Black Tag And Their Film That Shows How ‘Black Art Is Black Money’ – Forbes
Akin Adebowale and Ousman Sahko Sow are co-founders of the Black content creation agency Black Tag. Focusing on alternative Black artists and art, the Black tag brand, style, and approach are steps into the “future of Black content,” as Akin describes it. Black Tag is democratizing content in a way that empowers its viewers, with the help of partners like Issa Rae and Common. This film speaks to various generations disconnected from popular culture.
In their debut, Akin and Ousman have collaborated as business partners on “Black Art Is Black Money,” a film that describes the appropriations of the attributes and elements of Black culture, while suppressing the leaders and representatives of that culture.
In detail, and as fast as any TikTok sequence, “Black Art Is Black Money” highlights notable appropriations throughout time. The film opens up with a rant from Little Richard about stolen identity on stage at a televised award show. Instances of theft of Black culture, from food and fashion to art and science, and even dance and music, are the narrative of this story. Written by Akin and directed by Ousman, this film opens our eyes to what has been evident for too long.
Akin’s background extends into computer science and fine art in college and working with African fashion start-up Oxosi, in which he met Ousman at Google Creative Labs. Ousman, who has produced video content for brands like Adidas and Nike, was teaching content creation for Google at the time.
Akin and Ousman are both born in West Africa and their families have found their way to the United States. Ousman, from Sierra Leone, escaped the atrocities of the “blood diamonds” war, and Akin from Nigeria, noticed the global appropriation of Black culture as he started to absorb an American worldview. This film reflects the sentiment of what Ousman defines as an “academic understanding of what Black is. Not just from the standpoint of the U.S.A., but Africa and Europe. Introducing artifacts – introducing information – [and] getting folks to lean in and learn.”
Black Tag and “Black Art Is Black Money” are delivered from an “academic standpoint. Outside of creating content, it is also teaching us, and [we’re] learning through that process as well,” Ousman states. “Education is the key driver. This is our opinion and here is where we stand – to educate,” Akin affirms.
What Akin and Ousman have done is cataloged Black culture. The creators list the various instances of appropriations and the atrocities that have happened to Black artists, Black money, and the Black influence on pop-culture. “Black Art Is Black money” empowers young Black artists in hopes they “realize [their] power” and keep the issue from getting “[shoved] under the rug,” Akin notes.
An example of this on full display as the film opens with that award show where rock n’ roll star Little Richard is on stage standing beside a younger white man, with an arguably similar hairstyle to Little Richard wore during the 40s and 50s. Richard relentlessly berates the man in an unapologetic display of disdain. In dedication, Little Richard is an example of that appropriation and how it is hardly accredited where due, according to the two filmmakers.
That opening scene in “Black Art Is Black Money” sets the tone for a film that juxtaposes the origin of some of the most memorable pop-culture moments that have taken place in mainstream commercial markets with the original version or rendition. A group of friends narrate and catalog the instances of Black cultural appropriations that came without any reparations.
They cycle through the art and references that modern artists have used to create against the examples of Black art. Visual references of those Black art forms grace the screen periodically including works from artists like Picasso.
The film stars notable cultural icons Jalaiah Harmon, Sage Elsesser, Parker Kit Hill, Gabrielle Richardson, Eloisa Santos, and Miski, and exemplifies that “Black culture has been the catalyst for global trends,” says a press statement. Continuing, “However, the economic gains from these ideas, works, and trends were felt by already affluent, predominantly white men.”
Ousman says that this film is “letting it be known that we are the creators in this space.” Akin finds that brands have the most to do in finding a remedy to cultural appropriation. As part of the reconciliation, these brands are also held accountable for their diversity and representation. Inclusiveness within their work environment and at the decision-making level is a must with content producers.
Black Tag exists in creating content without conflict, and that understands the narrative of Black artists everywhere. The film launches on February 9, 2021. Watch the short film here.
Art collector Myriam Ullens killed outside her home in Belgium, allegedly by her stepson – Art Newspaper
Myriam Ullens, a major collector who, with her husband Guy Ullens, supported and championed Chinese contemporary art, was killed outside the couple’s home in the village of Ohain south of Brussels today (29 March) according to multiple reports in the Belgian press. She was 70 years old. The reports claim she was shot by her stepson Nicolas Ullens, who has been detained by police. Her husband, Guy, reportedly survived the incident.
Myriam and Guy were in their car outside their home around 10am when Nicolas fired on his stepmother, who died at the scene, according to La Libre. Myriam and Nicolas had been in a protracted dispute over issues of inheritance, according to multiple reports.
Myriam and Guy Ullens, who married in 1999, have been important and influential art collectors for decades. They started out collecting classical Chinese scroll paintings, but eventually shifted their attention to contemporary art. In 2007, they opened the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing—considered at the time to be the first contemporary art museum in China—which showed works from their collection of more than 2,000 works. In 2017 they sold the museum, renamed the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, to a group of investors; they continued and broadened their collecting activities under the banner of the Swiss-based Fondation Guy & Myriam Ullens.
