Artists interpret Clans

Text and Photos by Artists
May 29, 2015 Culture — Issue 1

Six artists from different corners of the world redefine the clan.

Moroccan Tuning

Zineb Benjelloun Casablanca, Morocco

“Moroccan tuning” is an art designed and practiced by men, truck and van drivers. Football teams, animals, cartoon heroes, religious invocations, sometimes hearts and flowers … They have created a burgeoning imagery that accompany them at all times on the road. The “tuning” sometimes reveals the owner’s personality, but it mostly evokes a rich collective, mystical and eccentric imagination, which says a lot about the benefits and dangers of the road, especially on the men truck drivers.

After the Motherland

Hoda Afshar Melbourne, Australia

The sympathetic attitude towards veiled women has long created a division between the practices of Western feminists and those of Muslim ‘sisters’. Grouped into a single generalised category, Muslim women are seen—and represented—as exploited, restricted and suppressed.

This approach places them in an unequal relationship to First World women, and constructs Western feminists as individuals who have the ‘freedom’ to make their own decisions. ‘After the Motherland’ intends to critique such representations and hierarchical binary divisions, while tracing their trajectory in the practices of both Western feminist artists and feminist artists from Islamic backgrounds.

Whereas the former often engage in rebellious acts such as getting naked in order to represent themselves as modern, liberated, and having control over their own bodies and sexualities, Muslim feminist artists often represent themselves as women who live effectively restricted lives, tradition-bound and oppressed. In this work, I aim to bring to light the socially coded forms of representing the female subject in the art world, questioning the structures in which these stereotypes are created, and giving a voice to those Muslim women—often excluded from critical debates on feminism—whose perspectives do not fit neatly into a limited narrative about oppression.

La Balkanisation de l’Afrique

Laye Samb Dakar, Senegal

My illustrations represent two ethnic groups spread around several countries in sub-Saharan Africa: the Tuaregs, “Kel Tamasheq” and the Fula. Theses nomadic people lived in the margin of the capitalistic system put in place by the colonisers. They ignored the imaginary borders established during the Berlin Conference of 1884 and they have managed to preserve their cultural identity up to now.

The Berlin Conference of 1884–1885 marked the climax of the European competition for territory in Africa, Neither the Berlin Conference itself nor the framework for future negotiations provided any say for the peoples of Africa over the partitioning of their homelands.The Berlin Conference did not initiate European colonisation of Africa, but it did legitimate and formalise the process.

Maori Moko

Eiko Ojala Tallinn, Estonia

While living in New Zealand, I have been fascinated by the respect New Zealanders have for their nature and their land. The Maori tattoo “Moko” is a unique expression of cultural preservation. My illustration is contemporary reflection on how “Moko”, which is strongly inspired by the nature; is leading us back to the roots, showing our vulnerability and need to respect mother earth. I dedicate this work to Jimmy from Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.

Family ties

Zohreh Parhizkari Tehran, Iran

A clan is a community in which people live closely together, each person is a part of the others, whether in happiness or in sorrow. In the Middle East, and particularly in my dear country “Iran”, families have very strong ties. The oldest member of the family is the head of the clan. That person is well respected. In this illustration, the chief of the clan stands higher than the others and the three lines on his face symbolise his superiority.

L’homme seul assis au balcon

Pascal Konan Abidjan, Cote-d’Ivoire

As an artist, I decided to work with e-waste. These unrecoverable electrical and electronic equipment that the world pours into our countries. I wanted to give them new life by using them in my creations. Letters represents the main character. In the background, a landscape made primarily with electronic pads. This is a reproduction of “Agbogbloshie”, a suburb of Accra, Ghana, the largest e-waste landfill in West Africa. As human community, we pretend not to see the impact of our actions. Yet we are affected. We are all marked. We are all survivors.