Thursday, October 29, 2009

Collaboration #4: Frida & Me

Our starting point on this round was a self-portrait of Frida Kahlo. In keeping with Halloween, I decided to transform Frida into a black cat. The body is made of painted corrugated cardboard and the limbs and tail can be moved. Frida's face is drawn with craypas (oil crayons). The monkey and hummingbird also have moving parts. The necklace of thorns was a challenge but I didn't want to leave it out. Thankfully I found some plastic barbed wire, which did the trick nicely. I wrapped the Frida in a large green momigami sheet which I stamped with leaf patterns. Also found some giant plastic leaves to throw into the mix.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Barcelona: Gaudi

Casa Battlo

Casa Batllo: Window Seen Through Glass

Casa Batllo: roof details

Casa Battlo: Inner Window

La Pedrera

We only had time to visit these two buildings on Passeig de Gracia. Casa Battlo was just across the street from the apartment we rented. It was a private residence and impossible to imagine it was built in 1877, the architecture and design was so modern. La Pedrera, built in 1912 has interesting rooftop touches but parts of the building look like regular apartments. Barcelona is worth a visit, if only to appreciate the singular vision of Antonio Gaudi's architecture.

Figueres: Dali Museum

The Dali Museum in Figueres has a huge collection of his work ranging from surrealist subjects to life drawings. I was impressed with the beauty of his sketches.

Colors of Barcelona


Granada Flamenco

We went to a gypsy cave in Sacramonte one evening to watch flamenco. At first we were the only guests and were served an odd dinner of Spanish omelet (lightly salted boiled potatoes covered in light egg batter). Just before the dances began, the room filled with a Japanese tour group. In fact one dancer was Japanese and spoke Spanish fluently. The older spider woman was quite dramatic and kept yelling at me to stop videotaping her. I guess my Lumix looked more like a filming tool than a digital camera.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Images of Mexico: People

Closing Ceremony at ex-Convento St Hipolito

Kiyo Akasaka and Tadatoshi Akiba
The UN Conference in Mexico City came to a dramatic close at the ex-Convento St Hipolito with a loud thunderstorm overhead. UN officials and the mayor of Hiroshima, Tadatoshi Akiba exhorted NGOs to lobby the mayors and government officials for the abolition of nuclear weapons in their towns, cities and countries.

Night Walk on Donceles after Rainfall

It rained and thundered every night in Mexico City. One could plan on the skies darkening around 3:30 in the afternoon, then, the lightning, thunder and thick drops of rain appearing soon after. Even if the day started out dry, we knew umbrellas or raincoats would be needed in the late afternoon. Because we were in the old central part of the city, taxis were hard to get in the evening. It was a pleasure to walk back to the hotel after dinner after the rains had stopped and photograph the shiny streets cleansed of dust and trash.

Images of Mexico: Art

Amazing cougar at the Anthropological in Mexico City

Orozco Mural at the San Ildefenso

Orozco mural at San Ildefenso

We were stunned by the art in Mexico City. We had limited time and decided to see just two museums, spending an entire day in each. The San Ildefenso Museum near our hotel housed an amazing collection of murals by Jose Clemente Orozco. Built with an inner courtyard, this museum provides greenery, calm in the midst of a busy city and a feast for the eyes with the murals painted on the outside walls of each level. Inside the museum and in the courtyard was an exhibition of British artist Antony Gormley's works. Small groups of children wandered the museum, sketching and talking with each other on comfortable courtyard benches. With a natural food cafe and a fabulous giftshop, this museum proved to be the oasis we needed after three full days at the UN conference.
We visited the large Anthropological Museum on Sunday, absolutely the worst day in terms of crowds. It was crowded because this museum offers free admission to Mexican citizens on Sundays. And so the working people of this large city were taking in the arts together with their children and elderly parents. Though there were lines to get into some of the exhibitions, it didn't take long to get inside, and I enjoyed watching the parents point out artifacts and read their history to their children. The cultural wealth in this museum was impressive.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Purplesilk Fundraiser at the Legendary Palace

Maestra Sherlyn Chew with Steve Young

Tyler Thompson sings an opera solo

Satisfied fans fill the Legendary Palace

Spirited performance by the Great Wall Youth Orchestra
I attended a great fundraiser in Oakland last night to support the Great Wall Youth Orchestra & Chorus. The event was sold out and we were all treated to great music and a delicious banquet. Sherlyn Chew continues to amaze with her drive to nurture musical talent among the children of Oakland. The best testimonal came from a former student, who expressed how much her horizons were opened through participation in this orchestra. Bravo Sherlyn!!