Tag Archives: Music

What is a Poet? – #14SecondPoem Movement

15 Mar

Poetry in Motion

competition poster

What is a Poet?

#14SecondPoem Competition

Think, Shoot, Contribute!

Answer the question above to take part and open up a global discussion about the role of a Poet in Society. 

On Twitter

1) Shoot a 14-second poetry film in Black and White (shot with a plain white or black background)

2) Upload it to Youtube.

3) Tweet us to enter the competition, including @NajmaHush and the hashtags #14SecondPoem #WhatisaPoet?

E.g.: Hey @NajmaHush, here’s my contribution to the #14SecondPoem for #WhatisaPoet?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obj_SyM7yS4 

On Instagram

1) Shoot a 14-second poetry film.

2) Upload it and tag us: @photogiraffelive, hashtag #WhatisaPoet? and  #14SecondPoem

E.g.: Hey @PhotoGiraffe,  here’s my contribution to the #14SecondPoem for #WhatisaPoet?

 

Rules

Submissions close at midnight on Wed 1st June 2016. All entries must be in by this time.

One entry per person.

We’ll announce the winner on Monday 6th June 2016.

What you’ll win

  • All entries will be contributing towards the ‘What is a Poet? Project, opening up a global debate, to provide a wider community of artists to get seen and heard.

 

  • 21 winners will be selected to be included in the short film, What is Poet?, to be exhibited at Poetry Festivals in the UK and abroad (locations and release dates to be announced soon).
What is a Poet? movie poster

What is a Poet? movie poster

What is a Poet? – A Film Dedicated to Poets

14 Mar

PhotoGiraffe Production are very pleased to announce the forth coming release of our debut short film.  Written in poetic verse, ‘What is a Poet?’  has been created to celebrate poetry as an inclusive form of art that is currently thriving with people rich in diversity, dedicated to sharing their experience with anyone human enough to contemplate, the bitter sweet complexities of life.

 

What is a Poet? - Film poster

What is a Poet? – Film poster

 

 ‘What is a Poet?’ seeks to highlight how poetry can be found in a variety of people, places, methods and practices; from musicians to painters and supermarkets to mountain tops.  This film has been created as a beacon of inspiration to remind all those who appreciate and create poetry, that what they do is a significant and powerful contribution towards the understanding of human nature and thus can affect the evolution of humankind.

Written, produced and directed by Najma Hush as a collaborative performance piece.  Starring Femi Abidogun, Glyn Phillips, Kate Walton, Leah Atherton and Marcia Calame, who have all contributed individually to the film by writing their own introduction, representing the large minority of a great number of Spoken Word Artists from the West Midlands, UK and sending out a message of love to all the poets around the world, this film is simply poetry in motion.

Read our questions and answers from Najma Hush about the film and learn more about the exciting news on how you can also contribute towards this on-going project to promote Poets and Poetry.

Behind the Scene: Najma Hush, Byrone Nicholson & Leah Atherton

Q & A with Najma Hush 

 

What was your inspiration for the film?

On National Poetry Day (Nov’2014), I couldn’t see the point of going out to celebrate, because at the time it seemed to me that the only people who went to poetry performance events were poets who wanted to perform their own poems and whom also made up the majority of the audience.  In this respect, I felt quite disillusioned by my role in society as a poet and wanted to explore why human beings wrote poetry and its function in arts and humanity.  Despite my more sombre mood at the time, the first draft of the poem was far more inspirational than I had anticipated and the idea to use the work as a collaborative piece was born.

 

How did the film get off the ground? What was the process of getting the film made?

After completing the final version of the poem, the driving force dependent on turning this script into a short film, was gaining the support of other poets whom I was already acquainted with and had either collaborated or worked alongside before, because although the film has been created to promote poets and poetry, effectively the script is a poem which has been written by a poet who is approaching other poets to memorise and recite her words, when they have their own which they would naturally prioritise.   Also, the film has been created on shoe string budget and therefore the performers were called to star in the film for the love of poetry alone, with an earnest promise to feast heartily upon my mother’s delicious home cooking whilst on the job.

 

 

Behind the Scene: Najma Hush, Byrone Nicholson & Marcia Calame

 

 How long was the shoot and where was it?

I was lucky enough to be affiliated with a young publishing house with their own art studio and art gallery (Mapseeker Publishing Ltd), where I was formally a poet in residence.  They kindly allowed me to use their space and I also hired locally upon occasion.  As the shooting of the film took 4 days to complete, it was spread out over the course of 4 months.  Initially having accumulated the support of 16 poets, near the end this number whittled down to 5 professional actors who were passionate about the cause and dedicated to the same vision despite their own busy schedules and various work commitments.

 

What have you learnt since completing your first short film and how will it help you to improve and make more? 

