Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Floyd Favel

Floyd Favel is a Native Canadian actor, director, playwright, and current Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts (NEPA), the country's most prominent Native theatre company. 

Favel has brought an extensive résumé to the position. Trained at Denmark's Tukaq Theatre and at Centro per la Sperimentazione e la Ricera Teatrale in Italy, he recently served as director of the Native Theatre School and has numerous directing credits.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Olga Nawoja Tokarczuk

Olga Nawoja (1962) is a Polish writer, activist, and public intellectual. She is one of the most critically acclaimed and successful authors of her generation in Poland; in 2019, she was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature as the first Polish female prose writer for "a narrative imagination that with encyclopaedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life".

Tokarczuk is a leftist and a feminist. She has been criticized by some nationalist groups in Poland as unpatriotic, anti-Christian and a promoter of eco-terrorism. She has denied the allegations, has described herself as a "true patriot" and said that groups criticizing her are xenophobic and damage Poland's international reputation. A vocal critic of antisemitism in Poland, Tokarczuk has said that "There’s no Polish culture without Jewish culture." She has often denounced Poland for having "committed horrendous acts as colonizers, as a national majority that suppressed the minority [Jews], as slaveowners, and as the murderers of Jews." Her many public denunciations of Polish antisemitism have earned her animosity from some members of the Polish nationalist right.

Unfortunately, I didn't manage to find other pictures of Ms Tokarczuk than those at a very young age...

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Monsieur Barret

"In 1948, one night, I got up, I went to look for some dirt without knowing what I was doing and I started sculpting a church". 

Guided by what he believes to be the spirit of Michelangelo, Mr. Barret, a farmer in the south of France, has made clay sculptures in spite of himself: the basilica of Lourdes, Pope Pius XII, the yeti and even aliens. Mind-blowing!

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Benjamin Harjo Jr.

Benjamin Harjo Jr. (Absentee Shawnee/Seminole, 1945 –2023) was a Native American painter and printmaker based in Oklahoma.

The name Harjo means "crazy" in the Muskogee language, which was spoken by both the Muscogee and the Seminole. The word is part of a military title, Chitto Harjo, meaning "crazy snake".

Harjo's first passion was drawing comics, and he sold comics to his high school newspaper. Later, Harjo typically painted geometric forms composed of blocks of highly saturated colour that form both abstract and highly stylized representational figures. The mosaic nature of his painting is reminiscent of Seminole patchwork clothing. He also worked in pen and ink, allowing his comic influences to show through. Through printmaking, Harjo was able to experiment with texture and subtler palettes. His work is known for its humour, either in comical imagery or in witty titles.

His smallest miniature paintings were not much larger than postage stamp but still featured highly detailed portraits. Harjo's chosen media was gouache on paper, but he also used oil, acrylic, watercolor, conté crayons, pencil, pen and ink, pastel, printmaking, and occasionally sculpture.

Harjo said: "When you're traveling down the highway, you see an image whether it's dirt on the back of a truck or a splat on a windshield or two birds sitting by the side of the road picking at something. All those things have inspired me at some point in my creativity."

Friday, October 27, 2023

Donald Trent Jacobs

Donald Trent Jacobs, also known as "Wahinkpe Topa," a Lakota term translating as Four Arrows, (born 1946) is an American college professor, writer and activist for American Indian rights whose work has focused on Indigenous worldviews, wellness and counter-hegemonic education. He lives in Mexico.

Jacobs self-identifies as Cherokee, Irish and possibly [Creek] based on family stories. He is a faculty member in the School of Educational Leadership for Change at Fielding Graduate University.

He was formerly a tenured associate professor at Northern Arizona University and prior to that Dean of Education at Oglala Lakota College on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. In 2014 he was put on the International Fulbright Scholars list. In 2004 he received the Moral Courage Award from the Martin Springer Institute at Northern Arizona University for his activism.

In 2009, the American Education Resource Organization selected him as one of "27 visionaries in education" for their text, Turning Points.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Père Dudu

“I have an affinity for wood. Even on Sunday, even if it rains, every day I'm here! It's kind of my life" 

In 1978, Pierre Bonte met a talented amateur cabinetmaker, Mr. Duhamel, known as "Father Dudu".

Wednesday, October 25, 2023


Popeye’s real name was Frank "Rocky" Fiegel. He was born in 1868, in Poland and, as a child, immigrated to the US with his parents, who settled down in a small town in Illinois.

