Currently, in The Netherlands, it’s the time of the national festival of St Nicholas. It’s a very old and populair Dutch tradition. Already since more then 500 years St Nicholas is celebrated as a family festivity with focus on the joy of the children. St Nicholas is a wise old saint who is a friend of everyone, especially of the children. He has a team of cheerful servants, they’re called Black Pete. It’s very possible that, people from far outside the Netherlands, have already heard of them because that’s where things start to be weird… Black Pete is generally played by a white person with a black painted face, red painted lips, topped with a black curly wig. Yes this basically blackface make-up, and gives the racist impression of expressing a caricature of a black person.
Even though it might be hard to understand for people outside the Netherlands, but St Nicholas festival is not meant to be racist. All Dutch people love Black Pete and the children see them as their great friend. Yet, in stark contrast with the overall joy of the folkloric tradition, the Black Pete persona brings a lot of controversy and debate in the country. Watch this video for more insights.
The supporters of Black Pete, who don’t see the figure as racist, want to honour the Dutch folkloric festival the way it is. For them, Black Pete is an important part of Dutch culture and needs to be honoured. In the contrary, you have people that feel hurt and offended by Black Pete. They find it a racist figure with obvious connotations with the Dutch slave trade. The Black Pete opponents want to keep celebrating St Nicholas but with an updated version of Black Pete, free from its racist features.
Protest voices, especially from Dutch people with a Surinam and Antillean background, raised in the early 80s. Despite their request for a more respectful ‘Pete’, not much changed. Understandably, since the last couple of years the presence and loudness of the anti-Black-Pete voice is increasing. We as a half Dutch artist duo, believe that the wish to update Black Pete is very rightful, better said… crucial. To be frank, we’re ashamed for the Black Pete figure as a representative of Dutch culture.
To celebrate positive change, and to exprebs the excitement that new choices and new customs can bring, we made some sketch collages of contemporary Dream Pete’s. With this blog post we want to express our position in the Black Pete debate (we actually really can’t believe that this debate is still going on!) and share our strong wish that Black Pete gets a gracious metamorphose that is joyous for everyone, and evidently not hurtful for people with a different background.
Happy Sint Nicholas celebration to ALL people of The Netherlands xxxx
Let’s talk sex. But not the omnipresent kind of sex that we’re getting bombarded with every day. Actually, in this column we would like to pledge that sex deserves even more of our attention then where it’s currently screaming for. Though, a different kind of attention, one with an introspective quality.
In our sexuality we express ourselves, our emotions, passions, secret fantasies, playfulness and our most intimate desires. You don’t need to be a freudian to recognize that many of our feelings and emotions about ourselves and our relationships are erotic at their core. Sex is one of our most interesting actions that we can play with. Unfortunately for many of us, despite or thanks to today’s hypersexual society, our erotic desires are expressed and satisfied at a very basic level. While sex can be a thrill that helps us dissolve our inhibitions and free us from psychological, spiritual and cultural blockades.
That’s the kind of sexual power we’re going to address in this column, this time especially written for ourselves and for our sisters. Today we, and our fellow Western women, have the freedom to express our sexuality very openly. Yet, it’s very obvious that there’s still a lot of work to do, a.o. think about the task of dismantling the millstone of the ultra close-minded, unrealistic female beauty ideal that is omnipresent in our lives.
But we want to address a more fun topic, a particular phenomena of female sexuality which is getting ignored in this sexual evolution: the wild, emotional messy and untamed female fountain that we all bare inside. Yes we want to address women’s potential to ejaculate repeatedly, without the loss of sexual performance or desire. This wonder almost doesn’t play any role in our collective sexual consciousness.
Why, in 2015, female fountains, a.k.a. squirting, are still a semi-mythical, controversial topic? After all, squirting is a natural option that far most of our female bodies are capable of. Though, many of us have not yet explored squirting or are skeptical about it. Some of us don’t even know it exists. Many of us regard squirting as a supreme male fantasy, an urban myth or as a fabrication by the porn industry.
Why female ejaculation, except of being one category amongst a jillion other porn categories, is being ignored in our sexy modern lives? While female fountains have been around for ever. Female fluids were getting honored in temples as sacred erotic waters. Our ancient female ancestors let their lotus nectar flow fiercely and us, modern emancipated women, collectively ‘forgot’ about our sprinkling powers.