I learnt a lot about the preparation that goes into pre-production in order to co-ordinate and organise the shooting of a film.  And also about how a director must have precise vision for every single scene from start to finish, paying great attention to detail.  As well as how a good producer should execute every task in fine detail at the event of each shoot.   I am pleased to have learnt how to plan each shot using storyboards, just by making this very simple film.  I have also learnt the value of clearly communicating aims, objectives and roles with all parties involved, as well as the great importance of covering all legal issues with well documented agreements.

I loved directing the performances and coming from a background in dance and fashion photography, I found shooting film , very similar to photography only with equal attention to sound and movement, as well as the visuals.  I believe that this will help me create more cinematic poetry films which will improve the cinematography of any forthcoming poetography videos.  Up-till-date, my work has been more reliant on my photography and videography skills with an emphasis in the quality of the spoken word and therefore may be lacking cinematic attention.

The second biggest challenge and the largest asset I have gained whilst making this film, is sound and visual editing skills, prior to which I had little knowledge and learnt at a reasonable rate through practice, post production.  This has given me more confidence to consider making more dynamic and ambitious poetography films in the near future, which I am already passionate about creating.

 

Behind the Scene - Byrone Nicholson & Najma Hush

Behind the Scene – Byrone Nicholson & Najma Hush

 

Tell us about the soundtrack for this short film and the reasons behind your choice?

As there are two sections to this film, there are only two sound tracks, both of which are licensed under Creative Commons, Attribution (3.0).  For the first half, the music is an uplifting, contemporary piece called, SunBirds by CoCrew (http://ccmixter.org/  (2012)).  With its relaxing hip-hop beat, Sunbirds gives the introduction a modern, urban feel, separating it from the second half which features  Fredrick Chopin’s, Nocturnes no. 1 Op. 9 by Florence Robineau, (https://commons.wikimedia.org/ 2013)),  a  timeless classic,  picked in direct contrast to the introductory piece as I felt that the tone and texture of this composition complimented the emotional dynamics of the poem well.

Ever since I began to appreciate Chopin’s music I noted the varying intonations in his compositions imitating the phonetic aspects of human speech and after further research I was delighted to learn that Chopin was in fact, a sound poet who magnificently composed ‘verse without words’ in his arrangements.   Thereafter, my mind had been made up to use his work alone and set myself the challenge of listening to various playbacks of the film’s audio accompanied by his symphonies; in terms of its mood, I felt that Nocturnes no. 1 Op. 9 matched the verbal intonation of the poem best.  With its focus upon sound as much as visuals, simplicity has been the main prerogative of this film to draw emphasis on the richness of its discourse.

 

Where should we expect to see your short film?

‘ What is a Poet?’ will be screened at Literature and Poetry festivals all over the UK and similar festivals abroad with release dates to be announced soon.  I have also created an online #WhatisaPoet?  campaign, inviting poets from all around the world to contribute globally towards this film by submitting their own black and white short film a #14SecondPoem in response to the question ‘What is a Poet?’ This will expand the spirit of the whole project by giving poets a chance to think and respond to this question, opening up a global debate to provide a wider community of artists to get seen and heard.  In this way I anticipate the project will expand and the film will also progress as the best 21 clips from the campaign will be compiled to make an extra 5min feature to be screened as part of the short film (#WhatisaPoet?  #14secondpoem @Twitter, Instagram).

Think Shoot Contribute

#WhatisaPoet? #14Second Poem

 

As you may have already noted, this is a very interdependent project, with a communal objective, which has been and still is dependant upon other Poets taking part and would not have been possible without the people who have contributed towards the making of this film.  Here’s a bit more about the incredible Spoken Word Artists as well as members of the crew, who have already dedicated their time and effort – all for the love of Poetry with the same view to promote the Poet’s job as an important role within our society.

 

 About the Cast

 

Femi Abidogun Femi Abidogun (Poet, Performer):  A West Midlands-based poet and writer, who has two published collections of poetry –That Long Walk (2015) and Blonde Grass (2012) both originally published by Thynks Publications Ltd, Nottingham.  His writings have also been showcased in a number of anthologies and publications.

He has performed to a variety of audiences including literary events and festivals, as well as on radio.  He is a member of literary groups such as Writers Without Borders and The Poetry Society.

Apart from writing, he enjoys reading, travelling, music and sports.  Femi believes poetry is all about expression and as such, the opportunity presented by the production of “What is A Poet” was just one further great way to do just that.  He says he thoroughly enjoyed every minute of its filming which he describes as a “unique experience worthy of being proud of”.

 

Glyn PhillipsGlyn Phillips (Poet, Performer):  A Poet / Musician / Radio Presenter / DJ.  Surprisingly, Glyn Phillips only came out of his literary shell about two years ago after decades as a percussionist and DJ – and latterly a world music radio presenter. Tired of being ‘in the dark at the back of the band’, Glyn decided to finally get centre stage with his own joyful yet anarchic wordplay and exuberant yet meticulous wordsmithery. Glyn’s theatrical delivery and desire to engage an audience means that each performance is just that: a true performance!

