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: 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!

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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!