As a young man, Rocky went to sea. After a 20-year career as a sailor in the Merchant Marines, Fiegel retired. He was later hired by Wiebusch's Tavern in the city of Chester, Illinois as a ‘Bouncer’ to maintain order in the rowdy bar. Rocky quickly developed a reputation for always being involved in fighting (and usually winning). As a result, he had a deformed eye ("Pop-eye").

He always wore a sailor's beret and also smoked his pipe, so he always spoke out of one side of his mouth. In his spare time as a bouncer, Rocky would entertain the customers by regaling them with exciting stories of adventures he claimed to have had over his career as a sailor crossing the ‘Seven Seas.’ The creator of Popeye, Elzie Crisler Segar, grew up in Chester and, as a young man, met Rocky at the tavern and would sit for hours listening to the old sailor’s amazing ‘sea stories.’

Years later, Segar became a cartoonist and he honoured Fiegel by asking if he could model his new comic strip character, ‘Popeye the Sailor Man,’ after him. Fiegel was flattered and agreed.

Segar claimed that ‘Olive Oyl,’ along with other characters, was also loosely based on an actual person. She was Dora Paskel, owner of a small grocery store in Chester. She apparently actually looked much like the Olive Oyl character in his comics.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Monsieur Andreux - Hairdresser

Monsieur Andreux' hobby: styling people's hair at their home. 

His equipment: a clipper, scissors and a comb. His means of transport: a solex. 

In 1977, Mr. Andreux, 80 years old, told Pierre Bonte how his activity as a hairdresser came to him.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Oto Mádr

ThDr. Oto Mádr, dr. h. c. (1917 –2011) was a Czech Roman Catholic priest, theologian, university professor, long-time political prisoner, and the chief editor of Theological Texts.

Mádr was arrested in May 1951 and sentenced to life imprisonment for alleged espionage for the Vatican and organization of illegal religious activity.

After release on probation in 1966, he worked in various blue-collar jobs. He returned briefly in 1968 to the Charles University School of Theology and was fully rehabilitated in 1970 (his rehabilitation was cancelled in 1975 and renewed in 1990). He was sent away to a parish in the border areas in 1970 (Dolní Žandov near Cheb), and he returned to Prague only as a pensioner in 1978.

However, he did not retire from his theological work, and was one of the main organizers of the Catholic samizdat.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Philip Favel

Philip Favel (1922–2021) was a Canadian veteran and Indigenous activist.

Favel was born in 1922 in Sweetgrass First Nation. He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps in 1942 and participated in Operation Overlord. For his military service he was awarded the Defence Medal, the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, the Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the French National Order of the Legion of Honor.

After the war Favel advocated fair compensation for Indigenous veterans, who received discriminatory treatment compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts. He was named Grand Chief of the Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans Association.

In 2020 a portrait of Favel by Elaine Goble, titled Normandy Warrior, was unveiled at the Canadian War Museum.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Tehila Friedman

Tehila Na'ama Friedman (1976) is an Israeli lawyer and politician. She served as a member of the Knesset for the Blue and White alliance from 2020 to 2021.

Tehila Friedman is a Research Fellow of the Kogod Research Center at Shalom Hartman Institute and a program director for Shaharit, a think tank promoting a new social covenant in Israel.

She is the immediate past chair of Ne’emanei Torah va’Avodah, a modern Orthodox movement promoting pluralism and democracy, as well as a board member of the Yerushalmit Movement, a nonprofit for a pluralistic Jerusalem.

She lives in Jerusalem with her husband and five children.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Avoir 20 ans dans les Aurès (To Be Twenty in the Aures)

Avoir 20 ans dans les Aurès (To Be Twenty in the Aures) is a 1972 film by Ren Vautier.

A group of young pacifists from Brittany is taken to a camp destined to deserters. They end up by accepting the increasing violence with which they are trained, and become true killing machines. 

In April, 1961, they are moved to the Aurès mountains in Algeria where they face off against troops from the National Liberation Army. During the battle, the battalion captures a rebel fighter which they shall have to execute the next morning. Their most precious ideals are supposed to become overridden by sheer discipline.

To stay faithful to his pacifist values, Noël, will do something radical.

Ren Vautier: “I have always considered a camera as a weapon of testimony. But it is not a weapon that kills. On the contrary, it can be an instrument of peace. This is why I fought for fifty years for there to be dialogues of images, and all the films that I have made, I consider that they are dialogues of images. The director takes sides. He is committed to one side, but he also gives the floor to the people opposite."