In the West, phenomena must be hypothesized before they can be accepted, and female ejaculation still can’t be totally explained. Apparently women’s sexual anatomy still keeps many mysteries for modern science. Scientists still don’t agree where the hot liquid is coming from, hence the controversy. But since when quarrelling scientist have access to our erotic experiments between the sheets?
There must be something else stopping us to soak ourselves and our lovers in our hot lady juice. Why is squirting so controversial? Are untamed female fountains a bad fit to the current conformity of female stereotypes and sexiness?
During love making, is the media’s image of sex pre-occupying us, making us worry about our visual performance? Feelings of discomfort with our bodies block sexual energy. In popular culture, natural phenomenas like sweat and body hair are deleted. In real life, natural sweat, sounds and fluids can distract us and cause mental barriers to let our ejaculate flow.
Is it the current ambiance of our sex-driven popular culture where there is lots of sex but little emotion? Because female fountains are very emotional, they spring from a deep level of intimacy and an intense state of arousal. Intimacy with a complete surrender to pleasure, without inhibition, will stimulate a woman and push her over the wet edge. Openness for what may come, self confidence, long during stimulation, intense arousal and direct G-spot stimulation are the key elements for gooshy sex. Here you can find a guide to female ejaculation.
A note for the numerous modern lovers who are still mistaken female fountains with urine: Female ejaculate is not pee, it’s a fluid produced by the Skene’s gland. Some things take time to sink, centuries B.C., the ancient Greek scientists Hippocrates and Aristoteles, already revealed that female ejaculation is not urine. More of these clever facts about Female fountains you can find in the book written by squiring expert Deborah Sundah: ‘Female Ejaculation & The G-spot‘.
Since the beginning of the 80s, Sundahl taught many women how to ejaculate. In her sex bible she describes how women are traditionally not encouraged to let go, either emotionally nor physically. She states “to be able to release our juices we have to let our emotions flow in order to, physically and mentally, push ourself over the edge of ecstasy”. She believes learning how to ejaculate is liberating in any area of life.
Sundahl’s also describes the importance of the G-spot, as the physical center of women’s erotic desire. She stimulates her readers to become aware of this organ and, in all details, explains how to activate ones own G-spot.
“The G-spot is not about mind-blowing orgasms, though they are it’s luscious by-product. Rather, as we learned from sexologists, G-spot awakening is about discovering that one’s erotic body has infinite capacity to express emotions, love and intimacy. Learning the G-spot’s secrets is more about awareness than about technique, more about process than about goals, more about relaxation and nourishing oneself than adding another item to one’s to-do list.”
Female ejaculation should never become the next dogma imposed on women. Certainly women don’t need to squirt in order to have an amazing sex life. It’s something very personal and depending on your sexual flavor. Though, only already knowing that you bear an inner wet wild women who’s able to gush all over the place, is empowering. Or is gushing all over the place not lady like?
Dogmas and stereotypes kill passions. Happily we are growing as people, our culture is getting more and more open minded. Gladly the spectrum of sexuality and gender is opening. New gender roles are blurring the lines of whats considered to be feminine and masculine. Mainstreaming the feminine, strong, wild and messy ejaculations can be an affirmation of sexual liberation and gender equality. Breaking down the female ejaculation taboo is a splashing addition to achieve non-binary gender diversity.
No matter what our sex is, our biological characteristics have anyway much more in common than they are different. Yes ladies, and gentlemen, the addition of more fluidity in our sexuality will be good for all of our genderless souls.
We exhibited Scandal Aqua, our 2013 collection at the town hall of the 2nd arondissement of Paris, as part of Nuit Blanche. This collection is a visual scenario inspired by the latest political sex scandals, it expresses the mediatization and tabloidization of politics.
The town hall of Paris (la Mairie), with its political context and the church wall in its courtyard where the teenager girls were projected, was absolutely the best exhibition place for Scandal Aqua. You can find more information concerning the collection here.
This entry was written by Ecstatic Surface Design, Exhibition, Graphic design, Paris, Pinar&Viola, Political glam, Published, Surface Collection, Vernissage. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink., posted on October 17, 2013 at 11:09 am, filed under
Last but not least, a selection of the recent creative marriage equality profile pics with a P&V addition.
Rob Portman and Will Portman: Will Portman has become a national figure in the world of LGBT rights now that his dad, Sen. Rob Portman, has revealed his son’s sexuality and completely ditched his anti-gay marriage stance in order to fully support his son.
