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Posts Tagged ‘protest’

Photo: Abelardo Morell.
“2016–Flowers for Lisa #30” (2016) at Edwynn Houk Gallery.

Lauren Moya Ford at Hyperallergic asks, “Can photographers capture the vitality of flowers compellingly, innovatively, and beautifully?” She reviews a new book that answers the question in the affirmative.

“In the late 1830s,” writes Ford, “the Welsh botanist John Dillwyn Llewelyn began making photographs of orchids he’d grown at his home near Swansea. Llewelyn’s pictures are thought to be among the first to use the photographic process to identify plant specimens, though he himself found them lacking. ‘I have amused myself with making Daguerreotype [sic] portraits [of several flowers], and from their exact accuracy they are interesting,’ he wrote in an 1842 letter to the director of London’s Kew Gardens, ‘though the want of color prevents them from being beautiful as pictures.’ …

Flora Photographica: The Flower in Contemporary Photography by William A. Ewing and Danaé Panchaud (Thames & Hudson, 2022), features 200 photos taken over the past 30 years. The lavishly illustrated book follows its 1991 predecessor, which covered the period from 1835 to 1990. The newest edition features more than 120 artists from 30 countries working with digital and analog photography in a variety of modes, including performance, collage, and textiles. 

“Some of the most provocative images come from artists who use flowers to take on today’s pressing political and social issues.

In the book’s first photo, taken at the 2020 Belarus protests by the Polish photojournalist Jędrzej Nowicki, we see the hand of a demonstrator gripping a small bouquet of white flowers tied with white ribbon, the color of the opposition.

“ ‘The Pansy Project’ by Paul Harfleet documents single pansies that the artist plants at the site of homophobic abuse. And Thirza Schaap’s brightly-colored, modern-day vanitas ‘Plastic Ocean Series’ features floral still lifes made of discarded waste. …

“Other photos are personal, documentary, and playful. Some of Ewing and Panchaud’s selections riff on the way flowers have been depicted in the past, while others push in new directions. Flowers are a well-worn subject matter in the history of art, appearing in human production well before Llewelyn’s snaps in the 19th century. This book shows that they remain a powerful springboard for visual experimentation and meaning.”

I have chosen to illustrate this post with Abelardo Morell‘s photo both because I like it and because Abe and his wife were friends of my late sister. Nell knew them decades ago at Columbia University, when as a relatively recent immigrant from Cuba, Abe was doing menial jobs and thinking he might like to take up photography. The rest is history. Now his photographs are collected in museums.

More at Hyperallergic, here. Read about Abe here. He’s an interesting guy.

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Photo: Anamni Gupta/Indian Express.
One aspect of the 2019 Shaheen Bagh protest organized by Muslim women against India’s Citizenship Amendment Act was the emergence of free libraries.

Most Americans don’t keep track of politics in India, but it was hard to miss the news back in 2019 when the Modi government decided to change the rules about who could be counted as a citizen. Muslim women organized a protest that spread across the country from the original site in Shaheen Bagh. One aspect has remained.

As Harshvardhan reported at India’s National Herald in January, “The Shaheen Bagh protest site is gone, but its legacy continues to inspire those who dream of a more egalitarian and democratic India. Led mostly by Muslim women, the Shaheen Bagh protest site inspired one of the most aesthetically-pleasing and thought-provoking experiments with protest art in recent times. Walls and streets of Jamia Millia Islamia and Shaheen Bagh protest site exploded with creativity as students and artists camped there and experimented with ideas. …

“One of the most distinctive contributions of the Shaheen Bagh movement was the introduction of a ‘protest site library.’ The idea of a ‘protest library’ came up during the Occupy Wall Street protest, one of the largest popular demonstrations in the United States. Occupy protesters erected a tent and established a ‘People’s Library’ in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park in November 2011. This one of its kind library held over 5000 volumes of books along with magazines and newspapers, and was finally razed down by the police.

“Since then, the concept of a ‘People’s Library’ captured the imagination of protesters all across the world. It travelled to Gezi Park in Istanbul in 2013 when people resisted the commercialisation of public spaces. Make-shift libraries cropped up in different parts of Spain during the anti-austerity 15-M movement (2011-15) and then it travelled to Hong Kong during the pro-democracy movement there.

“At Shaheen Bagh, a group of students decided to convert a bus stand into a makeshift library in the heydays of the anti-CAA protests [CAA stands for the Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019]. The ‘Fatima Sheikh Savitribai Phule Library’ captured the imagination of people and soon the make-shift library started to attract a lot of donors and also inspired similar libraries at different anti-CAA protest sites.

“The year 2020, an otherwise gloomy year dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic … ended on a high note with the farmers’ uprising against the three farm bills, passed by the BJP-controlled Parliament in haste. … By blocking the entry points of nation’s capital, farmers are actually attempting to block the privatization and corporatization of Indian economy. Along with that, the protests are also a powerful assertion of the right to dissent. …

“It is but natural that such a huge protest in terms of both mobilization and concerns will also develop into a rich site for cultural production enriching the protest repertoire of the country. In one of the most innovative moves, protesting farmers launched their own bi-weekly newspaper. … They also set up libraries at the protest sites. [It] clearly carried on the legacy of the Shaheen Bagh protests. Now, we can be sure that protest site libraries are going to feature every time there is a sustained peoples’ movement.