Glyn works in a bewildering array of subjects and styles from heart-rending social observations and political rants to comic vignettes and whimsical tales. An acute social conscience, a love of words, an ear for sounds and an eye for the ridiculous has led him to produce poetry, songs and spoken word pieces that have taken audiences on a journey from emotionally painful recognition to raucous laughter in just one session.

Whatever you do, watch out for his ‘chap-hopping’ alter ego, Mr Armitage Spode, who is likely to jump up (at entirely inappropriate moments) and indulge himself in more ribald innuendo than you could squeeze into a burlesque dancer’s corset…

Glyn has written a 190 page book of poems, Still Life (2015), and a short story, The Tale of the Magic Soup Stone (2015), published by Food for Thought (2016).

 

Kate WaltonKate Walton (Poet, Performer)Performance poet, lyrical true life storyteller, workshop facilitator and StoryTramp, ‘One woman’s poetical mission’ to unravel the mysteries and create legends through the art of sharing stories and reconnecting with the people and poetics of life.

Slam winning poet and shortlisted by BASE as Outstanding Newcomer to Storytelling in 2013, Kate has enjoyed success with ‘I Am Blackbird’, her transformational one woman show and is currently working on her second solo show ready for 2017.

Taking inspiration from her own adventures and the people she meets along the way, Kate mixes light with shade to combine her well-crafted lines and natural performance style to engage with audiences and offer a gentle reflection through her journey of life.

Kate is currently involved in a number of projects throughout the UK, from performing with the itinerant troupe, Flashlight True-life Storytellers in Birmingham, a regular teller at Natural Born Storytellers in London, one of many Tribal Voices that keep the green field festival fires burning brightly and Co-founder and host of Wild Words and Wisdom, an intimate evening of poetry, story and song for women in Hertfordshire.

Kate is passionate about the sharing of wisdom and as such her ongoing project StoryTramp often takes her out on the road in search of stories, people and the ultimate of human experience.

 

Leah AthertonLeah Atherton (Poet, Performer):   A linguist, poet and spoken word artist, hailing from the windswept Devon coast, Leah blew ashore in red brick country in 2006 and has been actively involved with the local spoken word circuit for the last 2 years.

Having spent her formative years scribbling stories and poems in the back of school exercise books and old envelopes, Leah’s love of poetry caught up to her as a postgraduate student at Oxford, where she began honing her craft in earnest.

She has since headlined at poetry and music nights including Sunplugged, Howl and Stirchley Speaks. A vocal advocate on social justice issues, her work has been featured at a number of events combining art and activism, including the Amo: LoveISexhibition at Birmingham Art Gallery; Amnesty International’s satellite event 16 Days of Activism: Women Unplugged; and the Critical Conditions: Calais photo exhibition launch at Impact Hub Birmingham.

Bringing her unique brand of quiet observation and raw honesty to her poetry, she weaves together the wildness of the landscapes she calls home with the joy and heartache of the everyday. She is a firm believer that magic is never lost, only forgotten.

 

Marcia CalameMarcia Calame (Poet, Performer):  Poet and Spoken Word Artist who has performed in places such as: Glastonbury Poetry and Words, International Women’s Day, Black History Month, Youth Theatre and Education and is also a mentor for aspiring youths.

 

Marcia is a diverse and dynamic Poet, both on stage and on page, for all ages; with poems included in many anthologies. Such poems like, ‘A sense of touch’ representing the Midlands-Poetry for the people by the people; and ‘Rippled Splendour,’ which received the Editors choice Award. Marcia is part of the ten writers collaboration of the Midlands, which is included in the Anthology, Celebrate Wha (Smokestack 2011), where you will find her poems such like: Speak English and Going Dutch.   Living in Birmingham, UK, Marcia is currently working on the completion of her new book.

 

Najma HushNajma Hush (Writer, Director, Producer): Master of Media and Creative Arts; a published poet and photographer who also combines the two mediums to create an emerging genre of art, which she terms ‘Poetography’, a concept which she has developed over the course of time since 2013.  With her first exhibition as a Poetographer at Walsall Arts Festival (Dec, 2014), Hush has considerably evolved her practice from creating silent photographic animations in combination with poetic texts to short poetic films, heavily featuring performing artists using videographic images, alongside spoken word all synchronised harmoniously to music.

Former Artist in residence at Arts4ArtSake (Custard Factory, 2013) and former Poet in Residence at Mapseeker Publishing Studio & Art Gallery (Aldridge, 2014), she has had her fine Art Photographic works exhibiting in various locations around the West Midlands, whilst also organising her own monthly Exhibition for Exhibitionists events (2013/2014) providing a platform for other Poets and Musicians to perform at the opening for her art exhibitions.  Presently whilst expanding upon her Poetography experiments to contribute to an emerging genre of moving digital literature, (watch Youtube @ Najma Hush) she is working on her debut Poetography book as well the release of her first short film ‘What is a Poet’ starring five other Spoken Word Artists.