Dick Cheney and Mary Cheney: Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney is not only famous for his high-ranking job, but because he is the most prominent conservative with a gay child, his daughter, Mary. Mary, who has worked as an aide to her father and is now the vice president for consumer advocacy at AOL, is married to her longtime partner, Heather Poe.
Matt J. Salmon and Matt R. Salmon: In 2010, it was revealed that former conservative Arizona state Sen. Matt J. Salmon’s son, also named Matt, is gay. The younger Matt is now a Republican, like his father, and wants to make progressive changes to his political party.
Barry Goldwater and Ty Ross Goldwater: Former Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, who opposed gay rights on several occasions, also had a gay grandson, Ty Ross Goldwater, who came out publicly in 1994.
Alan Keyes and Maya Jeane Marcel-Keyes: Former Republican politician Alan Keyes’ youngest daughter, Maya Jeane Marcel-Keyes, came out to her parents in high school and her sexuality became public fodder during her father’s 2004 presidential campaign. Marcel-Keyes is now a staunch liberal and LGBT advocate and has even opposed her father’s policies.
Sonny Bono and Chaz Bono: Late Republican congressman and music icon Sonny Bono was the father of Chaz Bono, the daughter of Cher, who is also famous for being a transgender icon.
This post, images and text is taken by Rollingout
The scarf wants to expose the benefits of the alternatives for real fur in fashion by showing the beauty of the unnatural and the artifice. In order to symbolize the endless possibilities of artificial fur, we made the entire panthera family parade on a fashionable scarf. Blood drips of the anti fur campaigns are replaced by stains of rainbow colors ornamenting the panthers’ fur. The print displays an optical illusion of rounds that mimic a cut on the surface of the scarf. Utterly fake fur strains are peaking out of these graphical rounds; proud to be fake.
Bont voor Dieren (Fur for Animals) is a Dutch animal protection organization dedicated to the rights and protection of all fur-bearing animals. They campaign against the production and use of fur by raising public awareness on issues such as animal cruelty and welfare. Bont door Dieren supports Fur Free, an initiative by Jojanneke van der Veer and Femke Dekker. Fur Free organizes Fur Free shows, Fur Free exhibitions, publish Fur Free magazines and write Fur Free manifesto’s.
The Fur Free Scarf is part of the exhibition PROTEST!. Fur Free invited print- and graphic designers to come up with their very own iconic Fur Free protest poster. Participating designers are: Alex Kaséta, And Beyond, Antoine Peters, Bas Kosters, Bart de Baets, Experimental Jetset, Glamcult Studio, Hansje van Halem, Karen van de Kraats, Nicole Martens, Nieuw Jurk and Our Polite Society. The exhibition is on from January 21st till January 26th, all designs will be on view at De Slang, one of Amsterdam’s oldest squats on Spuistraat 199.
Photos of the opening by Mgr Madhatter:
Happy faces flaunting their fav Xmas gifts on Instagram:
The Master, the highly expected movie ‘loosely-based’ on Scientology by Paul Thomas Anderson, will be screening soon. We took this opportunity to remind ourselves of the Scientology’s well-calculated totalitarian identity which gives us the creeps.
«By lowering the endurance of a person, a group, or nation, and by constant degradation and defamation, it is possible to induce, thus, a state of shock which will receive adequately any command given.» — L. Ron Hubbard, “Brainwashing Manual”, p. 34.
In 1951, Hubbard introduced the electropsychometer (E-meter for short), a kind of galvanometer, as an auditing aid. Based on a design by Hubbard, the device is held by Scientologists to be a useful tool in detecting changes in a person’s state of mind.
The controversies involving the Church and its critics, some of them ongoing, include:
-Scientology’s disconnection policy, in which members are encouraged to cut off all contact with friends or family members who are “antagonistic” to Scientology.
-The death of a Scientologist Lisa McPherson while in the care of the Church. (Robert Minton sponsored the multi-million dollar law suit against Scientology for the death of McPherson. In May 2004, McPherson’s estate and the Church of Scientology reached a confidential settlement.)
-Criminal activities committed on behalf of the Church or directed by Church officials (Operation Snow White, Operation Freakout).
-Conflicting statements about L. Ron Hubbard’s life, in particular accounts of Hubbard discussing his intent to start a religion for profit and of his service in the military.
-Scientology’s harassment and litigious actions against its critics encouraged by its Fair Game policy.
-Attempts to legally force search engines such as Google and Yahoo! to omit any webpages critical of Scientology from their search engines (and in Google’s case, AdSense), or at least the first few search pages.