In 2004 Myriam, who went by Mimi and was a cancer survivor, founded the Mimi Foundation to create centres within hospitals to provide physical and mental therapy for patients undergoing cancer treatment. In 2013 she co-organised an exhibition and benefit auction during Frieze Week in London to support the Mimi Foundation.
“If many of the artists in this project are Chinese that is because of our long and close relationship with them. This is just the tip of our iceberg—that we are continuing to follow and collect intensively with the new generation,” Myriam told Ocula at the time. “A collection is like a living breathing body. It evolves in an organic manner.”
Myriam was born in Cologne, Germany. Following early success in the food industry, she married Guy, a Belgian businessman and baron, and devoted herself to fashion (launching the brand Maison-Ullens) and philanthropy. The couple’s charitable activities also included opening the Ullens School, an educational facility in Nepal.
Nicolas Ullens, a former Belgian state security agent, is one of four children Guy had with his first wife, Micheline Franckx.
The Ullenses’ foundation did not immediately respond to a request for further information.
Major Collector and Chinese Art Patron Myriam Ullens Has Been Shot Dead Outside Her Home in Belgium – artnet News
Myriam Ullens de Schooten, a preeminent collector and well-known figure in the art world, was shot dead yesterday in front of the house she shared with her husband, Baron Guy Ullens de Schooten. Both are major collectors of Chinese art and respected in the art world as the founders of UCCA in Beijing, China.
The murder occurred at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 29. Local media have reported that Ullens suffered four bullets to the head, and had died by the time emergency services arrived to the family home in the Belgian village of Ohain. The stepson of the 70-year-old German baroness is reportedly a prime suspect.
The 50-year-old Nicolas Ullens de Schooten, a former state security agent and one of four children, is suspected of shooting his stepmother while she was in a car with his father, who survived the attack. He has been taken into custody for questioning. According to some Belgian reports, the victim and suspect were in an open dispute over an inheritance issue. Local authorities did not immediately respond to Artnet News’s request for further information.
“The vision and passion of Myriam Ullens—her love for art, belief in cultural exchange, and commitment to helping others—are at the core of UCCA’s history and values,” said Philip Tinari, UCCA’s director, in a statement shared on social media. “We are shocked and saddened by her death, and will remember her strength, style, creativity, and generosity as we carry forward the work of the institution that she and Guy so generously founded and nurtured through its first decade.”
Born in Cologne in 1952, Myriam, known to friends as “Mimi” Ullens was an active philanthropist, who initiated an education program and school in Nepal. A cancer survivor, Ullens also launched The Mimi Foundation, which was active in cancer wards at eight hospitals in Belgium, France, and Switzerland, providing support to patients going through treatment.
Myriam and Guy Ullens married in 1999 and built out an evolving collection focused on art from China, beginning at first with classical Chinese scroll painting before focusing on contemporary art from China. Their “universal” collection, as it is described on their foundation’s website, includes works by prominent Chinese artists including Huang Yong Ping, Wang Jianwei, Xu Zhen, together with Western art stars like Rashid Johnson, Sterling Ruby, and Tracey Emin; another area of focus in their collection was digital art.
They opened the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in 2007 to exhibit their collection that numbers around 2,000 artworks; the institution was one of the first of its kind in China. In 2017, the couple sold the museum to a group of patrons and shareholders and it was renamed the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art. They continued to be involved and served on the foundation council, while actively collecting via their Fondation Guy & Myriam Ullens, based in Switzerland. Myriam was also actively involved in luxury brand Maison Ullens, which she founded in 2011. The family is of Belgian nobility; Guy Ullens is a philanthropist as well as a financial services company executive who has been collecting art since the 1960s.
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Banksy artwork Brace Yourself! sells for over $2m at auction in US – The Guardian
The Banksy artwork Brace Yourself! has sold for $2,032,000 (£1.6m), more than three times its original estimate, during an auction featuring a performance from the band that inspired the piece.
The anonymous artist created the work in 2010 for the British band then known as Exit Through the Gift Shop, who shared the same name he wanted to use for his 2010 documentary film.
To avoid copyright issues, the group agreed to Banksy’s offer to create a painting for them on the condition they changed their name.
The artwork, a large-scale painting of a grim reaper figure riding in a carnival bumper car, was sold to Miguel Garcia Larios, the owner of Rcnstrct Studio in Hollywood, during an event hosted by Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills.
Its original estimate was $600,000 and the sale was preceded by a live performance by Brace Yourself!, fronted by the singer Natalie Zalewska.
Zalewska previously said the sale was about preserving the artwork as a “piece of history”.
The Exit Through the Gift Shop documentary tells the story of Thierry Guetta, a Los Angeles-based Frenchman who videotapes underground art escapades and later finds fame with the moniker Mr Brainwash.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the artwork will go to the music charity MusiCares, which provides health, financial and rehabilitation support to people working in the sector.
Also featured in the auction was an original print of Banksy’s Girl With Balloon, which sold for $195,000, and more than 70 artworks from famous names such as the painter Bob Ross, the actor Jim Carrey and the Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro.
In early March, Brace Yourself! was displayed in the window of the Hard Rock Cafe in Piccadilly Circus, London.
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