The Weekly Hufflepuff #62 | I’m In a Blogging Slump????

Haha so yeah, I’m sort of in a blogging slump? Which I honestly didn’t expect would happen, considering usually my blogging slumps are caused by the exhaustion and stress of school. But I don’t have school? And I’ve been feeling pretty relaxed most days?

Yet, I haven’t felt like blogging these past two weeks. There were a few days where I wasn’t feeling that great (stupid cold) or wasn’t really feeling well mentally, but there were other days where I was feeling pretty great and I was in such a creative mood – just not a creative mood for blogging? I’ve been working on my photography and even writing (!!), but I just didn’t have the energy, motivation or inspiration to blog. Which has been pretty weird. I’m afraid that soon I’ll fall out of love with blogging, but I’m just going to try and listen to my heart. If I feel like blogging (like today!), I’ll blog. If I don’t, I won’t, because otherwise I’m seriously worried it will start to feel like a chore and before you know it I’ll be in an even worse blogging slump. Sooo while originally I wanted a schedule of two posts a week plus my weekly wrap up, I’m not sure if that will happen? But we’ll see

ANYWAY let’s wrap up these last two weeks

I started Vengeance Road sometime at the start of the month, and at first I thought it would be a pretty quick read, but… I dunno? It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t exactly blow me away either. I guess I also had some other expectations? If everything goes according to plan I’ll be writing my review later today, so it should be up sometime this week.

I also finally finished Karina’s Silver Shoes, which really took me a while. I’ve already reviewed this one, so I won’t get into that much detail, but boy was this one a disappointment.

I was in the mood to reread The Upside of Unrequited, which I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I still can’t believe I didn’t catch the Simon vs references the first time around? Sure, it had been over a year since I read Simon, but??? Simon is literally mentioned by his name??

I also read some comics like usual: caught up on Ms. Marvel, Lumberjanes and America, finally continued DC Bombshells (I love this comic I don’t understand why I’m so slow) and read some more Runaways volumes because the show really made me want to continue. I’m not sure if I’ll read the other volumes after Vaughn’s run though. I really hated Joss Whedon’s volume and the next ones don’t seem that great either. I’m tempted to just skip to Rainbow Rowell’s new issues.

So I’ve really been enjoying my time off! Well minus my cold and the days my mental health wasn’t that great, but other than that? Boy this break has been a blessing. I mean I’ve even been writing?? But I’ll get into that later, because I can actually include a writing section in this wrap up.

Like I said above, I’ve also been working on my photography. And trying to post more on my photography Instagram account haha. Speaking of which…

Click on the picture to go to my account! (if you want)

If you aren’t yet and want to, feel free to follow me 🙆🏻*

* Cheeky self-promo there

The other day my friend came over to hold a photoshoot, but we also just hung out, since we hadn’t seen each other since last term (not that that was that long ago and we do talk every day through imessage, but still haha). It was a lot of fun, but I was still a bit ill so spending so much time outside in the cold was a bit too much haha.

Last week I was sick of staying inside, so I decided to go to the Rijksmuseum. I didn’t know what kind of temporary exhibitions were on, so I decided to check them out while I was there. One of them was about being stateless in The Netherlands which was really beautiful (though not something I needed when I really didn’t want to cry with my stuffy nose!) and the other one was about Matthijs Maris, a Dutch artist who I had never heard of but it was really interesting and inspiring! There was another one, I’m not sure about what, but one look and I knew it wasn’t my thing haha. After those temporary exhibitions I spend some time in the regular collection, but soon I started to feel ill again so it was time to go home.

Oh! I’m  also slowly getting grades back from last term and so far so good! 🙆🏻

Also I’m now OFFICIALLY accepted at the university in Manchester for my term abroad! I’ll be studying history for my minor and thankfully they can provide me with a dorm during my stay. I’m still super anxious about it, but at least all of this is now settled

Like I said: I’ve been writing! Last week I decided to print everything I’ve written so far for my WIP (my Camp NaNo project of the past two years, I’ve talked about it in more details here), something I’ve wanted to do for weeks now, but couldn’t because

So I FINALLY printed everything out, started to reread, make notes and everything and now, even though I haven’t finished my first draft yet, started on my second draft. Maybe I should’ve finished my first draft first, but this is motivating me to actually write so I’m going with it.

I’ve also been working on plot holes and the like, and I’ve been working on my outline, as I had never figured out what would happen next and how things would exactly end. I’ve made a timeline of when everything’s supposed to happen and I’m so excited to write again

Though I’m also really sad and kinda scared to actually finish this thing??