About the Crew

Byrone Nicholson

Byrone Nicholson (Lighting, Sound and Camera Operator):  Video editor and camera operator with a BA Honours in Media Productions, his background stems from creating films within the format of documentary and the making of music videos. Producer of his own film, ‘Born to Fish’ (released, 2014), a short documentary summarizing how one man’s passion for a sport can influence, not only his own life, but the lives of those whom he teaches.

Previously the official camera and sound operator for Walsall Arts Festival (2014) Nicholson’s already enjoys the diversity in art and has worked with many live spoken word and street artists.  The, ‘What is a Poet’ project further enhanced his opportunity to apply the skills he’s learnt, but also show his greater fondness of poetry.

Nicholson is currently working with the Sikh channel and wishes to continue learning and working with diverse cultures, whilst also creating or collaborating on unique projects that bring forth positivity and knowledge.

 

Studio Management Team

Soombul Rafique (Floor Manager):  Usually an executive legal clerk by day, Soombul worked as a volunteer on set responsible for passing on cues to the director communicating with all cast and crew to ensure timings were met and filming went smoothly so that shooting went according to the set plan

 Rhi Rhi Khanum (Sound Supervisor):  Usually working behind the camera as a model on several projects with photographers, stylists and makeup artist, Rhi Rhi worked for the first time on a film set as a volunteer to provide assistance, working closely alongside Nicholson and following his instructions regarding sound.

Reshma Khunum (Script Supervisor): An undergraduate student of Media, Reshma worked on set as a volunteer Script Supervisor making sure that all lines were covered during the filming process.

 

So there you have it,  we will be posting more information regarding this continuing project and the exact details about how you can take part and contribute with your 14 second poem as well as news and more information about where the film will be released and exhibited, so follow this blog to stay tuned, share this article and check out the hashtags online.

social media

Hashtags:  #WhatisaPoet?  #14SecondPoem

Abstract Elements: A Photography Exhibition

3 May

Abstract Elements, A Photography Exhibition  by Najma Hush.

 

Abstract Elements is a collection of five photographic images, representing the five most essential principles, believed in many philosophies to constitute the fundamental powers of everything.  Depending upon peoples cultural beliefs, these elements vary between fire, water, wind/air and aether, usually differing between four to five. However, no matter what you may believe these elements to be exactly, they possess different meanings for different people which can be either positive, negative, or neutral.  The images represented here have not emerged from any specific cultural philosophy, but rather are the Artist’s interpretation of such elements and are open to your personal reading.

 

Abstract Elements, a photography exhibition by Najma Hush.

Abstract Elements, a photography exhibition by Najma Hush.

Abstract Elements is currently on exhibition at, The Warehouse Cafe, (54-57 Allison St, Digbeth, Birmingham. B5 5TH. UK) from the 5th May – 1st June 2014, with a exhibition opening night dinner planned on the Bank Holiday Monday at the restaurant.  Check out the event’s page and if you are around come along and join the fun.  There will live performances from Poets and Musicians to fit in with the theme of the exhibition.  Here! Click on the link and check out the facebook events page to see who is going:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1472489166301598/ and also stay tuned for the next post and we’ll let you know all the gory details on  the opening of this exhibition.

Female Force – Exhibition Opening Day

14 Apr

Female Force is the title given to a selection of photographs taken of statues by Najma Hush. These images been manipulated by the process of multi-layering, to modernise and re-present, a few and various neoclassical and classical sculptures, from the fresh perspective of a digital age. Currently exhibiting at Urban Coffee Company (Church Street,  Birmingham, B3 2NP.  UK. ), from April 6th – May 3rd 2014). 

 

 

Urban Coffee Company is a rather sophisticated cafe in the metropolis of Birmingham.  Not only do they boast great coffee, good enough to sate any coffee snobs passion, but they also hold many different live events.  Furthermore, their cosy upstairs arena , consistently rotates fine art and photography by artist from the city, which is organised by Alexandria Art, who provide exhibiting platforms for emerging  artist in various location around the city.   weblink - exhibition details

With the exhibition open day for Female Force, held last Saturday (12th April’ 14), Najma Hush hosted her very own launch event, having invited Poets and Musicians to also platform their own skills and celebrate her latest solo exhibition. Here is a short review, recording the events proceedings, including photographs of the poets and musicians who came to support this event with further links to their works, to make it easier for you to find them.

Guests at Female Force by Najma Hush

As the guests gathered.

