Interview with Dawit Petros, June 7, 2013
NMAFA: Welcome! Today we're chatting w/ #earthmatters artist @dawitlpetros.
NMAFA: "A Total Instance of Reflexivity" is the (short) title of @dawitlpetros' work in #earthmatters exhibit.
NMAFA: @dawitlpetros Can you tell our followers a bit about the inspiration behind the piece in #earthmatters?
DP: @NMAfA blackmirrors-landscape viewing devices used by artists to transcribe landscapes 18th-19thc, minimalist sculpture and land art
DP: @NMAfA geography of east africa-specifically the Rift Valley, and personal history
NMAFA: @dawitlpetros Why did you choose plexiglass as your medium for this piece? #earthmatters
DP: @NMAfA black plexiglass has few functions: "withholds" information that the photographs offer, becomes a mirrors onto which viewer's process
DP: @NMAfA of looking is inscribed, viewer's reflection locates them in physical framework of African histories.
Follower:: @dawitlpetros @NMAfA what is/are your favorite piece(s) in #earthmatters aside from your own? Why?
Follower:: @dawitlpetros @NMAfA (how) do you feel they compliment your own work?
DP: @NMAfA El Anatsui and Ghader Amer's earthworks. The framing of earth works within an African context is one that informs my project.
NMAFA: @dawitlpetros What impact do you think your upbringing in #Eritrea & beyond in E. Africa had on your development as an artist? #earthmatters
DP: @NMAfA Living as an African subject in the diaspora has encouraged me to reflect on the predicament of the Afriacn artist as both a producer
DP: @NMAfA and a thinker of forms and as an interpreter of contemporary African subjectivity?
NMAFA: @dawitlpetros What meaning does the exhibit's theme, #earthmatters, hold for you?
DP: @NMAfA That our entire existence is intricately linked with our place on this earth. That it is impossible to have a sense of ourselves as
DP: @NMAfA individuals and communities unless we take into consideration the larger home-earth-that we inhabit
NMAFA: Well said! @dawitlpetros "Impossible to have sense of ourselves as indiv/commun. unless take into consid. the home- Earth -that we inhabit"
NMAFA: For those who haven't visited #earthmatters, @dawitlpetros' piece includes landscape images that can only be seen at a close distance.
DP: @NMAfA the landscape images are the rift valley-a geological formation that runs the length of east africa
NMAFA: @dawitlpetros How do you typically begin a photograph or a photo-based work-- or a work in general? #earthmatters
DP: @NMAfA It depends on specific project. Usually research and travel to particular locations that have either a symbolic or personal
DP: @NMAfA significance. then co-allate research and writing, begin making sketches, drawings then find the metaphor, the poetic for the work
NMAFA: @dawitlpetros How has your work/practice as an artist changed over time? #earthmatters
DP: @NMAfA The work has become more economical, less dependent on representational imagery and more focused on abstraction, colour.
NMAFA: @dawitlpetros What do you want viewers to discover in your works? #earthmatters
DP: @NMAfA I am less concerned with any grand discoveries and more with viewers questioning their preconceived notions about various things
NMAFA: @dawitlpetros What projects are you currently working on? Is the theme of Earth & its role in our lives carried forward? #earthmatters
DP: @NMAfA I am completing the Chrome series (2009-2013), which is s composed of photographs, wall murals, and sculptures.
DP: @NMAfA These works explore the urban localities of Addis Ababa and Dakar through the structure of modernist legacies--the grid and the
DP: @NMAfA monochrome--as paradigms of the quest for color and form.
DP: @NMAfA The theme of earth is a consistent undercurrent in all my work-the examination of particular sites in every projects occurs within
DP: @NMAfA an awareness of a larger physical space.
DP: @NMAfA I am preparing for my first solo museum exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston in October 2013.
NMAFA: @dawitlpetros What artists/photographers have inspired you most in your work? #earthmatters
DP: @NMAfA I draw influence from artists such as Isaac Julien, Glenn Ligon, Yinka Shonibare, Magdalena Campos-Pons
NMAFA: @dawitlpetros As we close out our chat- would you leave followers w/any final words abt #earthmatters- as a theme or exhibition!