Though I’m also already thinking of a sort of sequel/companion novel when this one isn’t even done yet haha

💛 I talked about where I’ve been, what I’ve been up to and explained that I’m taking a break from school 
💛 I reviewed Swan Song, a book about overcoming your grief, finding yourself and ballet
💛 I shared a recipe of how to make your own writer in case your stuck and want someone else to take over for you 
💛 I reviewed Karina’s Silver Shoes, which was VERY confusing 

I’m pretty behind on blog posts, and I don’t mind at all? I’ve bookmarked quite a few posts that I wanted to read, but I’m very tempted to just delete them all and start over, because boy am I never going to have the time to read them all and read all the new posts coming out all the time as well. Anyway, I don’t think any of these were actually posted during these past two weeks? I’m not sure, but hey old posts deserve some love too!

💛 Lila @ Hardcover Haven shares five things to do while in a blogging slump 
💛 Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books talks about how to NOT stress about blogging
💛 Melissa @ The Bookish Wanderer did The Book Aesthetics tag and created some wonderful aesthetics 
💛 Em @ Yellow’s The Word shared her Autumn/Winter Primark wishlist
💛 Holly @ Nut Free Nerd shared some beautiful university parks
💛 Savannah @ The Book Prophet talks about giving books low ratings without reading them
💛 May @ Forever and Everly talks about her book and shares some beautiful aesthetics
💛 Ivy and Em @ Two Girls, Two Mountains share some foreign words with no English equivalent
💛 Ilsa @ A Whisper of Ink shares 7 steps to love your own writing
💛 Vivian @ Writing With Style shares the best books about writing (and now I want them all rip my wallet)
💛 A.J. wrote a really important post about how people shouldn’t demand authors who write queer stories to label themselves 

And that’s a wrap! How has your week been? How’s your writing going? Can you relate to that frog gif? Been to any exhibitions lately? Are you watching The Runaways tv show? Let me know in the comments!

The Weekly Hufflepuff #61 | Art And B99 Murdered Me

I guess it’s becoming a habit to post wrap ups every other week instead of every week?? Though not for long! But more on that later.

I have to wrap up two weeks and I barely remember anything – why is my memory like this

In my last wrap up I was still making my way through Danger! Women Artists at Work which I finally finished. It was a really interesting read, but I wish it had included more women of colour and queer women. In my last wrap up I also mentioned having started Chasing Eveline, which I finished as well and absolutely loved. Apparently I never mentioned Masked in any previous wrap ups, but I read that one as well and… boy. I’ll elaborate later

Because I was behind on reviews I decided to not start a new book, so instead I read some comics. I’ll talk about all of them in my monthly wrap up, but for now I’ll only talk about Runaways, since I read the first three volumes. With the tv show coming up I figured it was time to give it a shot. While it’s a fun read, it hasn’t really blown me away yet. I am enjoying the girl power though.

I also finally read The Importance of Being Earnest, which is something I’ve wanted to read ever since I fell in love with Oscar Wilde a few years ago, and started Emma by Kaoru Mori. Two years ago I bought volume 1 and 2 in one, but never picked it up. It’s a cute manga, but I don’t know if I’ll continue it once I finish volume 2.

Time to test my memory

Oh yeah! I went to an art exhibition about gender and sexuality in Rotterdam, which I might cover in an Artsy Hufflehoe at some point. I say might because I might forget woops. It was really interesting though. Next week is the last week so if you live in The Netherlands and find exhibitions like that interesting, go check it out! It’s called Among other things I’ve taken up smoking and is at TENT.

Last week there was an event related to Keith Haring at the Stedelijk Museum, which included a panel with two people from the Keith Haring Foundation and a panel with some Dutch artists on whom Haring had a lot of influence and in some cases they had even met him/worked with him. It was really interesting, but what made it even better was seeing the velum in real life. Back in the 80’s Haring painted the velum specifically for the museum but it was gone for years. Now it’s been restored and it’s on display again above the stairs until June next year. If you’re in The Netherlands during that time I’d definitely recommend it because it’s really cool seeing it with your own eyes

I also finally cleaned my room – I’m not usually a messy person, but um… It had gotten really bad. By the time I was done it was so weird to see how much space I had lmao. I also re-arranged my shelves a bit and took out some books to give away. This took up a lot of my time, but at least it’s finally done.