The event started off with a small crowd and moved at a slow pace, fairly early for any Saturday morning,  but as the event proceeded more and more people joined to contribute a buzz to the initial relaxed atmosphere.  The show commenced, with a brief introduction from the artist about herself and the concept behind the exhibition, before she passed over the duty of hosting to Andrea Shorrick, a local poet and performer herself, who introduced the first public speaker, Kathryn Day from Women’s Networking Hub.  This organisation had shown much support for Hush’s exhibition open day, by promoting it through a lot of their internal sources, due to the close work they do with all kind of women in enterprise, connecting women with other women and essentially building a strong network of associations.    They also work closely with Malala Yousafzai to gain funds for her projects to eradicate social/gender inequality and so  Hush invited them to  invite the women present, to join their network.

Najma Hush

Poet and Photographer, Najma Hush at the exhibition opening of Female Force.

 

The first poet to perform was Dani Papamaximou from Greece,  who recited her own touching poems, translated from her native tongue to English.  With some dark overtones, her work was mainly refreshing and  light sharing personal experiences as a women.

Next up, a very talented poet and artist from Walsall, Neth Brown who shared a melancholy poem about her mother and experiences on the theme of gender traditions and female sexuality from the point of view of a young lesbian.

Nina Lewis,  was the following act, a Worcestershire poet who had actually written poems especially to go with Hush’s images.  Her poems were as impressive as usual as showed her dexterous skill with language. 

Next up was Sammy Joe, who humorously insisted on taking her coffee on stage, swigging and spilling it in a sleepy haze. But even before she had finished reciting her very short, blunt and feisty poem, in a fashion that was no less than fierce, she had trotted off again, sleepily leaving the audience wide awake and hungry for more.

The crowd was then greeted by the colourful personality of Saleha Begum, a poet and artist decisively stating that she would be reading her most intense works, from her book, Raptures and Fragments, which she did!

As the crowd deserved ‘A Pick Me Up’ after such intensity, that’s exactly what they got with Aysha Begum’s poem, ‘Just a Little Pick Me Up’, a poem which is also an entry in this years round two of Pangaea Poetry Slam.  

And just before the interval, Andrea Shorrick  left the crowd holding their breath during her performance, when she began to undress, stripping away her clothes solemnly, wrapping herself up in a street no entry banners and smearing her face with yellow paint as she recited her poem on domestic abuse.   

Open day of Exhibition Female Force

Najma Hush – Meeting and Greeting Guests

During the interval it seemed that a lot more people had woken up and the place became more alive with people.  The atmosphere was buzzing as the crowd was led back into the second half, where Najma Hush opened the show, reciting her own epic poem on social equality for women, just before she introduced the musical act for the event a very talented young singer song writer,  Jane James.  Her voice is emotive and she can switch her pitch going from smooth to boom!   

Jaden Larker, otherwise known as   Seasick Fist, who was also a speaker for TEDxBrum on International Women’s day (2014), was the only man who had been brave enough to perform his views on women, with his confident delivery,  he certainly knows how to keep the crowds attention.

With a hard act to follow, next up was Andrea Shorrick, only this time as her ultra ego,  Swingerella, with stories from her bed, which included chocolate hearts, pink bunnies, vodka in a tea pot and box of sugar puffs, to name…just  a few things.  It was meant to be funny, but again, the audience were holding their breath…

It was also a great pleasure to see and hear, Jasmin Gardosi perform her poem sultry poem on lesbian love and love bites. Gardosi is also a TEDxBrum speaker (2014) and she runs the official Poets Place.

And to close the show in class one of the final special guest was, Charlie JordanBirmingham Poet Laureate (2007 ) – representing our city –  with some groping poetry, in a style, solely unique to her.  The event then came to a close with the first ever Female poet laureate of Birmingham, Julie Boden and current Poet in residence at Symphony Hall who wowed the crowed with 10 minutes of such beautiful poetic magic.

Here are the photographs of all the above performers:

 

Female Force

8 Apr

 

Female Force is the title given to a selection of photographs taken of statues. These images have been manipulated by the process of multi layering, to modernise and re-present a few and various neoclassical and classical sculptures, from the fresh perspective of a digital age.

Although this set has not been created in any attempt to be authentic in its artistic content, it appreciates beauty making accessible elite works in art, otherwise unobtainable as the ideological emphasis is upon ‘possession’ (based upon John Bergers theories in his book Way’s of Seeing (1972) ).

Each piece displays a keen interest to celebrate femininity and the female form, as Najma Hush offers a short interpretation on womanhood through the study of sculptures and in doing so, she presents the female archetypes that have inspired artists to create; images that have been repeated again and again and ones we still see and know in our society. What’s most interesting about Female Force is that these archetypes are still recognisable and ideals that we in society, still aspire to posses.

Female Force is only on exhibition at Urban Coffee Company from the 6th April to the 5th May 2014 in association with Alexandria Exhibitions.  All prints are limited editions, as no more than 25 will be produced of each one. Also, each piece comes with a unique certificate of authenticity signed, numbered and dated by the artist. For further info  or to purchase, please email Najma on photogiraffe@live.co.uk.