DP: @NMAfA Art operates around a shared responsibility of dialogue between an art object and audience so please go and engage the works.
NMAFA: A big thanks to @dawitlpetros for chatting with us today! See his work, & many others, in our #earthmatters exhibit: http://africa.si.edu/exhibits/earthmatters/index.html
Interview with George Osodi, October 23, 2013
NMAFA: Hello all & welcome to our interview w/#earthmatters artist @gosodi! We'll be chatting about his work in & themes of the show @smithsonian
NMAFA: @gosodi's work in the show is titled De Money Series no. 1, seen here: #earthmatters pic.twitter.com/aD31MuIPVe
NMAFA: Followers: Feel free to jump in and ask Qs at any point, and use #earthmatters tag to follow the conversation!
NMAFA: Getting started- @gosodi Can you tell our followers about the inspiration behind the piece in the show- De Money Series No. 1? #earthmatters
GO: @NMAfA As a photographer, i have always loved documenting through photographs issues and realities that deserves change in the modern day
GO: @NMAfA Africa though i may not be able to make the change but i feel that through photography which i believe is a powerful tool one could
GO: @NMAfA create documents and records that will graphically illustrate the dangers associated with this act of illegal gold mining known as
GO: @NMAfA as galamsey in Ghana a country very rich in mineral resources and one of the biggest suppler of gold globally.
NMAFA: If you're just joining, we're chatting w/#earthmatters artist @gosodi about his piece: pic.twitter.com/tmqR9PVReK
NMAFA: @gosodi You talk abt your role as photographer in documenting issues- How do you typically begin a photo or photo-based work? #earthmatters
GO: @NMAfA It all depends on the mood. I typically would prefer to approach a photo based work from a project point of view that will mean that
GO: @NMAfA their most be a statement i am planing to carry across through my photography. I photograph my subject with dignity irrespective of
GO: @NMAfA the situation i try as much as i can to represent a subject in such a manner that looks attractive to the viewer putting aesthetics
GO: @NMAfA first by so doing the viewer is subjected to take a closer look at the situation and hopefully grasp and take part
NMAFA: @gosodi Do you feel your work/practice has changed over time? If so, how? #earthmatters
GO: @NMAfA No not at all my photography style hasn't changed except that i try to photograph more on a slow pace as against fast pace that i
GO: @NMAfA use to in the past probably for the fact that i am growing matured and getting old too as you are aware photography could be very
GO: @NMAfA tedious as it requires a lot of mental and physical energy and time
NMAFA: Energy required-absolutely. @gosodi What impact do you think yr upbringing in Nigeria has had on yr development as an artist? #earthmatters
GO: @NMAfA First i feel i am very proud to have come from Nigeria, to me Nigeria is a country of paradox there is so much happening at a time.
GO: @NMAfA I grow up in a country that is so diverse in culture and rich in both human and natural resources.
GO: @NMAfA these factors alone could form a base for both positive and negative realities to arise and this form the backdrop for my creative
GO: @NMAfA ability especially having noticed while growing up as a young man that most of our past was documented photographically by foreigners
GO: @NMAfA who then had a better opportunity but i belong to a new generation of photographers that want to create a photographic record of our
GO: @NMAfA dear Africa and the rest of the word from our perspective for change and posterity
NMAFA: "Most of our past was documented by foreigners" - @gosodi , on his work and creating a "new record of Africa" #earthmatters
GO: @NMAfA Africa is home to me
NMAFA: @gosodi What meaning does the exhibit's theme, #earthmatters, hold for you?