Yesterday I went to the park hoping to take in the pretty Autumn colours and take some pictures… Only to discover that almost everything was still green #rip

ALSO DID ANYONE WATCH THIS WEEK’S BROOKLYN NINE NINE IT WAS SO GOOD

💛 I reviewed Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith which I’d recommend to every Harry Potter fan
💛 I finally wrote the first post in my London travel series (a year later lmao) 
💛 I also reviewed Masked, which I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. It could’ve been a fun superhero book, but there is a abusive relationship, a white superhero named Gypsy, slut-shaming and a bunch of other fun stuff
💛 And lastly I also reviewed Chasing Eviline, which is a really fun, cute, refresing contemporary that I’d recommend to everyone, contemporary fan or not

Hopefully I’ll be able to post part 2 of my London travel series sometime next week, and not spam you guys with so many reviews haha

💛 Giulia @ The High-Heeled Paper Girl wrote a powerful piece called ‘No, I don’t want you, stranger, to follow me down the streets’ 
💛 Lila @ Hardcover Haven talks about things she needs to see more of in books
💛 Vivian @ Writing With Style shares her NaNoWriMo project
💛 And so does Savannah @ The Book Prophet
💛 Holly @ Nut Free Nerd compares The Picture of Dorian Gray to The Goldfinch
💛 Lauren @ My Paper Infinity talks about her WIP and shares her character aesthetics
💛 Ellyn @ allonsythornraxx shares comic recommendations for young adult readers
💛 Bridget @ Bridget & Books talks about what makes her follow a blog
💛 Fadwa @ Word Wonders shares the dos and don’ts of approaching reviewers
💛 Multiple bloggers shared their beautiful book aesthetics: Brooke @ Brooke’s Books | Michelle @ Book Adventures | Laura @ Green Tea Paperbacks | Sarah @ Weaving Life | Laura @ Laura Noakes | Alicia @ The Grumpy Librarian
💛 Mikaela @ The Well-Thumbed Reader wonders if it’s okay to avoid talking about controversial topics
💛 May @ Forever and Everly came back to the blogging community! 
💛 A.J. @ Lacy Literacy discusses authors invading fan spaces
💛 The Orangutan Librarian wonders how realistic books should be

I’ve been able to read more posts these last two weeks, but I’m still having trouble keeping up, so sorry if I haven’t visited your blog in a while 💛

How was your week? Or past two weeks haha. Read anything good? Watched Brooklyn Nine Nine? Let me know in the comments!

The Artsy Hufflehoe: “My Mother is Dead. My Father is Dead. I’m Gay. I’d Like to be A Poet. This is My House.”

I originally wrote this post for Stedelijk Journal and thought I’d share it here for this month’s Artsy Hufflehoe

Thus begins Female figure by Jordan Wolfson, just before “Applause” by Lady Gaga starts playing. According to Wolfson, the robotic figure is a sexual object and the work addresses “the violence of objectification”. Without being aware of this, the viewer can already feel it when standing in the gallery with the robot.

She is a blonde woman dressed as a hypersexualized pop star: she wears a semitransparent skirt through which her underwear is visible, thigh-high boots, and long gloves. She is completely in white, the color of virginity. Her body appears dirty, but the reason for this is unknown. Her face is concealed by a mask of a witch’s face — this symbolizes infertility, according to Wolfson, while the movements her body makes simply scream fertility.
Because her face is hidden, it feels as if the mask
makes her more of an
object rather than a person.

She is attached to a pole — as if it forces her to keep dancing. Even when no music is playing and she addresses the audience, she continues to dance. From behind the mask, her eyes constantly follow the crowd in the room, unnerving the viewer. She is fixed in place, and her audience cannot leave. She is continuously “performing” for the public. And, as a spectator, the viewer can do nothing.

When “Applause” finishes, she begins to whisper a monologue in which she says, among other things, “I’ll have sex with you, but that’s not my calling”. This capitalizes on the idea that women only exist to satisfy men. She constantly asks what to say, and repeats the words that were said by a man (Wolfson’s voice): “Touch is hate. Say feeling love. Touch is love”. She embodies the utmost submissiveness, just as women are also still often seen today. She says, “This is my house”, but in her own home she has nothing to say and is unable to leave.

During the “performance”, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” also plays, a song that became controversial as a result of lyrics that seem to condone or downplay rape. The words “touch is hate” could indicate this as well. Victims of rape often have difficulty with being touched.

She continues to repeat her dance moves. She is, of course, a robot that is perhaps incapable of performing many steps, but this can also be interpreted as a woman who is constantly forced to perform — to seduce men and to please them — but she is weary and hapless.