“The first library came up at Tikri Border, Pillar no 783. On December 22 [2020], a group of students began the ‘Shaheed Bhagat Singh Library’ with a single book stand with almost 200 books standing against a yellow tent. Farmers at Tikri border welcomed the idea and people could be seen browsing through the limited books available there. Soon the idea picked up and similar libraries came up at Singhu border as well as Ghazipur border while attempts were being made to establish one at Shahjahanpur border. …

“From the anti-CAA movement to the anti-farm law movement, the protesters have been accused of being ‘uneducated’ and … of ‘not having ‘read the law’ or ‘not knowing what they are protesting against or for.’ …

“The protest-site libraries stand as proof that these people are not ‘uneducated folks’ [but] are mature enough to develop a concrete socio-economic-political understanding and act upon it.”

More at the National Herald, here. Search Suzanne’s Mom’s blog on the word “library” for examples of other unusual libraries around the world.

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Diana-Clymer-painting-of-blogger-in-June-2018-RI-Statehouse

Something surprising happened the other day. Diana showed up with a portrait of me that I had no idea she was working on.

The teacher in her watercolor class had assigned the topic “umbrage.” Paint umbrage. My friend thought, How on earth? Then she remembered a photo I sent her in June after a #familiesbelongtogether protest. She decided to incorporate the “shade” meaning of umbrage with the “angry” meaning — the trees with the protest. I love the colors in this — and the light and shadow.

I’m including a couple other light and shadow themes today. My sister and I both took photos of frost on our windows. The main difference: her frost is on the inside! As much as she loves her New York apartment, the time has come for new windows. The landlord is finally interacting with the city as the historic building needs special permits for new windows.

Sandra M. Kelly caught the sunset at my favorite island. I love how the sun streams down through the clouds.

The next shot shows how the late afternoon light hits the river birches outside the library. That was the view behind the poets at the last poetry reading. It took me a few days to find the sun at that angle again so I could come back for a picture.

We had a lot of birds near our feeder during the recent polar vortex. Also squirrels. Maybe a rabbit. Can you read tracks? I would love to know if I had a rabbit.

My granddaughter (red shirt) chose an ice-skating theme for her birthday party this year, making good use of the backyard rink.

Janet Schwartz painted the lovely rainy traffic scene in a recent show at Concord Art. And John Brickels is the artist behind the collapsing house. Hmmm. Is that a metaphor for anything?

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Photo: Caiaimage/Robert Daly
Canadian doctors who want less pay think the money would be better spent elsewhere.

At first blush, it seems counterintuitive that doctors would reject more money, but like the Oklahoma teachers who went on strike after getting a raise, they were concerned about the priorities of the whole system.

Catherine Clifford reports at CNBC, “In Canada, more than 500 doctors and residents, as well as over 150 medical students, have signed a public letter protesting their own pay raises.

” ‘We, Quebec doctors who believe in a strong public system, oppose the recent salary increases negotiated by our medical federations,’ the letter says.

“The group say they are offended that they would receive raises when nurses and patients are struggling.

” ‘These increases are all the more shocking because our nurses, clerks and other professionals face very difficult working conditions, while our patients live with the lack of access to required services because of the drastic cuts in recent years and the centralization of power in the Ministry of Health,’ reads the letter, which was published February 25. …

“Canada has a public health system which provides ‘universal coverage for medically necessary health care services provided on the basis of need, rather than the ability to pay,’ the government’s website says.

“The 213 general practitioners, 184 specialists, 149 resident medical doctors and 162 medical students … ‘believe that there is a way to redistribute the resources of the Quebec health system to promote the health of the population and meet the needs of patients without pushing workers to the end,’ the letter says.

” ‘We, Quebec doctors, are asking that the salary increases granted to physicians be canceled and that the resources of the system be better distributed for the good of the health care workers and to provide health services worthy to the people of Quebec.’ …

“On February 1, the [Médecins Québécois pour le Régime Public] published a letter denouncing working conditions of nurses. ‘The nurses are exhausted by a heavy workload. They argue that the chronic lack of staff and the fatigue caused by repeated overtime, sometimes mandatory, for lack of replacement of the team, have an impact on the safety of patient care,.’ ”

More here, at CNBC. I’m impressed by how well these doctors appreciate that overworking nurses and staff can interfere with their own jobs — and with patient outcomes.

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Yesterday’s NY Times Dining section had a delightful story about all the food being delivered to Occupy Wall Street. Donations have come from far and wide, and people have self-organized to distribute it and do the washing up. The story is here.

“Requests for food go out on Twitter and various Web sites sympathetic to the protesters. And somehow, in spontaneous waves, day after day, the food pours in. …

“Platters and utensils are washed on site. The soapy runoff slides into a gray-water system that’s said to draw impurities out through a small network of mulch-like filters. …

“Members of the [food] crew sometimes fail to show up in the morning because they were arrested the night before. (Then again, as many a chef will tell you, that happens in a lot of restaurants.)” …

“Telly Liberatos, 29, the owner of Liberatos Pizza on Cedar Street in the Financial District, said he has received orders from places like Germany, France, England, Italy and Greece, as well as every region of the United States.

“ ‘It’s been nonstop,’ he said. ‘The phones don’t stop ringing. People from California order the most at one time.’ Someone from the West Coast had called in the biggest delivery: he wanted 50 pizzas dispatched to the park.”

You might enjoy knowing that Asakiyume’s blog offers music suggestions for the 99 percent. Check it out. (I borrowed the picture from downtownmonks.blogspot.com.)

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