Female Force by Najma Hush

The official open day for the exhibition will be held at Urban Coffee Company on Saturday 12th April at 11am – 1.30 pm with live performances from poets and musicians, so stay tuned here to read more about that event …

 

 

Diverse Dancers – Exhibition Soiree

25 Feb

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Diverse Dancers is the title given to a large and still progressing compilation of photographs, primarily concerned with the multiplicity of varying dance traditions; a small and miscellaneous selection of which, is currently in exhibition at the ORT Cafe in Birmingham, UK (from 19th Feb – 5th Mar’14).

Housed in The Old Print Works, a grade II listed building; Ort is much more than just a cafe.  More importantly, it has become the community hub for creative art within just 2 years of being established, having gained the worthy reputation of supporting emerging artists, in the community of England’s second largest city!   With its friendly and approachable directors, Josephine Reichert and Ridhi Kalaria, who both actively assist the artists they support, Ort is the ideal place for an emerging artist, to host a first time solo exhibition.  And on Friday 21st Feb’14, that is exactly what Najma Hush did, having curated a night of art, poetry and music by hosting talented poets and musicians to share their work, which coincided with the dance theme of her exhibition.  She called this event, ‘An Exhibition for Exhibitionists’ and boy did it attract a handsome group.

Upon the night as the crowd gathered and mingled they were greeted by live music from the Jazz Pianist, Andrew Clayton, who played all original material from his Album, Bunch of Keys.  Quick to jump at an opportunity to jam, poetry performer, Carys Matic Jones joined in with her Cajón Drum, adding a beat to Clayton’s melody and giving all the guests, opportune moments to collectively convene a vibrant atmosphere.  

The show then commenced with the local poet, Adele – aka- Ddotti Bluebird, who also organises Birmingham’s much loved Word- Up.  She grabbed the crowd’s attention with her passionate urban style poetry.  However, rather surprisingly for the host, none of this Ddotti Bluebird’s songs conformed to the theme of dance.

Following on swiftly, was Adam Laws, a complete virgin to performance poetry, who nevertheless, won the crowd over with two poems that he had written especially for the theme of this event.

But the real crowd pleaser was a musical performance by Walsall’s poet, Al Barz who had composed his own music to choreograph a special dance for a totally interactive, audience precipitation and the best thing was, everyone could do his dance sitting down, except for Barz of course (who also organises his own monthly poetry events called Purple Penumbra at the Barlowe Theatre in Oldbury).

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Next up was what appeared to be Cinderella herself, sporting a broom and sweeping the stage, but it was in fact, Andrea Shorrick, with her own unique interpretation of dance, a delightful poem titled Prince Charming.

Also come to take part and show her support was Jude Ashworth, a long and withstanding member of Writer Without Borders as well as being the organiser of Erdington Writers held twice a month at Erdington Library, she swayed and swooned the audience with her dance poetry.

After that, the crowd was gregariously greeted by the enormous personality of  Ian Henery, the Mayor of Walsall’s Poet Laureate for three consecutive years and author of Batman (Thynk Publications).  Amongst a few other dance poems, Henery, performed his poem written especially for Diverse Dancers called….Diverse Dancers and also read Rudyard Kipling’s,  The Plea of the Simla Dancers. Not before however, he likened the talent of the first halves performers, to our Nation’s favourite poet, Kipling and was ignominiously heckled for it by an otherwise anonymous heckler, who rowdily disagreed.

Another member of Birmingham’s highly esteemed group, Writers Without Borders and author of Blonde Grass (Thynk Publications), Olufemi Abidogun also graced the stage with his own magical poetry on the subject of dance.

Just before the interval, the closing act for the first half was the third and final member of Writers Without Borders.    It was none other than, Tessa Lowe herself, who also hosts her own poetry events at Ort called Poets with Passion.  Lowe charmed the crowd with her charismatic, Maybe Baby dance poem, as well as sharing an enchanting poem, celebrating the ‘beauty’ of Birmingham’s, not-so-prevaliged, Balsall Heath (the location of Ort Cafe and hence the exhibition).

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To kick start the second half, Carys Matic Jones opened the proceedings with her musical act.  Normally performing with her band, Jones was joined with improvisations from Andrew Clayton on Keyboard, as she multi-tasked her rhythmic recitations to the beat of her new Cajón Drum, which proved to be a very delightful and an engaging experience indeed.

A hard act to follow, which certainly she did do and without any exceptions, it was Nina Lewis.  An ex-dancer herself, Lewis claimed that she had been directly inspired by the Photographs exhibited.  Her poems not only dealt with the beauty of the art form, but also explored the darker more painful side of dance, that we as voyeurs often forget when watching this graceful art form.  Needless to say, all three of her poems were very strong.

