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Madrid: the females of the flamenco world

According to euronews, "Women have often been the inspiration or driving force behind flamenco, yet over the years they have been relegated to second place." Flamenco is a style of Spanish music and dance traced to the Andalusion gypsies, though today the genre is also influenced by musicians from Latin America. The article on euronews ("The feminine side of flamenco") focuses on three female flamenco performers participating in Ellas Crean ("Women Create"), a flamenco festival in Madrid devoted to females of the genre.

Rocío Márquez, nicknamed the "the Southern Star" due to her impressive flamenco voice
photo via esmadrid.com

"I think regarding the world of flamenco the situation is changing.... the percentage of women winners is certainly increasing," observes Rocío Márquez.

Esperanza Fernández
photo via tristeyazul.com

Esperanza Fernández, an accomplished flamenco singer and dancer, expands on the changes in the flamenco world: "Women were always relegated in the largely male world of flamenco. Although Pastora, one of the greatest flamenco singers, has helped us overcome this discrimination. Thanks to her, many of us have been able to continue singing and have achieved recognition in this universe of flamenco."

Marina Heredia
photo via deflamenco.com

Another flamenco singer, Marina Heredia, agrees with Márquez and Fernández, and can observe the changes in times by comparing her flamenco career with that of her grandmother's. "Flamenco has moved parallel with society because at a time it was dominated by men," she notes. "But with the evolution of society itself, women started to be taken seriously in flamenco. My father was a flamenco singer and so was my grandmother, but she was forced to give up her career and go home. It was not done for a woman to dedicate her life to flamenco in her time."

The Ellas Crean festival started in February and will continue through April 4th, 2010. You can learn more information on their website >>

For more artist-specific information:
Rocío Márquez: rociomarquez.com
Marina Heredia: marinaheredia.com

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Persia, NYC: The performance art of Amir Baradaran Rahmani

The topic of today: exchange.

We previously introduced the paintings of Amir Baradaran (if you missed it, read it here)

But yes. We were holding out. In addition to being an accomplished painter, Baradaran recently completed a work of performance art entitled The Other Artist is Present. Completed in four acts and performed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMa), this body of work is in response to the current performance art exhibit of Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present. Her exhibit involves a performance retrospective including approximately fifty works spanning her entire career and 25 performance artists to recreate them. Her new work in the exhibit is performed by Abramović herself: seated at a table with two chairs, donning a long, simple, navy gown, she sits quietly and engages seated viewers only with her eyes; no words.

With respect for Abramović and perhaps a desire to play with her concept, Baradaran challenges her silence during his four act performance. We love how he proposes marriage and then interprets her silence with Persian symbolism:

According to Baradaran's website:

Baradaran accepts her invitation as an impassioned fellow artist looking to engage her in a ‘sohbat’ – a Persian term for a conversation with a spiritual (and also corporeal) dimension. Meticulously responding to concepts and imagery developed by Abramović, he adds his own layers of interpretation to pay homage to a pioneer of performance art. Baradaran’s creative implementation of his own cultural background and interest in ‘hyphenated’ cultural identity inform his performance. Baradaran’s performance speaks to the notions of ‘timelessness,’(dis)continuity and consciousness central to Abramović’s work while illuminating issues such as authorship and authority.

To view the rest of his performance (and in higher quality videos), check out Baradaran's website >>

Artist one: Marina Abramović; Artist two: Amir Baradaran; Artist three: enter Farrah Sarafa. In response to Badaran's work, she composed a poem. Not proposing marriage to Baradaran, no. But beautiful nonetheless. You can read it in our Writing section >>

"The Other Artist is Present" and "The Artist is Present"
at MoMa

11 West 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019
(1) 212.708.9400
hours >>

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Tehran to Montreal: the paintings of Amir Baradaran Rahmani

Authenticity is a key word here on Border Hopping. But what excites us even more is the blending of place and culture. Some may argue that the crossover of cultures and races will ultimately homogenize the human species and eliminate the majority of its mosaic-like richness; we, perhaps, are idealists, believing that the exchange of ideas can only lead to unanticipated wonders and progression.

Take, for example, Amir Baradaran. Born in Tehran, raised in Montreal, and now living in NYC, he uses a modernist approach to explore his familial culture's traditions. Inspired by ancient Persian poetry, his 2007 Poetic Quarrels does more than blend cultures; it overlaps time itself.

View the Montreal art exhibit:

Select works:

Read more about these works on Baradaran's website >>

[images © Amir Baradaran]

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The photography of Sharyn Cairns

You can read a fantastic interview with Cairns by Felicia Shelton on This Time Now >>

Color. Design. Art. Beauty.

View more on her website >>

[ images © Sharyn Cairns ]

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India: the photography of Erika Saito

Touring throughout India (Agra, Ahmedabad, Johdpur, Srinigal, Grumark, Jammu, Kashmir, Mumbai and Dharamsala), Erika Saito, a Tokyo native, saw many faces. Be they old man, flower man, young child, mountain or teacup...

We have enjoyed her work immensely. Thank you, Erika, for your fantastic contribution to our archive. View more of her work in our India gallery >>

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