GO: @NMAfA To me, Earth is the World and the World is Nature. This brings me to the fact that there is a supernatural being that has created
GO: @NMAfA the world with the quest to make it a loving and a good place for all to live. The world is a chemical world and all that dwell in it
GO: @NMAfA are regarded as matter; hence we all occupy space on the face of the earth. I see the world as a vicious circle and this to me implies
GO: @NMAfA all matter, including humans, have a specific purpose and life-span. Having lived with this notion as my rational self has come to
GO: @NMAfA understand the world, I think that the earth deserves to be protected, knowing well that this place is home for all. I have always
GO: @NMAfA seen and believed in photography as an instrument for change, even though, as a photographer, I personally may not be able to change
GO: @NMAfA subjects, especially in the contemporary sub-Saharan African landscape which i hope will be the next destination for hope someday
NMAFA: Well said! @gosodi: Earth needs to be protected as home for all; photography is one instrument of change #earthmatters
NMAFA: @gosodi What- if anything- do you want viewers to discover in your works? #earthmatters
GO: @NMAfA I work with so much passion sincerity love. I want people to look at my work from the aesthetics point of view but to see "change
GO: @NMAfA There is always something i what to say when ever i embark on a project. People should take a deep look to my work and be affected
GO: @NMAfA and expect to be connected in other to bring about change
NMAFA: @gosodi Let's take our submitted Q, RT @LanaeSpruce: When did you first realize that you wanted to be an artist? #earthmatters
GO: @NMAfA i realize i was going to be an artist in my early days as a young boy probably at age 12 but i did not have
GO: @NMAfA the will power then until i became adult
GO: @NMAfA also growing uo in Benin city in Nigeria was of great use being one of the major cultural cities in Ngr. and hanging with artists
NMAFA: Earth Matters artist George Osodi is taking your questions on his work in the show, right now. Include @NMAfA #earthmatters in your tweets
NMAFA: @gosodi What artists/photographers have inspired you most in your work? #earthmatters
GO: @NMAfA I have been inspired by a lot of artist some of which include Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Michael Jackson,Irving Penn,henri cartier bresson
GO: @NMAfA these are a few of many that i have looked up to and their work has helped shaped my inspiration
NMAFA: We're almost at the end of our interview with @gosodi- followers, if you have any Qs, ask now! #earthmatters
NMAFA: @gosodi What projects are you currently working on? Is the theme of Earth and its role in our lives carried forward? #earthmatters
GO: @NMAfA at the moment i am workin on a new project called the Nigeria Monarchs see details on http://www.nigeriamonarchs.com
NMAFA: Wonderful! @gosodi - do you have any closing words for our followers? #earthmatters
GO: @NMAfA i am happy to appeal to people in places of power to sometimes take a break and look at works of creative artist
GO:@NMAfA and find a way to connect with the message being passed by some artist that desire a better world
NMAFA: That's it for today's chat-- a very big thank you to our friend @gosodi for chatting with us about his work & #earthmatters
NMAFA: You can check out his work & many others by visiting our #earthmatters exhibition before it closes in December: http://africa.si.edu/exhibits/earthmatters/index.html Š
GO: @NMAfA the world deserve to be respected and treated with care and good governance from all
Interview with Ghada Amer, August 9, 2013
NMAFA: Hello all and welcome to our interview with #earthmatters artist @Ghada_Amer! We'll be chatting about her works in/themes of the show.
NMAFA: For those unfamiliar, @Ghada_Amer has two works in #earthmatters: 1. A Garden installation titled "Hunger"
NMAFA: And her 2nd work in #earthmatters is a collaborative piece w/Reza Farkhondeh titled "We Are Destroying Planet Earth"
NMAFA: We're going to get started w/a few Qs- Followers, if you have any Q's, include either @nmafa or #earthmatters in tweets & we'll get to them!
NMAFA: Let's get started! @Ghada_Amer, can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind "Hunger"? #earthmatters
GA:: @NMAfA I was invited to make a Garden in the lush grounds of the Smithsonian, but being in Washington
GA:: @NMAfA I was more reminded of the political ground
GA:: @NMAfA and I was thinking about the countries and people who depends on the US aid to survive.
GA:: @NMAfA that is how I got the idea to make a "political" Garden: Hunger
NMAFA: @Ghada_Amer How do you typically begin a piece--particularly an outdoor piece like Hunger? #earthmatters
GA:: @NMAfA it is very important for me to see first the physical space.
