Sites of Resistance

  Within days of the publication by the Trump Administration of an executive order banning the entry of all refugees for a period, and of the citizens of seven countries identified by the Obama Administration as the most likely source of terrorists, the MOMA decided to enter into a resistance. In its most frequented galleries, […]

The Poet on The Creation of our Species

  Marcus Wicker, American poet and author of two books of poetry:  Maybe The Saddest Thing, 2012, and Silencer, 2017.   The Way We Were Made, 2012 But you made every delicate, elegant wrist   A member of one of two families expert in weaving textile in the tradition called ‘potola’  (double silk ikat) in which threads are dyed to […]

Ethiopian basketry

  Made originally with grasses since time immemorial by agricultural peoples living in the northern and central highlands, these baskets are both functional and decorative. Many have an attached, woven stand.         Then with thread and grasses in the primary colours favored by the cultures of Ethiopia.         A basket used to separate […]

The Lions of Judah

Here below is an undated photo of Haile Sellassie  I** ,  the last Ethiopian emperor, 1892 -1975  The wainscot may indicate that it was taken during the emperor’s exile in England (1936-’41).   Today is his birthday.   Books continue to pour off the presses about his life, relationships and policies.  And so many paintings.  His photo and the imperial […]

Very Vlisco

Showing at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the last half of 2016 in a ‘Creative Africa’ exposition is a room full of the patterns created by Vlisco, a Dutch factory founded in 1846. The history of this (Wax Hollandais or Dutch Wax) cotton fabric whose patterns are made – like batik – with the use of wax is one of a world […]

The Mangaaka

These figures – mangaaka – were created by master sculptors under ritual supervision.  Bantu ethnic group.  Speakers of Kicongo.  Watershed of the River Congo.  They were made of wood, resin, cowrie shell, animal hide and hair, ceramic, plant fiber and pigment.  The figures lean slightly forward from their waists up and overpower the viewer. For the people of the Congo basin and – […]

January 7: An Orthodox Christmas, 2016

It is today Christmas in the Orthodox world. The fast before Christmas in Christian Ethiopia is broken at midnight in the night between January 6 and 7 when the birth of Jesus is announced.  Vast numbers of people are in the churches, in church compounds, touching the outside of the walls of the church compound.  Genuflecting. […]

There is a gold light in certain old paintings …

 The featured image is Knot Nothing; Frank Bramblett, 1999, Philadelphia, United States. He died in the autumn  of 2015. Not only was his legacy not nothing but it was large and diffuse like the sunlight.  He was a man who helped us see the vast varied world as it is. He did this by using vast varied materials and by the care he […]