-Allegations by former high-ranking Scientologists that David Miscavige beats and demoralizes staff and that physical violence by superiors towards staff working for them is a common occurrence in the church. Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis denied these claims and provided witnesses to rebut them.
-In October 2009, a French court found the Church of Scientology guilty of organized fraud. Four officers of the organization were fined and given suspended prison sentences of up to 2 years. The Church of Scientology said it would appeal the judgment. Prosecutors had hoped to achieve a ban of Scientology in France, but due to a temporary change in French law, which “made it impossible to dissolve a legal entity on the grounds of fraud”, no ban was pronounced. The sentence was confirmed by appeal court in February 2012.
-In November 2009, Australian Senator Nick Xenophon used a speech in Federal Parliament to allege that the Church of Scientology is a criminal organization. Based on letters from former followers of the religion, he said that there were “allegations of forced imprisonment, coerced abortions, and embezzlement of church funds, of physical violence and intimidation, blackmail and the widespread and deliberate abuse of information obtained by the organization”
A controversial part of the Scientology justice system is the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF). When a Sea Org member is accused of a violation, such as lying, sexual misconduct, dereliction of duty, or failure to comply with Church policy, a Committee of Evidence examines the case. If the charge is substantiated, the individual may accept expulsion from the Sea Org or participate in the RPF to become eligible to rejoin the Sea Org. The RPF involves a daily regimen of five hours of auditing or studying, eight hours of work, often physical labor, such as building renovation, and at least seven hours of sleep. Douglas E. Cowan and David G. Bromley state that scholars and observers have come to radically different conclusions about the RPF and whether it is “voluntary or coercive, therapeutic or punitive”.
«Rehabilitation Project Force, the cult’s internal gulag where bad people are sent for punishment or “rehabilitation”; a brain washing and penal organization.» — The ARS Acronym/Terminology FAQ v3.5 by Martin Hunt.
This entry was written by Dematerialization, Fashion, Glam Chaos, Information Wars, Other ecstatics, Political glam, Trending, Various, Visual ecstasy. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink., posted on November 16, 2012 at 10:36 am, filed under
Next Thursday, September 6th, our new Ecstatic Surface Collection 2013, Scandal Aqua will be launched at Pilevneli Project in Istanbul. Hereby two images from the collection and our portrait taken by the photographer of the gallery, Isik Kaya, together with our personal video invitation and the text written by the curator of Cobra Museum, Hilde de Bruijn.
We hope to see you with us at 7pm at Pilevneli Project.
Ecstatic Surface Collection 2013
Thrill Seekers Leaked
Collection 2013 is the third Ecstatic Surface Design Collection by Amsterdam-based graphic design duo Pinar&Viola. Their collections are non-commissioned, autonomous projects based on current events in politics, culture and economy, encapsulating the beauty and horror of the contemporary. As the recurring term ‘Ecstatic Surface Design’ indicates, the collections (like Pinar&Viola’s other work) are strongly focused on the aestheticized and commercialized designed surfaces that surround us, and with their design they seek to investigate the latent violence, the power structures, behind these surfaces. In their own words, the 2011 Collection for instance staged oversized credit cards as “toxic pieces of plastic, shown as an all-encompassing metaphor for shattered dreams, disappointment, the changing notion of value and the mutating concept of ‘credit’”.
The 2012 collection consisted of images that belong to “the secret collection of the fictitious persona Scarf_whiz80. Snapshots, carefully manipulated pictures and skilful photomontages, all portraying veiled divas built a critique on societal norms of gender, race, religion and sexuality, including destructions of stereotypes and ideologies.”
The bath towels of the 2013 Collection are lavishly decorated with an overload of symbols, icons, and gadgets taken from popular and vernacular culture. Let me list some of Pinar&Viola’s main ingredients for this project:
Think pop star posters. Think Justin Bieber towels gone wrong. Think Tumblr.
Think Twitter. Think teen girls experiments with blingees.
Think webcam chats. Think Wikileaks. Think sexting.
And now we’re at it anyway: think Berlusconi, and the man whose name was mentioned so often in the press that we now, with an oddly intimate ring to it, refer to him as DSK. Two men whose sexual scandals are too well-known to be repeated here. Think the image of Democratic Congresman David Wu, dressed in a tiger suit with his hands in the air to a female aide. (Wu resigned after being accused of having an ‘unwanted sexual encounter’ with the teenage daughter of a friend.) And last but not least think of Congresman Chris Lee, who photographed himself shirtless in a bathroom mirror and sent the pictures to a woman he supposedly contacted on Craigslist.
