I watched a really interesting Storyville documentary on BBC iplayer called Mugabe and The Democrats. It is about the leaders of two political parties in Zimbabwe trying to get people to vote honestly in a referendum about the electoral system of the government. In a speech to the voters, one of the leaders talks of how they once fought a war with guns in Zimbabwe but now they fight a war with pens. I thought that this was a powerful statement and that it could also be a really powerful visual. I have been trying out different finishes and shapes with pen lids in order to create a striking necklace for my collection. It might take me quite a lot of work to make them into something good, but I think it would be worth the hard work!
Contrasting textures and tones are something I have been interested in over the last few projects. The research I have done on modern Africa has led me back on that path once more. In the above images (taken from the amazing photography book of Leni Riefenstahl’s photography by Taschen) we see the beautiful painted bodies of two tribes people, I really love the contrasting skin tones and how the finishes accentuate their form. Contrasts, however, have not only been skin deep throughout my research, they have been integral to many parts of it, from tribes people against city people, traditional against modern and poverty against great wealth. Africa really is a land of contrasts and so I thought it was really important to show this through my work. I have been playing around with different surface textures on recycled rubber inner tubes. Recycling has become a big part of my practice, it is also something which is prevalent in African culture. Tribe’s people are very resourceful and will use what is available to them to create beautiful adornment.