It was also a great pleasure to see, popular storyteller, Kate Walton – Aka – Story Tramp (nominated for outstanding newcomer at the BASE Awards, ((British Award for Storytelling Excellence)) 2013.  She captivated and simply mesmerised the audience, with her rhythmic tale of a Sufi whirling dervish’s.

Birmingham Poet Laureate 1999/2000, Simon Pitt also made a special guest appearance with his slightly eccentric performance. One act of which, he threw things at the audience in a fit of rage.  It was a rather convincing temper tantrum and nothing like I’ve ever seen in my life, so I’m glad to have finally had such a frightful experience, whilst in such a friendly environment. It wasn’t all gloom and doom of course as Pitt soon lightened the tone offering the crowd a brighter side to his sense of humor.

It was a pleasure to become acquainted with Lorna Meehan s work, especially as she had just come off her first poetry tour with England and Scotland’s leading poetry organisation, Apples and Snakes .  Her act was a real delight.  Rumour also has it, that Meehan is presently preparing to be the world’s first hula hooping performance poet…

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A local poet, Max Jalil who rarely ever shares his work, shyly decided to pluck up his courage and read his witty poems on the subject of his horrendous dance antics, which is something that he is rather notorious for on the clubbers scene.  After having seen both of his talents, one would probably suggest that Jalil gives up dance and takes up poetry instead – as his poem really was rather good.

Najma Hush also shared two short and sweet poems before passing on the mic to none other than yet another poet laureate.  It was Roy Mcfarlen (Birmingham, 2010/2011), who had come to show his support for Hush’s events once again.  The enigmatic Mcfarlen who never fails to delight a crowd of poetry lovers drew the perfect close to an almost perfect night, as the host called the show a rap and let the crowd loose to get closer to view her work and stay around to chat and indulge in a few more drinks.     

Here are some more photographs to get you better acquainted with all the performers who came along… and look out for the uploads from Pat the Bull Films who kindly filmed that night’s events to broadcast to the world … after all…these open exhibition soiree’s aren’t titled, ‘Exhibitions for Exhibitionists’ for nothing, you know.

Diverse Dancers: I

20 Feb

Najma Hush’s, Diverse Dancers is the title given to a  large and ever expanding compilation of photographs, primarily concerned with the multiplicity of varying dance traditions, unique to a variety of different cultures and subcultures.

This collection has been produced with a keen interest in the grace of dancer’s movements and seeks to reveal the eloquence of each pose, jump, spin and lift.  As this project expands and develops, Hush seeks to come closer to interpreting and presenting the exceptional language of bodies that never lie.

Diverse Dancers Part I:   An Exhibition for Exhibitionists, with Art, Poetry and Music.

Diverse Dancers Part I:
An Exhibition for Exhibitionists, with Art, Poetry and Music.

Presently, a small and miscellaneous selection from this collection is exhibiting at ORT Cafe, Birmingham, UK (19th Feb-5th Mar 2014).

Look out for the next post on Diverse Dancers, where you can view the photographs from the open exhibition night and get better acquainted with all the amazing performers who will come to support this event, whilst also exhibiting their own amazing talents.  After all, these open exhibition evening’s  aren’t titled ‘Exhibition for Exhibitionists’ for nothing you know.

If you are a dancer or a dance company who would like to get involved and help expand this project, with a view to have an exhibition of your work interpreted as still images by the artist, then contact Najma Hush on photogiraffe@live.co.uk.

Some Kind of Blue Exhibition Soiree

15 Oct
Opening of Exhibition evening, with Art, Poetry and Music

Opening of Exhibition evening, with Art, Poetry and Music

We have some exciting news!   Najma Hush is currently Artist in Residence at Fine Art Gallery, Arts 4 Art Sake at the Custard Factory in Birmingham.   Recently she opened her first exhibition called, Some kind of Blue,  a collection of fine art photography;

‘…concerned with the manifest content of our dreams (or to put it simply, elements of our dreams that we remember upon awakening).  Inspired by the work of psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud, who in his book, The Interpretation of Dreams, suggests that the content of our dreams are related to wish fulfillment; as he believed that the manifest content of a dream, or the actual imagery and events of the dream, serve to disguise the latent content (or the unconscious wishes) of the dreamer.  Thus, the photography presented in Some Kind of Blue, is directly symbolic of the thoughts, desires and images which may manifest from (your own subconscious) within your own dreams, with the poetic emphasis  ingrained in every metaphoric title for each individual piece.’  ~ Najma Hush

For the open evening of the exhibition, Hush curated a night of art, poetry and music by hosting performances in line with the theme of ‘Dreams’,  in keeping with her exhibited collection.  In a nut shell, here is what happened:

Maqsood Qazi , the director of Arts 4 Art Sake, fine art gallery, sponsored the opening exhibition of,  Some Kind of Blue by this emerging artist. Held at their premises, Arts 4 Art Sake provided all the food and drink. There was enough time to admire Hush’s exhibited collection of Photography, Some Kind of Blue and view all of the other art work at the gallery (such as Jinxy Art, Javed Qamar, Tahir Bin-Qalandar and more), as the crowd gathered and mingled.   Unexpectedly, Mike Bongo, a local singer, song writer  requested he open the soiree with his songs written for Mental Health Awareness, although not fitting with our theme, it was allowed on an exceptional and friendly basis (because everybody deserves a chance to be heard).  It also gave us more time to welcome new guests, just before some wonderful live performances were given by a diverse amalgamation of urban voices, who put on such an entertaining show.