Thursday, October 19, 2023

His Dark Materials

His Dark Materials is a trilogy of fantasy novels by Philip Pullman consisting of Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. It follows the coming of age of two children, Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, as they wander through a series of parallel universes.

The novels have won a number of awards, including the Carnegie Medal in 1995 for Northern Lights and the 2001 Whitbread Book of the Year for The Amber Spyglass. In 2003, the trilogy was ranked third on the BBC's The Big Read poll.

Although His Dark Materials has been marketed as young adult fiction, and the central characters are children, Pullman wrote with no target audience in mind. The fantasy elements include witches and armoured polar bears; the trilogy also alludes to concepts from physics, philosophy, and theology. 

It functions in part as a retelling and inversion of John Milton's epic Paradise Lost, with Pullman commending humanity for what Milton saw as its most tragic failing, original sin. The trilogy has attracted controversy for its criticism of religion.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

6th World Festival of Youth & Students

Two anthropomorphized globes (one female, with lipstick and a red beret over blonde hair, and one male, in a blue cap) shake hands and wink at one another on a postcard for the 6th World Festival of Youth and Students International Festival, held in Moscow and opened on July 28, 1957. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Chasseur Postcards

A collection of vintage postcards, depicting Chasseurs Alpins and Chasseurs à Piéd.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Hart im Nehmen

Hart im Nehmen (To Be Tough) is a 2000 German movie.

Claudia and Joe are unemployed. When they get the chance to take over a dilapidated canteen on a sports field in Vienna, they boldly grab it with both hands. 

They set to work with great enthusiasm and joy, but are repeatedly slowed down. Soon the bureaucracy and the bureaucrats and the acknowledgments and the approvals saw at their failing nerves. 

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Elizabeth Dearnley

Elizabeth Dearnley is a folklorist and artist working on engagement with public spaces.

After completing her PhD at the University of Cambridge (2011), she held a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at UCL (2012-15) exploring fairy tale evolution and collaborative storytelling. Since then, she has taught at UCL and Cambridge, produced arts and public engagement projects from Talking Statues(Opens in new window) to Journeys Through Print(Opens in new window), and toured immersive theatre installation Big Teeth.

Her first book, Translators and their Prologues in Medieval England, was published in 2016, and she is now writing her second book on how folktales shape attitudes about public space. At the Institute of English Studies, she is exploring women’s mapping of cities through diaries and life writing, based on her 2018 project The Flâneuse Diaries.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Mario Cancel-Bigay

Ethnomusicologist, singer-songwriter and poet, Mario Cancel-Bigay was born in Puerto Rico in 1982. 

He learned to play the Puerto Rican cuatro, the archipelago’s national guitar and in 2005, he earned a B.A. in Modern Languages (Portuguese and French) from the University of Puerto Rico. In 2021, he earned a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology in the Department of Music of Columbia University. His research revolves around anticolonialism, decoloniality and cross-cultural encounters as heard through Puerto Rican nueva canciónchanson québécoise and related sounds of resistance from Puerto Rico and Québec during the 1960s and 1970s. 

Currently, he is a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University where he teaches Contemporary Civilization. He is the proud father of a brilliant Puerto Rican-Haitian girl named Gabriela.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Willie Bester

Willie Bester (1956) is cited globally as one of South Africa's most important resistance artists. He incorporates recycled material into his paintings, assemblages and sculpture, creating powerful artworks that speak against political, social and economic injustice. For Willie, the personal is political, and being apolitical in South Africa is “a dangerous luxury that we cannot afford”.

Willie lives in Kuilsrivier in the Western Cape, and spends his time away from his studio scouring scrap yards sourcing material for use in his artworks.

His artworks are hard hitting and demand the full attention of the viewer.  These range from larger than life sized steel sculptures that weigh several tons to realistic oil and acrylic paintings framed in hand beaten and painted iron.

The shoes of missing children, the Swastika, symbols and representations of Apartheid South Africa and scenes of informal settlements that speak to poverty present themselves in Willie’s artworks to bear witness to the ills in our society.

Willie has participated in many solo and group exhibitions both locally and internationally and he is considered so important that he is part of the South African school curriculum.

He has won numerous awards including the Order of the Disa from the South African Government and was awarded with an honorary doctorate from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in 2019.