The towels directly speak to our senses. In fact, at first, their pink-purplish backgrounds might even have a slightly nauseating effect. On top of that, the abundant amount of kittens, icons from Blackberry’s love theme, blingbling items, and other kitschy elements seem to have little to do with the frame of reference of the average grownup. And personally, I even felt a bit revolted by the idea of pressing the image of that overly self-aware looking, slick middle-aged man with fake smile who is at the heart of each towel’s composition, to my freshly showered body.
Clearly, the intended users of these towels must be the wet-haired teenage Tumblr generation girls, who’s photographs, taken with their smart phones in the private space of their bath rooms, are part of the Collection too. But then what is the relationship between the girls, each wrapped in one of the towels, and this man? There is a photograph of him in his bathroom too, at odds with the carefully controlled image he is presenting with the towels. In the photograph, he is wearing his own personal towel with a distorted pin-stripe pattern, and hashtag sign followed by the word charisma – as if to stress his popularity. Are the girls, all wearing the same necklace with hashtag medallion, admirers or maybe courtesans of this man? Well, possibly, as in the 2013 Collection “dubious moral standards ornament teenage dreams,”
as Pinar&Viola state themselves.
Yet, the pink-purplish towels keep drawing my attention, pulling me off and keeping me hypnotised at the same time. They raise my curiosity, not despite, but because they seem to present an impossible constellation of things which I would like to discuss in more detail. Instead of Justin Bieber, these towels feature our before-mentioned photo-shopped character. It would be safe now to presume that he is a fictitious politician, who upon further inspection is of course also wearing a wedding ring. He finds himself in five different, carefully designed settings, one for each towel: Domestic Affairs, Global Affairs, Sustainable Affairs, International Affairs, and Urban Affairs. In this parody realm, symbols, icons, gadgets, and decorations which would normally together make no particular sense, attain a coherent, symbolic meaning and become embedded in the suggestion of a narrative, a scandal even. Let’s get into detail with one example only, the Domestic Affairs towel:
This particular towel was highly inspired by the Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal. U.S. Congresman Weiner not only send x-rated self-portraits via Twitter but also a picture of kittens accompanied by a suggestive message along the lines of “me playing with kittens”. On the background of Weiner’s picture, a photograph of the presidential family was visible. So upon further investigation, the combination of pictures of cute kittens, empty photo frames (an indication of the empty rhetoric of a happy family life), a webcam and a ‘home’ button in the Domestic Affairs towel suddenly makes perfect twisted sense. We could also further speculate now about the threesome of a ‘home’ button, the password icon, lock and key, and the inclusion of a PC and webcam in this towel – they seem to send a warning message, and tell us that our homes, where we fulfil our need for privacy and recuperate, are not as impenetrable as we like to think. The PC and webcam do not only provide us a window to the world, it brings the world in as well. It is probably no coincidence that in the Domestic Affairs the curtains are open, and the weather outside looks grim.
The Domestic Affairs towel is exemplary for Pinar&Viola’s love for the vernacular, and what they call contemporary digital folk art, as well as for the entire 2013 Collection which is inspired by the political sex scandals that were all over the news last year – although most towels are generally inspired by these and do not illustrate specific examples. With their ‘junk’ ingredients, Pinar&Viola managed to cook-up a nourishing haute cuisine which speaks of politics, media, and strategies of manipulation and diversion, and makes us chew on the question what it actually is that the media are offering us. Are we being occupied with sex scandals instead of the information we really need in order to build well-informed opinions and make decisions as responsible, self-empowered individuals? And if so, is this type of distraction all we really want? Or, alternatively, if politicians and other powerful figures get caught in a sex scandal, shouldn’t we be treating this as serious item generating further research into the dynamics behind power structures, gender roles and class divisions? Or, when it comes to the media involved, shouldn’t we be speaking about the role of social media in the self-image of teenagers, or about the penetration of the public sphere into the private lives of people?
TO CONQUER A VACUUM
Just like Pinar&Viola’s previous two collections this collection pushes the boundaries of graphic design, though not only for its autonomous character, its rich iconography, or the quite overt political message about the mediatisation and spectacularisation of politics.
At the basis of the duo’s aesthetic language lies a philosophical approach that leads to a radical working method, and to designs that are so hyper-detailed and densely pixelated that they gain an almost tactile quality. Pinar&Viola’s ecstatic surface designs in fact testify of a great digital craftsmanship, traditionally relegated to the domestic and feminine sphere of labour, and involving a time-consuming work process that goes against the standardization and democratization of design and it’s software (in which there is no room for ‘hand-crafted’ originality).