The real show opener was local Rapper Ali Mardi- aka- Da Wonderin Dragon, who got the crowd going with his passionate and humorous poem describing his, ‘Dream Girl’.  Following on, was a rather musical performance of poetry, by Walsall poet and performer, Al Barz who had composed his own music to crescendo his poetry. Usually and popularly known to be on keyboard,  Barz was upon this night, accompanied by an amp and his ipad.  Next up was poet, Gary Carr, who had come all the way from Burton-Upon-Trent to share some dreamy poetry from his very own, next collection of Dream poems that he had been working on.  Then there was local artist and writer, Shirley P Cooper, who came and shared her, ‘I have a Dream’ poems as well as some of her sweet, home baked cupcakes.  We were also proud to host the charismatic poet Laureate of Walsall, Ian Henery also graced the event with his presence and read some blooming great poetry too.  Next to follow was local poet,  James Walpole, who performed three brilliant poems he had written just for our ‘Dream’ themed event.   Then there was a very young and talented, Ester Turner, who sang songs from her debut album, ‘Dreams’ and blew the crowd away with her amazing voice, whilst a nice, handsome crowd, waved in and out throughout the evening to watch and support the event, which made the atmosphere very relaxed, friendly and inviting.  A special appearance from Marcia Calame added a great positive energy to the whole event – the same strong presence, that she carried into her enticing poetry performance on stage.  It was also great to introduce and announce, popular storyteller, Kate Walton had been nominated for outstanding newcomer at the BASE Awards (British Award for Storytelling Excellence), just before she shared some of her own profound poetic works.  Artist and poet, Kristina Vere-Gankaku Griffiths, came all the way from West Bromwhich to read her dreamy poems, from her debut poetry book, No Strings Attached.  Just before the final closing acts of the event which were, non other than two of Birmingham’s very own,  former poet laureates, the enigmatic  Roy Mcfarlen and the infamous  Giovanni Spoz Esposito, who closed the evenings event charmingly.   

You can see the pictures here and look out for the video promo by Pat the Bull Productions. And of-course, stay tuned to hear about more events like Some Kind of Blue when they come up again as hopefully, we look forward to exhibiting our next collection soon!
But in the meantime you can pop into Arts4ArtSake, fine art gallery at the custard factory anytime you like and check out our Art.

Realities of Living, With Fiction Online

4 Jun

First released in 2007, A Life of Recluse is still the only interactive hypertext fiction that combines literature with digital imagery, sound and music. Available now online, free for all reading enthusiasts.

 stickypostnet

Back in 2007 Najma Hush, the author of A Life of Recluse, published a story as HTML.   Back then it was the first interactive hypertext fiction to combine literature with still and video imagery, including sound and music.  Now, once again, six years later being released on wordpress, it still is. 

 

A Life of Recluse is an audio, visual literary book, which has been especially created for the web and made available for all new media junkies, interested in experimental writing.   Progressing as nonlinear, its narrative is composed through the medium of 78 nodes.  This short and technologically speaking, quite simple hypertext fiction tells a complex and enigmatic tale about race, culture and the struggle to affirm ones personal identity.  

 

Set in 1997, Lowestoft; Britain’s forgotten seaside town, this is a dark and disturbing story about five friends, each from different national and cultural backgrounds, who are ‘allowed to be free, yet not free to be allowed‘.  To challenge the notions of individuality and personal identity, the author seeks to explore various cultural and personal constraints through the lives of each of the characters and reveal what they are prepared to risk and lose in order that they may gain their personal freedom.

 

Be prepared to feel slightly uncomfortable, disorientated and sometimes disturbed.  But remember turn on the computer’s speakers or plug in headphones to hear the sound, as you navigate the text by clicking hyperlinks and image-maps.

 “This hypertext fiction had always been created to be self published online.  I wanted to share a new media, creative arts experiment, composing a unique literary form.  But since having taken the HTML offline, I had always intended to re-publish the fiction at an online source where these artistic contributions, would never be lost.  I hope it may be read and appreciated by many for years to come.  The beauty of using self publishing tools like WordPress, means I can share my work for free, just because I believe I have something universal to communicate in a unique way and I would like people to read it.”  – Najma Hussain on online self publishing tools.

Read Hypertext Fiction A Life of Recluse .

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