GA:: @NMAfA then I start to ask myself where is the piece going to be? who are the people living there
GA:: @NMAfA and who are going to see it.
NMAFA: @Ghada_Amer With Hunger, you planted a Garden of rice. How will the Garden evolve and when will it be harvested? #earthmatters
GA:: @NMAfA it was very important for me to get a crop, and to make an event with it after I harvest
GA:: @NMAfA harvest will be sometime late September or October, depending on the weather.
NMAFA: @Ghada_Amer Can you now tell us a bit about the inspiration behind "We Are Destroying Planet Earth"? #earthmatters
GA:: @NMAfA This work is in collaboration with Reza Farkhondeh who is an iranian american artist
GA:: @NMAfA It is part of a series we did from 2005 to 2007
GA:: @NMAfA everybody has a responsibility in destroying our planet.
NMAFA: @Ghada_Amer What meaning does the exhibit's theme, #earthmatters, hold for you? @smithsonian
GA:: @NMAfA @smithsonian earth matters has a beautiful title and very much self explanatory because
GA:: @NMAfA @smithsonian earth does matter to me!
NMAFA: "Earth matters to me": @Ghada_Amer. Followers--in what ways does the #earth matter to you & impact your lives?
NMAFA: @Ghada_Amer What impact do you think your upbringing in #Egypt had on your development as an artist? #earthmatters #africa
GA:: @NMAfA Egypt has inspired me all along
GA:: @NMAfA it is a country that lives in me
NMAFA: @Ghada_Amer What was your relationship to "earth" and the landscape in #Egypt? #earthmatters
GA:: @NMAfA One of my favorite landscape is the desert, it makes me very calm
Follower:: @nmafa @Ghada_Amer Have always loved your embroidered paintings. In what ways have themes in those works continued in #earthmatters?
GA:: @KMAugustine @NMAfA I have always used different medium but I am only known for my embroidered work
GA:: @KMAugustine @NMAfA But my embroidered works are very political, so are the works at earth matters
Follower:: @Ghada_Amer @NMAfA True. But I still pick up on issues of the feminine, love, wildness & respect. Your use of both media feel connected 2 me
NMAFA: @Ghada_Amer Your previous work has come up in conversation. How has your work changed over time? #earthmatters
GA:: @NMAfA I do not know if my work has "changed" over time.
GA:: @NMAfA I can feel that only now (after 20 years) I can really paint with embroidery
GA:: @NMAfA It has become mature, it did not change.
NMAFA: @Ghada_Amer Interesting- What are the "constants" in your work? #earthmatters
GA:: @NMAfA One constant is women, desire, love and loneliness. The other one is wars and the human condition.
NMAFA: @Ghada_Amer What artists have inspired you most in your work? How have other female artists influenced you? #earthmatters
GA:: @NMAfA My first inspiration was Matisse (I grew up in the South of France)
GA:: @NMAfA Fernand Leger as well.
GA:: @NMAfA I was only aware of the "female" artist in the 80's.
GA:: @NMAfA Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer and Katarina Fitsch
GA:: @NMAfA These three female artist were an eye opener to me
Follower:: @Ghada_Amer @NMAfA That was a pretty powerful period. Does Ana Mendieta's works relate to your pieces in the natural environment as well?
GA:: @KMAugustine @NMAfA I was aware of Ana Mendieta works only when I moved to the US
NMAFA: @Ghada_Amer (If anything) What do you want viewers to discover in your works? #earthmatters
GA:: @NMAfA I want the viewer to feel inspired when they look at my work.
NMAFA: @Ghada_Amer What projects are you currently working on, outside of #earthmatters?
GA:: @NMAfA I am working on my solo show in New York at Cheim&Read. opening in the next spring
NMAFA: @Ghada_Amer What--if any-- are the themes that the new show be dealing with? #earthmatters
GA:: @NMAfA women as usual:) but I do not like to explain in advance, people has to see. I am a visual artist after all!
NMAFA: Many thanks to #earthmatters artist @Ghada_Amer for chatting w/us today. Visit @NMAfA & check out the #earthmatters exhibit to see her works