Friday, September 14, 2007

The CalliGRAFFiti Project

CalliGRAFFi is a collaborative exploration between myself and graff writer Ricardo Richie "Apex" into parallels between East Asian calligraphy and urban American graffiti. We will be in residency at the Headland's Center for the Arts Project Space in November 2007.

Shown here are juxtapositions of some of our work leading up to this project. The large and small pieces by Ricardo that are his explorations of graff-inspired word forms. I have included a few pieces from a series called "Flash," which are inspired by graffiti tags that I have re-interpreted using traditional East Asian techniques and materials.

Works (in the order shown):
Untitled, 2007, acrylic on paper. Ricardo Richie
"Flash No.3" 2007, ink and silver on paper. Minette Mangahas
Wallpiece 2006. Ricardo Richie
"Flash No.2" 2007, ink and silver on paper. Minette Mangahas
"Flash No.4" 2007, ink and silver on paper. Minette Mangahas
Untitled, 2007, acrylic on paper. Ricardo Richie
"Flash No.5" 2007, ink and silver on paper. Minette Mangahas
Wallpiece 2006. Ricardo Richie
"To Touch" 2006, traditional calligraphy, Minette Mangahas

Thursday, July 05, 2007

kiss my hyphen (on love across margins)

Minette Lee Mangahas
Sumi-e (ink painting) animation (2007)
4 min. 40 sec.

I have a love-hate relationship with this symbol called the hyphen. Often used to connect parts of our identity, it’s a sign that both unites and divides, defines and misleads. It is supposed to represent diversity within a person, and yet I often feel that is so inadequate in explaining who we are—our complex communities, histories, and selves—and most importantly, our connection to each other. What happens when this mark comes between two people in love?

Premiered at the 2007 APAture Arts Festival in San Francisco, Ca.
Currently at Joyce Gordon Gallery
Opening Fri., Oct. 5
Reception Thurs., Oct. 11, 5-8:30pm
406 14th Street (@ Franklin), Oakland, Ca

Thursday, June 28, 2007

FĂȘte de la Musique

Ventured into this incredibly refreshing music festival in Paris last week. Managed to shoot some video to record the sights and sounds. I loved it!

ps. You may want to turn your screen sideways, it's shot long :)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Abstract Art with Improvised Brushes

While in Costa Rica, I was invited Norma Varela at the Colegio Tecnico Artistico in Liberia to give a workshop to her class of fine arts students. The school is the only public arts high school in the country that is free of charge, and many of the students are from poorer communities in and around the city.

She had wanted me to give a demonstration of calligraphy, but since we had no brushes or ink, I decided to ask the students to make their own brushes from found objects around the school.

We were able to gather some yarn, sticks, leaves, feathers, grass, cloth (from an old shirt), glue, and paper from a phone book. I showed the students how to design and secure the brush heads as well.

Paint and paper were also in very short supply, so we worked in groups of 2-3. I asked the students create expressions of a memory or a feeling. They mixed water into left over tempera paint bottles and poured the paint directly unto the paper. Then they used the brushes to move the pigment around.

This was their first experiment with abstract art, and it was very exciting!

Students: Norma Mendez, Monica Contreras, Mario Alcazar, Yarlin Ramirez, Andrea Araya, Christina Rivas, Fransela Melendez, Diana Rodriguez

Friday, May 11, 2007

Alterarte: Mural for Experimental Youth Theater in Liberia

A group of 10-13 youth who live in the small city of Liberia in the Guanalcaste region of Costa Rica are part of this exciting experimental theater group run by visionary Director Jorge Baltodano.

The performer and activist, Guadalupe Urbina had put me in touch with them, and so I went to help them create sets for their next play, which is about violence. Since most of the youth had no prior experience in painting or drawing, we looked at some of Luciano's work and incorporated stencils and graffiti techniques to develop backdrops for the show.

In Guadalupe's words, "They built this theater with their own hands, at the back of this church..."

I was so touched by the passion of these youth for theater, and their incredible skill and devotion.

Breakdancers at CENAC

Performing Graffiti @ Fadau

A mutual friend introduced me to Argentine-Costa Rican urban art virtuoso, Luciano Fevier, with whom I collaborated (and borrowed stencils from) for the performance.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Costa Rica: El Ministerio de Cultura

In San Jose, on a fellowship from the Rockefeller Flow Fund to curate an exhibition of children's art as part of the First Conference of Women for the Abolition Armies in Central America.

you will never guess what happened to me today.

i was hanging work at the ministry of culture (artwork by young people from 7 countries) for the conference), a beautiful historic European beer distillary converted into galleries, the Museum of Contemporary Art, a dance institute and performing arts venue.

it was so funny. i would put things up, and then turn my back--and when i turned around everything was undone!

in the meantime, all these bodies were running around--preparing for an avante garde sound performance by an argentinian artist in the adjoining room.
finally, we realized they had double booked the spaces.

well, it all worked out. but guess who they booked almost the entire compound along with us?
FADAU-1er Festival Abierto de Danza & Arte Urbano.

they invited me to participate in the international graffiti piece on sunday. needless to say, everything's coming together in the most incredible way.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Kaz painting with Susan's Hair

One of the few fun things we did at Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico--where I was assisting Kazuaki Tanahashi in a color calligraphy workshop.

Amongst the most unique of the large brushes we used was Susan's extremely long pony tail!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Art of Awareness

Something to share ...

I had the opportunity recently to work with students at Oakland Tech High School in a program called the Art of Awareness. It was organized by Alta Bates Hospital to raise youth awareness of issues around breast cancer, and merged science lectures with art-making workshops.

Here are some pieces that came out of our first workshop -- created by two students and inspired by slides of healthy and malignant cells and the poetry of Audrey Lorde.

I am dedicating this work to my grandmother, Ruby Kelley Mangahas who passed away from breast cancer last year.