Showing posts with label France. Show all posts
Showing posts with label France. Show all posts

Sunday, January 11, 2015

New Yorker Cartoonist: Revenge of the Pen

Charlie hebdo deaths2A poignant illustration and comment from cartoonist Liza Donnelly, forwarded to me: "My heart goes out to the families of the cartoonist and others who were killed in the senseless violence at the offices of Charlie Hebdo. Cartoons are incredibly powerful, and it is the responsibility of the cartoonist to use her power for good. The cartoonists who were killed did just that in their own way; it is a provocative way, but that is their right.  I mourn the loss of these cartoonists as champions of freedom of expression.  My solution to revenge their killing is to draw for peace at every opportunity."

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Turkey: Genocide Was In Algeria

French lawmakers have drafted a law that would make it illegal to deny that it was genocide when Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks in 1915.

Turkey cut diplomatic ties with France, Turks are protesting and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded with, "Approximately 15% of the population of Algeria have been subjected to a massacre by the French starting in 1945. This is genocide." Erdogan called the bill "politics based on racism, discrimination and xenophobia," according to the two-paragraph story in the Chicago Tribune.

Well, Merry Christmas. All I know is that racism, discrimination and xenophobia brought way too many of our forebears to America.

The BBC states that Ankara says close to 300,000 Armenians died in 1915-1916, while Armenians put the number at up to 1.5 million. The New York Times' reporter in Istanbul writes, "Turkey acknowledges atrocities without any specific death toll, but says that they did not constitute systematic genocide."

The Times piece notes that Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel-winning fiction author from Turkey, recently was fined about $3,700, for telling a Swiss newspaper that "we have killed 30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lacroix & Empress Theodora

Theodora blesses Lacroix. Credit: Elle Decor 10/2011
Designer Christian Lacroix has been enamored with Byzantine mosaics since his childhood. That would seem obscure for someone from Arles, France, except that his great grandparents dug up Greco-Roman tiles under their house there, according to an article in October's Elle Decor.

The famous mosaics of Empress Theodora & Emperor Justinian are among the richly-colored artworks in Ravenna, Italy where Lacroix not so coincidentally has partnered with a company to produce a new furniture line.

I love Lacroix's now-discontinued Follement china pattern for Christofle - especially since I fell in love with it when the euro traded at 85 cents to the dollar. Not sure I'd want the Theodora Chair.
Theodora mosaic, Church of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy

But Theodora's character certainly would bring good vibes to a house. The article says she was "the daughter of a bear trainer ... renowned for her beauty and wit, as well as her expertise as a courtesan, and reportedly suppressed revolts, exposed political corruption, and expanded women's rights in her day."

The name Theodora means "God's gift" in Greek. The empress is recognized as a saint and is remembered on November 14. The church in Italy where she's depicted in mosaic was completed a year before her death -- and having seen it in person, I can vouch for how vivid the tiles remain - minerals baked into glass last.
Justinian and Theodora ruled from Constantinople, now Istanbul, Turkey. All this is one more reminder of how interconnected ethnic worlds were in the era of empires.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

French Seduction

Last night, I saw the French film "The Names of Love" at the Paris Theater. Ostensibly it's about a girl who converts fascists and racists to leftist causes via sex, only to see the flaws in seduction. But a bigger theme is heritage and identity. From YouTube, one of the film's best lines, "The day there is nothing but half breeds, there will be peace." In the film, the Holocaust and grandparents from Salonika are weaved in. (Papou wears a fez!) There were a few good lines about systemic tragedy ... asking what can we remember, what should we, and how do we communicate it? Choosing not to identify with being a victim, what do you remember? What should you remember?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chaos and Classicism

The rebirth of classicism in art between the world wars, exemplified by this Picasso portrait from a private collection, is the subect of a Guggenheim Museum exhibit through early January. Picasso painted this piece, "Buste de Femme, Les Bras Levees," in 1922, the year of the Greek exodus from Asia Minor. Yet there is no mention of the international castrophe in the timeline and history at the start of the exhibit, which focuses on Italy, France and Germany and includes many other artists. In the year of the Lausanne Treaty, 1923, Picasso said: "The art of the Greeks, of the Egyptians, of the great painters who lived in other times, is not an art of the past; perhaps it is more alive today than it ever was. Art does not evolve by itself, the ideas of people change, and with them their mode of expression."
* The New York Times exhibit review says, "Whether [Picasso] was celebrating classicism or mocking it is a little hard to tell."
* Also worth seeing online: Guggenheim's YouTube collaboration, YouTube Play: 100s of stylish, independent videos.