While Wolfson himself has said that Female figure is about the “objectification” of women, the observations given here are naturally my own interpretation. The emotions and ideas behind the choices Wolfson has made came to me when I saw the artwork. Perhaps the witch mask only stands for infertility, and the words “touch is hate” might have nothing to do with rape. Others may interpret the work differently, of course. Is Female figure really an effective way to expose “the violence and objectification”? When you are alone or with a group in the room with her, I think you will feel uncomfortable. Therefore, the message is still communicated, but whether the work can help put an end to “objectification” is another question entirely.

The Weekly Hufflepuff #56 | Beautiful Library, Art and ‘Cool Japan’

Don’t mind me I’m just freaking out over the fact that I only have one week of vacation left and I still have so much I need to do before school starts hahaha

Last week I said that I found Six of Crows a bit slow – probably because I’ve been reading a lot of contemporary lately and thus had to get used to that fantasy pace, but I ended up really loving it and already started on Crooked Kingdom, which I’m using for the Grind side quest for The Reading Quest. So far I’m at 40 EXP and 83 HP.

I also read the latest Lumberjanes and Hi-Fi Fight Club issue 1, but since it’s only the first issue I can’t say much about it yet, apart from the fact that I really love the art.

THE COLD IS GONE WOOP WOOP

On Tuesday my mom and I went to the Rijksmuseum, because we both hadn’t really been in a while (apart from two temporary exhibitions back in May). We only had a few hours and the museum is huge, so we definitely need to go again at some point, but at least I finally saw the library!

You’re not allowed to take pictures downstairs, so I had to settle for this

You are however allowed to take pictures upstairs

LOOK AT ALL THOSE BOOKS

Honestly pictures can’t do it justice. If you’re planning on going to Amsterdam and Rijksmuseum, I definitely recommend checking out their library

On Wednesday we went to the city center to do some necessary shopping and get ice cream at Van der Linde – if you’re ever in Amsterdam, get ice cream at Van der Linde. In my opinion it’s the best ice cream in the city.

On Thursday (I need to start these paragraphs differently rip) we finally went to the ‘Cool Japan’ exhibition at Museum Volkenkunde, which was a lot of fun. I had never been to this museum before, as it’s in Leiden (not that it’s that far from Amsterdam, I’ve just never been) so we did take a look around the museum a bit, especially since before you get to the ‘Cool Japan’ exhibition (which is temporary) there’s an exhibition on Indonesia as well. Since we’re Indonesian we had to check it out. We’re thinking of going back and bringing my grandfather with us.

Anyway, the Cool Japan exhibition was about both the hystory, myths (specifically yokai), more traditional art and of course manga, street fashion, music, etc. While the entire exhibition was interesting and fun, my favourite (and my mom’s) was the final room where they had built a small arcade. You could also read manga, there was a big screen showing some music videos and there were a few cosplays on display. Oh and there was a little bit about fan culture back in the old day which was really cool to see.

The robot (called Pepper I believe?) was so cute! Except then it was like ‘Do you want to talk? Come closer if you dare’ Is that a threat Pepper??

I used to play fighting games like Street Fighter and Tekken all the time, but on one of those arcade machines is a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT STORY I SUCKED (though I did win one round I’m 99% sure that was dumb luck)

The biggest reason the last room was my favourite – THIS GAME WAS SO MUCH FUN AND SO ADDICTING I WANT ONE OF THESE IN MY HOUSE

I also had to work and will have to work quite a bit the coming week (haha there goes my last week of freedom) While I did do some fun things, I unfortunately also struggled with my mental health this week, though I’m feeling a lot better again today.

💛 I talked about characters that get a lot of hate, but I would definitely fight you for
💛 I turned some art into memes for this month’s Artsy Hufflehoe
💛 I reviewed It’s Not Like It’s a Secret and spoiler: I have a lot of mixed feelings 

I was really bad at keeping up with posts this week, so basically I spent hours today catching up (I still have a few left to read but oh well) Really hope this is not foreshadowing for when school starts again

💛 MARIE IS BACK
💛 May talks about how to deal with bookish disappointments
💛 Lia did The Book Aesthetics tag and her aesthetics are beautiful
💛 Jasmine talks about her trip to Liverpool
💛 Lauren talks about characters she wishes were her friends
💛 Dev talks about why we need more shows like Brooklyn Nine Nine
💛 Hannah talks about recent YA cover makeovers 
💛 Mikaela talks about book-to-movie adaptations
💛 CW has some book recs for invisible narratives in historical fiction
💛 Lauren talks about comics and graphic novels for beginners 
💛 Em explored London

And that’s a wrap! What have you been up to? Been to any cool exhibitions lately? Let me know in the comments!

