.
As a coping mechanism, I keep repeating to myself the same sentence, over and over again:
‘Do not be sad that it is all over, but smile that it had ever happened…’
The new research adventure in Madagascar is just around the corner!
The work can be vied at :
Screenshot of the front page is below:
I have been invited to participate in a fascinating international interactive screening of the film “The World Before Your Feet” and conference event. It was organised by ATÖLYE, Dubai’s Creative Hub, in partnership with Palmwood, American Film Showcase and the US Consulate in Dubai.
There are 8,000 miles of roads and paths in New York City and for the past six years Matt Green has been walking them all—every street, park, cemetery, beach, and bridge.
Executive produced by Oscar nominee Jesse Eisenberg and directed by Jeremy Workman, “The World Before Your Feet” is a tribute to an endlessly fascinating city and the freedom to be found, wherever you live, in simply taking a walk.
The team of filmmaker experts were presents:
I am very excited to take part in this amazing venture, which was attended by filmmaker Jeremy Workman, executive producer Jesse Eisenberg and the wanderer himself Matt Green. All live conversations were moderated by Emirati filmmaker Amal Al Agroobi.
A screenshot of a thank you email is below: