Great Visual Arts from Around the World.

The New Issue of Create! Magazine Is Out Now


Colossal

March 5, 2021
Colossal

Cover image by Patty Carroll
We’re delighted at the release of Create! Magazine’s Issue #24, which was curated in part by our editor-in-chief, Christopher Jobson. Colossal readers might recognize some of the artists and photographers featured in the winter edition, including Patty Carroll (previously), Greg Olijnyk (previously), and Rose Sanderson (previously), alongside Bryane Broadie’s digital collages teeming with colorful patterns and ethereal, illustrated portraits by Line Holtegaard.
In 2013, Ekaterina Popova founded Create!, which now boasts an international audience of more than 170,000 readers across digital and print and hosts a podcast featuring contemporary artists, curators, and entrepreneurs. Pick up a copy of Issue #24 in the Create! shop, where Colossal Members always get 20 percent off.

By Bryane Broadie
By Hine Mizushima

By Line Holtegaard

By Cara Guri

By Dylan Gebbia-Richards. Photo courtesy of Stephen Ironside

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, help support our interview series, gain access to partner discounts, and much more. Join now!

 
Share this story
 

About Last Night: Ancient Drunkard Apology Letters of the Silk Road

It’s happened to the very best of us, when the stark light of day wakes us from a slumber with a dry mouth, a sore head and a foreboding sense of shame for our previous night’s antics. For last night, far too much liquor had been consumed, and the party was perhaps a little too hard. As Shakespeare so eloquently put it, “That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold.” As we stumble out from which ever place we had laid ourselves, brief snapshots of the night appear and the unforgiving sense of shame takes over. Some call it hangxiety, others the shameover. And so begins the inevitable conversations with those who were there and who perhaps had a clearer vision of what exactly was said and done, as you retrace your unsteady steps and attempt to decipher who might be owed an apology. Today we can make our clunky excuses through the magic of technology, but this morning-after ritual is one that has been around for centuries – let’s just say that for as long as we’ve had alcohol, we’ve had hangxiety.Travel back to the first millennium AD, to China, and more specifically to the oasis town of Dunhuang, which welcomed travellers of the Silk Road, taking refuge from the unending desert. The Tang dynasty, which ruled from 618 to 907 AD, is in full swing, sweeping across China, Iran and Turkey and bringing with it a new appreciation for grapes, and consequently, wine.
Banquet at the Imperial Palace during the Tang dynasty © University of Toronto
The Silk Road is thriving, wine is flowing and the opportunities for a good night out are plentiful. Enter the eloquently named Dunhuang Bureau of Etiquette, a convenient service which allowed our disgraced partygoers to purge themselves of their embarrassment, without too much thought. For the Dunhuang Bureau of Etiquette had handily composed a set of drunken apology templates, which officials could have delivered to their hosts, excusing themselves for the previous night’s behaviour. All that was required of the sender was to copy out the helpful little template, enter the host’s name and sign the apology letter, helping ease some of the headache that must have plagued these red-faced revellers.
One such example, dated 856 AD, reads:

Yesterday, having drunk too much, I was intoxicated as to pass all bounds; but none of the rude and coarse language I used was uttered in a conscious state. The next morning, after hearing others speak on the subject, I realised what had happened, whereupon I was overwhelmed with confusion and ready to sink into the earth with shame.

The entire scroll, filled with Form Letters adapted for various situations, can be seen here. The story for how our ancient drunken apology letters came to be found is one that also merits a mention.
Up until the twentieth century, little was known about the Silk Road. It was only when explorers and archaeologists unearthed the remains of a number of ancient cities, hidden in the desert, that they found a treasure trove of history, made up of sculptures, murals and manuscripts. One of the most notable discoveries was found just outside Dunhuang, in a cave which had been sealed and hidden at the end of the first millennium AD, known now as the Mogao caves.

Mogao Caves ©Yaohua2000
The vital discovery was made by a Chinese monk in the early 1900s, who wished to preserve this spiritual place. He took it upon himself to tend to the cave, meticulously caring for every inch of it and appointing himself as somewhat of a guardian.
Chinese monk, known as “Wang”
One day, the monk observed a crack in one of the cave’s wall and discovered a small, hidden chamber, full to the brim with texts dating from 406 to 1002 AD. Unbeknownst to him, Wang had just excavated a copy of the world’s first dated book Diamond Sutra, which was written in 868 AD and constitutes seven strips of yellow stained paper, pasted together. This however was the very beginning of Wang’s discoveries as he went on to unearth forty thousand manuscripts, paintings and printed documents, which have helped historians to build a rich and enticing picture of the Silk Road’s history. As to why these texts were squirrelled away from prying eyes, the answer is unclear but it is perhaps suggested that the Buddhist monks who did so were weary of an encroaching invasion.
Manuscripts found at the Mogao cavesM. Aurel Stein © British Library
Desperate to secure funding to allow him to continue caring for the cave, Wang sold a British-Austrian archaeologist by the name of Marc Aurel Stein, seven thousand of the manuscripts, along with six thousand fragments, and several cases filled with paintings, embroideries and other artefacts. Stein later remarked that the measly sum of £130 which he paid for this incredible haul was one “that will make our friends at the British museum chuckle.” Indeed, this discovery is now considered to be one of the greatest archaeological finds of all time, earning Stein a knighthood but the enduring distain of those in China.
The collection of work acquired by Stein revealed a world that the West had been oblivious to. The texts were written in Sanskrit, Turkic, Chinese and Tibetan and painted a picture of what it was like to live on the Silk Road during its glory days. Not only were the drunken apologies discovered but along with them, a medley of other documents including slave contracts and police reports.
This remarkable loot is now spread out across the world, displayed in museums in Beijing, Delhi and Paris, while the drunken apology letter finds itself on display in the British Library. A cautionary reminder that one hazy night of your life, might just go down in history in more ways than one. Always drink responsibly!
Further listening:

[embedded content]

Written by Louise McNutt

Varied Patches of Color and Textured Stitches Delineate Expressive Embroidered Portraits


Craft

#embroidery
#fiber art
#portraits
#thread

March 5, 2021
Grace Ebert

All images © Brenda Risquez, shared with permission
Brenda Risquez is deliberate in her use of texture, density, and color in her boldly embroidered portraits inspired by friends and pop culture icons. Varying patches of long, single-stitch rows and rounded tufts map onto the subjects’ faces, many of which display the textile artist’s affinity for pronounced, single-hued cheeks. Her hoop-bound portraits are expressive and dotted with playful elements, like a jaw outlined in pink or highlights stitched in bright, geometric shapes.
Textiles have played an outsized role in Risquez’s creative trajectory—she holds degrees in Fine Arts from the University of Granada and Textile Art from the School of Art of Granada—although she only started embroidering in the last five years. Currently, she teaches at Workshop Granada and is exploring a variety of techniques involving fabric painting and pattern design. Find shots of works-in-progress, along with information on commissions and other opportunities to buy her dynamic pieces, on Instagram.

#embroidery
#fiber art
#portraits
#thread

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, help support our interview series, gain access to partner discounts, and much more. Join now!

 
Share this story
 

A Flurry of Feathers and Leaves Surround Spirited Birds in Fio Silva’s Vivid Murals


Art

#birds
#flowers
#mural
#public art
#street art

March 5, 2021
Grace Ebert

Castelar, Buenos Aires. All images @ Fio Silva, shared with permission
Fio Silva tucks clusters of oversized birds and botanicals into otherwise stark urban spaces, creating striking murals awash in puffs of feathers, petals, and leaves. The Buenos Aires-based artist focuses largely on movement, a thread that runs through both the vivid renderings of winged subjects as they appear to take flight or perch for just a moment. “It was that lack of stillness through work and searching for walls to paint that I found meaning in my time,” Silva tells Colossal.
When working in color, the artist starts with blues, yellows, and reds before expanding the palette based on the “moods and to intensify, in some way, what I want to convey, if it is something rather clear, bright, or something… more subdued or desolate,” Silva says. “When I paint, I try to convey a certain force, that by seeing it or sharing it I can move someone, in whatever way.”
Silva plans to complete a few murals in Argentina during the next few months and will travel to Europe during the summer, with an exhibition of smaller paintings slated for October in Paris. Keep up with the artist’s monumental public works on Instagram.

Olivos, Buenos Aires
General Roca, Rio Negro
Olivos, Buenos Aires
Left: Berlin, Germany. Right: Belsh, Albania
General Roca, Rio Negro
Patos, Albania
Patos, Albania

#birds
#flowers
#mural
#public art
#street art

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, help support our interview series, gain access to partner discounts, and much more. Join now!

 
Share this story