What is interesting, is how Pinar&Viola’s strategy of creating incredibly dense surfaces is a balancing act between irony and love, between their critique of populist rhetoric with acknowledgement and acceptance of our irrational desires and needs. In their practice our need for ornamentation for instance, becomes a means through which they reveal the inherent, essential qualities of a subject. It becomes impossible to distinguish form and content, surface and depth, as Pinar&Viola are well aware of, when stating that “decoration is a means by which the inherent essential qualities of a subject are revealed. Decoration is a functional and autonomous facet in our practice, existing as stylistic elements and as a subject matter at the same time.”
Pinar&Viola’s surfaces are in fact so densely ornamented that the classic art historical term ‘horror vacui’ (Latin for ‘fear of empty space’) springs to mind, which means the filling of the entire surface of a space or an artwork with detail. The classic idea is that empty or unfilled spaces are unnatural, that they go against the laws of nature and physics and that hence we feel the need to fill these spaces. Pinar&Viola take the notion of horror vacui ad absurdum; in our visually saturated environment they manage to be even louder – something I would actually not have thought possible. This is horror vacui for the affluent and well-educated consumer, Pinar&Viola’s response to the overload of information that we are surrounded with. Maybe our desire to ‘decorate’ is not caused by fear of empty space but by “a desire to adapt a vacuum, to conquer it, to mark it with one’s presence, (…),” as this is exactly what cultivators and constructors Pinar&Viola seem to do. Moreover, their rich iconography and horror vacui strategy not only conquers white, ‘unfilled’ space on a surface but also conquers empty space in a metaphorical sense: empty (political) rhetoric, superficial journalism, and information that by its sheer abundance becomes meaningless.
Hilde de Bruijn
Amsterdam, August 2012
i All Pinar&viola citations come from email and skype conversations that we had between June 2012 and August 2012
ii See note ii
iii Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social networking website. The service allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog, named a “tumblelog”. The service is most popular with the teen and college-aged user segments with half of Tumblr’s visitor base being under the age of 25.
iv Animated pictures created using the Blingee free online photo editor which provides its users with a hotchpotch of “favorite topics from celebrities to anime, emo, goth, fantasy, vintage, and more!”
v The act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between mobile phones
vi See note i
vii As suggested by Asger Jorn in Against Functionalism, 1. Talk at the International Congress of Industrial Design (10th Triennale of Industrial Art, Milan), 1954. The text can be found online, for instance here: http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/asger-jorn/functionalism.htm
This entry was written by Art, Decadence, Dematerialization, Digitalization, Ecstatic Surface Design, Exhibition, Glam Chaos, Graphic design, Pinar&Viola, Political glam, Published, Vernissage, Video, Visual ecstasy. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink., posted on August 30, 2012 at 7:38 am, filed under
Shamsia Hassani and her friend and fellow artist Qasem Foushanji are Afghanistan’s first street artists who use graffiti to chronicle violence and oppression.
The female-male duo surreptitiously spray-paint the crumbling and dilapidated walls of buildings in the capital Kabul, abandoned and destroyed during 30 years of war that still rages today.
Talking of her woman on the steps, Shamsia Hassani, 24, said: “She is wondering if she can get up, or if she will fall down. Women in Afghanistan need to be careful with every step they take.”
The austere rule of the Taliban frowned upon painting and banned images depicting peoples’ faces, saying it was un-Islamic. They banned cinema, music and theatre outright.
Both Hassani and Foushanji said that stigma translates into harassment and disapproval from government officials. And like graffiti artists in other countries, they face attempts to stop them spray-painting public buildings.
A Kazakhstan senator was shocked to discover his face painted onto a Cathedral fresco depicting men welcoming Jesus to Jerusalem. Sergey Kulagin was touring a new cathedral in Rudniy, in northwest Kazakhstan, near the Russian border, where until earlier this month he had been governor.
The centrepiece of the new cathedral’s interior was a large fresco on the dome depicting a group of robed and bearded men with Jesus.
But standing at the back of this crowd, clean shaven and jowly, was Mr Kulagin.
The fresco shows Mr Kulagin standing passively and wearing a pink robe with a blue sash. In front of him several men earnestly welcome Jesus, who is riding on a donkey. Behind Jesus are the 12 apostles.
The senator described the painting as “a sacrilege”.