The Artsy Hufflehoe: Michelle Turns Art Into Memes

The Artsy Hufflehoe is a feature on here where I talk about all things art! I wasn’t sure what to do for this feature this month (not that I don’t have enough ideas, I just wasn’t in the mood for any of them) until I went to Rijksmuseum this week and inspiration struck. Behold: MEMES

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Willem II just chilling after getting shot in the shoulder no big deal

Dabbing since [insert year this was made which I forgot to look at]

Take a hint dude

She’s done with your shit

My mom thinks he was holding on so he won’t fall since they’re on a ship but this was all I could think of to be honest

That or he’s showing off his booty

Now THAT’s a movie I’d love to see

And people say art is boring. My memes tell a different story (I hope lol). Any good art memes you know? Would you watch Return of the Lesbians? Let me know in the comments!

The Artsy Hufflehoe: Zanele Muholi and the South African LGBTQI Community

The Artsy Hufflehoe is a feature on here (I’m not even going to bother and say monthly feature, because even though so far I haven’t missed a month yet when it comes to this feature, my other ‘monthly’ features aren’t that monthly) where I talk about all things art! This month I talk about my new favourite artist Zanele Muholi.

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Zanele Muholi’s exhibition is the most powerful exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum right now, and I’m so happy that it’s a really big exhibition too. There are several rooms dedicated to her work, and there is so many! Her work is incredibly moving, powerful and important, so to see the museum dedicate so much room to her work is wonderful.

But who is Zanele Muholi? Muholi is a South African photographer and visual activist. Her mision is ‘to rewrite a black and queer trans visual history of South-Africa for the world to know of our resistance and existence at the height of hate crimes in SA and beyond.’ Guys, I’m ashamed to say that I had no idea what was going on in South Africa. Of course I know that there are still a lot of countries where people from the LGBTQIA+ community are treated horribly, but I’ve never heard anything about South Africa specifically, whether it’s on the news or on the internet, which means I never really thought about it. Which is horrible. We need to talk about this and spread awareness. Which is exactly what Muholi wants to do with her work. 

Muholi only photographs black people from the community, and in the case of her most recent series ‘Somnyama Ngonyama’ (Hail the Black Lioness), she photographs herself, capturing the multiple roles that she assumes as a black lesbian. By using a high-contrast of black and white tonal values, she exaggerates her skin tone to emhasize her ‘blackness’. 

I absolutely love every piece of work I’ve seen of hers so far, but one of my favourites is definitely ‘Bester’. There are four portraits with ‘Bester’ in the title, which pay homage to her mother, Bester Muholi, who worked as a maid in a white household for 42 years. In the portraits Muholi uses everyday objects that refer to domestic chores, such as scourers and clothespins, as accessories and in hairstyles. By doing so, she creates personas that celebrate hardworking and underpaid women. 

I also adore her series Brave Beauties. The majority of those who are portrayed are participants of Miss Gay beauty pageants in South Africa. The photos don’t only celebrate the body and individuality, but also the women and men brave enough to publicly take part in queer beauty pageants, thereby helping to raise awearness for the LGBTQIA+ community, despite endangering themselves in the process. The photographs are beautiful and inspiring. They’re such a joy to see.

Apart from her photos (and there are many more!), the museum also shows two documentaries. One is made by Muholi herself, the other by Human Right Watch in which Muholi talks about the violence and discrimination the South African LGBTQIA+ community faces and how she strives to give this community a face.

Muholi has documentated weddings and funerals in the LGBTQIA+ community in South Africa. The other documentary shows the wedding of Ayanda and Nhlanhla, a transgender man. With these documentaries Muholi wants to highlight the contradictions that while same-sex marriage is legal, lots of people are still raped and murdered because of her sexuality. 

I don’t know if these documentaries are always part of her exhibitions, but if you have the chance to watch them I’d definitely recommend them, though do keep in mind that they can be triggering. 

While the entire exhibition is incredibly powerful and moving, the end is just… I have no words. At the end of the exhibition, there’s an archive on the wall in which Muholi documented hate crimes faced by the LGBTI community between 2006 and now. It takes up pretty much the entire wall (though it’s on there in both Dutch and English, so it looks a bit bigger, but it’s still way too big). It’s heartbreaking and chilling to read and if I had been alone I definitely would’ve cried. It’s horrifying, but so so so important to know what’s happening in other countries. Zanele Muholi is an inspiration for keeping track of all the horrible things that happen in her country and not letting it get her down, for giving her community a face and fighting for her and the rest of her community in South Africa’s rights.

I’d definitely recommend to read up on and take a look at her work and go to an exhibition if you have the chance.

Oof that was hard to write. I have so many feelings for this woman, her work and this exhibition, that I didn’t know how to put it into words (thus why I’ve put off writing it so long). There’s so much more I want to say, but I just don’t know how. Have you seen her work in person? Any other important artists like her that I should know about? Let me know in the comments!

BewarenBewaren

The Artsy Hufflehoe: Pride Edition 🌈

The second Artsy Hufflehoe! Maybe this is finally a ‘monthly’ feature that I will actually do every month haha

Since it’s Pride, I had to make The Artsy Hufflehoe a Pride edition this month. I chose six artists because I didn’t want this post to get too long, six artists equals six colours in the rainbow flag and it’s not like I won’t share more LGBTQIA+ artists in future posts.

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Frida Kahlo – Bisexual

There’s a big chance you’ve heard of Frida Kahlo, but did you know she was bisexual? I sure didn’t! I only found out a little while ago as I researched her for a post on International Women’s Day (not for this blog, but for the Blikopeners Tumblr. You may know I work as a Blikopener at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Blikopeners are teens between 15 and 19 (unless like me you turn 20) who try to get other youth intersted in art, give tours, help with/organise workshops and events and some other cool stuff. So when you click on that link it will take you to our (Dutch) Tumblr)

I didn’t know much about her before that, though I did like the art that I had seen of her. After reading up on her I fell in love. She is such an icon: a feminist fighting against gender stereotypes (by smoking, boxing, winning tequila challenges from men and dressing as a man in family portraits) and racism and intolerance. She painted about themes like abortion, miscarriages, childbirth and breastfeading, which were often ignored or seen as taboo.

She was very open about her bisexuality, which was also seen in her work. Like her painting ‘Two Nudes in a Forest’, which shows two naked women, who are sitting next to each other on the ground. One of them is resting her head on the lap of the other. Frida gave the painting to her girlfriend Dolores del Rio.

Josephine Baker – Bisexual

image

Okay guys, I’m in LOVE with Josephine Baker. She’s such a badass?? She’s well known as a dancer, singer and actress, but you know what else she was? A spy during World War Two.

Baker had openly supported Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia, so the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy and Japan) thought she was ‘one of them’. Baker used this to her advantage. Naturally she brought sheet music with her when she went on tour in Europe, but on a lot of those sheets were hidden messages written in invisible ink. She could also smuggle lots of stuff, like pictures of German military installations pinned to her underwear, because her baggage was never thoroughly checked. Because of her work as a spy she became a lieutenant in the Free French Air Force. After the war she received the Croix de Guerre (which was the first time an American Woman received it) and the Medal of Resistance. Like Frida she also fought against racism.

Another fun fact: Frida and Josephine had a relationship

Cassils – gender non-conforming trans masculine (they, them, their)

When you want to recreate the rainbow flag but the yellow hurts your eyes rip I apologise to your eyes I am suffering with you

Seen as one of the ‘ten transgender artists changing the landscape of contemporary art’ by the Huffington Post, Cassils got international recognition by using the body as a form of social sculpture. With their body as a sculpture, they fight the gender binary. Their art offers shared experiences of violence, representation, struggle and survival, often accompanied by immediacy, urgency and the transience of live performance.

Cassils doesn’t portray transgender as ‘crossing from one sex to another’, but as a continual process of becoming. Inspired by conceptualism, feminism, body art, gay male aesthetics, Cassils creates a serie of powerful, trained bodies for different performantive purposes. With sweat, blood and muscle strenght, Cassils creates a visual critique surrounding ideologies and histories.

Basically I’d  recommend you all to take a look at their website, because their work is really cool and powerful. My favourite is 103 Shots, based on the Pulse Shooting. It’s very powerful and emotional.

Zanele Muholi – Lesbian

Look at that another artists I’m currently obsessed with – who am I kidding, I’m obsessed with all of the people on this list. Maybe a little bit more with Zanele because her exhibition at the Stedelijk will open soon and I can’t wait. My wallet is scared though because I NEED BOOKS ON HER.

Why you ask? Well I’m glad you asked *finger guns*

Zanele Muholi is a photographer and visual activist. Her mission is ‘to rewrite a black queer and trans visual history of South Africa for the world to know of our resistance and existence at the height of hate crimes in SA and beyond’.

In her photography she researches, documents and depicts the black LGBTQI identity of contemporary South Africa. In her most recent series ‘Somnyama Ngonyama’ (Hail the Black Lioness) Muholi herself is pictured capturing the multiple roles that she assumes as a black lesbian woman. Through the high black-white contrasts in her pictures she emphasises her ‘blackness’ (the picture above is a part of this series).

If you happen to be in Amsterdam between July 8th and October 15th, you’ll be able to catch her exhibition at the Stedelijk. So grab that opportunity! (I know it sounds like I’m promoting the museum where I work but I promise I just want everyone to support Zanele’s work)

Mickalene Thomas – Lesbian

When you’re using your post you wrote for work for reference and find out you wrote Michalene instead of Mickalene rip I’m so sorry Mickalene 

Mickalene Thomas is an American feminist, filmmaker and artist. She explores ideas around beauty, race, sexuality, gender and feminity. In her work she shows that every body is beautiful. She is famous for her paintings depicting the sensuality of African-American women. She also depicts powerful (black) women such as her mother, celebrities and iconic art-historical figures, like Michelle Obama. This portrait is considered to be Michelle’s first solo portrait.

For some reason her site doesn’t work for me? I don’t know if that’s just my computer or if that’s the case for everyone, but you can also google her work which I obviously recommend. My favourite (probably? My favourites always change when it comes to art) is ‘Le déjeuner sur l’herbe: les trois femmes noires’, a photograph in which she recreated Manet’s ‘Le déjeuner sur l’herbe’

Amos Mac – Transgender

Amos Mac is a photographer who captures striking and playful images of gender non-conforming people, capturing their entire beings rather than solely their gender identities. His work is often colourful and abundant. Instead of examining transgender bodies or documenting transition, he wants to show the wholeness of his subjects.

I can’t pick a favourite, so just take a look at his website and look at all that beautiful photography. Seriously, all the series are worth it so I can’t choose. I was about to say ‘especially this series’ but um no I can’t choose. Sorry to disappoint, you’ll just have to look at all of them but it’s worth it I promise.

Amos also co-founded Original Plumbing, a magazine dedicated to trans male culture. It expanded to include apparel, events and accessories for the trans community and beyond.
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That’s it for now, but I will definitely share more in future posts. Now excuse me while I fangirl about all of these amazing artists and people

Any artists that you think I should know about? Let me know in the comments!

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The Artsy Hufflehoe: Nalini Malani and Immigration and the Oppression of Women

The first post (hopefully of many) of my new feature all about art! Today I’m going to talk about one of my favourite artists, Nalini Malani.

I had unfortunately never heard of Malani until an exhibition opened in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam called Transgressions. I was immediately hooked when I read that her work focused on issues like immigration and the opression of women, so naturally I had to check it out. And guys I was immediately in love.

But let’s talk about Malini herself first. She is one of India’s most important contemporary artists. Born in 1946 in Karachi, Pakistan, she had to flee a year after with her family during the separation  of India and Pakistan. Till this day you can see this reflect in her work.

She was trained as a classical artist in Bombay, but when in the ’90s religious fundamentalism started to gain ground she changed her style and medium. She criticised these changes by working  with different mediums that were new for India, like her wall drawing/erasure-perfomances, experimental theater and video/shadow play.

As I said her work focuses on immigration and the opression of women, but also globalisation, poverty and many more. She often combines these themes with motives from classic literature and mythology.

Basically she’s awesome and I love her and I want all the books Stedelijk has on her but

I mentioned Malani’s wall drawings/erasure-performances. She made a drawing in the Stedelijk as well, at the beginning of the exhibition:

She made this a week before the opening. It criticises the current refugee crisis and combines that with her fascination for literary and mythological stories in which women play important roles. On the last day of the exhibition the drawing will disappear through an ‘Erasure Performance’.

My two favourite works of her at the exhibition are the installation Transgressions and the video ‘In Search of Vanished Blood’.

Stills of ‘In Search of Vanished Blood’

TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE

‘In Search of Vanished Blood’ is an incredibly powerful and emotional video in which you’ll hear the inner voice of a woman who has been brutally raped by a group of men (you don’t hear the actual rape). It’s inspired by the book ‘Cassandra: A Novel and Four Essays’ by Christa Wolf and the poem ‘In Search of Vanished Blood’ by the Pakistani leftist intellectual and revolutionary poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz. The video is about a collapsing society for which Cassandra offers a humane escape, if we would only listen and learn from past tragedies. Instead of the standard world map, Malani used a world map with the USA in the middle as a backdrop.

Honestly I felt like crying while watching this video (if I had been on my own I probably would’ve). It is so powerful.

The other work is Transgressions, which is the heart of the exhibition. It’s a beautiful installation that can’t be captured in pictures. And not just because of the projected images changing and the audio.

There is so much to see that you just can’t stop looking. It also felt very hypnotising, with the combination of  the turning of the cylinders and the voices of the woman and the girl who are constantly on repeat.

The installation covers the past and current situation of India, the trauma of colonisation and the beginning of globalisation. Seriously, it’s such a impactful work. I really recommend seeing it for yourself if you have the chance.

If you’re in Amsterdam somewhere between now and June 18th, you can still see the exhbition at the Stedelijk Museum. I couldn’t find out where the exhibition is headed afterwards, but I really recommend keeping an eye out for it!

Are you familiar with Nalini Malani’s work? Have you seen it? What did  you think? Who are some of your favourite artists? Let me know in the comments!

Blogsterdam: Van Gogh Museum

Blogsterdam is supposed to be a monthly thing but alas, the blogger behind this blog is very forgetful. She does try to get one up every month though. She may have missed December, but not January! Anyway, Blogsterdam is a blogging series in which this forgetful blogger talks about her hometown Amsterdam, as the city is so much more than drugs, cheese and the Red Light District.


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I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it on here, but I’m a huge fan of Van Gogh. He’s my favourite artist, he inspires me and I get emotional seeing every piece of his work in real life. It doesn’t matter what it depicts. I can’t even explain it, I just do. So of course the Van Gogh Museum is my favourite museum in the city (closely followed by Rijksmuseum). It’s been a while since I visited, since I’ve been busy with school, but last weekend was the last chance to see the exposition Munch: Van Gogh. Of course it’s a bit too late for you to go see it, but I just took this opportunity to take some pictures for a Blogsterdam post. Because obviously the museum is worth it without the exposition.

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The exposition was amazing though! It was really interesting to see all the parallels between Van Gogh and Munch and of course it was amazing to see some of Munch’s work in real life and not just in a book. I wish I could’ve gone earlier so that I could’ve told you guys about it in advance, but sadly I just didn’t have the time/energy before that! (okay technically I didn’t have time last weekend either because of my exams, but it was my last chance, plus I don’t study that well during the evening anyway, so I had to go). It was a successful exhibition though, so who knows, maybe it will return one day!

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On this screen they showed different paintings, as you can see in the picture it was just about to change! My mom and I tried to take a selfie with it as our background but…

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As you can see I got a good one when my mom was out of the picture haha.

At the end of the evening of course we did some shopping! My mom bought the pencil case and a small painting from Munch (a replica, obviously haha) and the book is mine (surprise surprise). The title is ‘The Art of the Word: His Most Beautiful Letters’. It contains 265 of Van Gogh’s letters and I can’t wait to delve into it!

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Reasons to visit the Van Gogh Museum:

  • It has the biggest Van Gogh collection
  • Not just his art work, but also letters
  • It may not have all of his famous work (I’m forever pissed that Starry Night is at New York), but it does have most of his famous work
  • It doesn’t only have Van Gogh’s work; it also has paintings of Van Gogh’s friends, artists he looked up too and French artists that lived during the same time period like Gauguin, Monet, Manet, Delacroix and Millet (and more!)
  • The staff is friendly
  • The general atmosphere is nice
  • At Fridays they’re open until 10 PM – they play nice music and on some Fridays (once every month I believe?) there’s an event
  • The shop has a lot of great stuff
  • It’s Van Gogh
  • If you love Van Gogh, do you really need a list of reasons?

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Some advice:

  • Order your tickets online through the website. You might still have to stand in line to show your ticket, but you won’t have to stand in line at the register!
  • Friday evenings are a really nice time to visit the museum. It’s not that busy as usual. According to the website anytime after 3 PM is less busy though. But on Friday night they also play music, you can get something to drink and there’s sometimes an event like I said above!
  • Grab a map. We got a bit lost since we hadn’t visited since the new entrance had been built (they now have two buildings instead of one)
  • You are not allowed to take pictures. Usually the staff is really nice and kindly points it out to you, but obviously I don’t know the entire staff. I have some bad experience with museum guards in Rome though, so here’s a warning to you guys haha (seriously they basically attack you in Rome like oh my god I’m sorry don’t kill me I just wanted a picture I didn’t want to destroy it)

So if you’re going to Amsterdam and love art, I definitely recommend the Van Gogh Museum! Especially if you love Van Gogh of course ;) If you have any more questions, feel free to ask! Obviously I’m not an expert, but I’m happy to try and help!

Have you been to the Van Gogh Museum? Do you want to go? Are you a fan of Van Gogh’s? Or maybe of Munch’s? Let me know in the comments!

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