Karen Tam’s Curio Shop

here is a manifestation of Trinketization and exoticism, herewith endorsed – go visit!

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Terra dos Chinês Curio Shop

by Karen Tam (click on image for Facebook link)

July 9-August 22, 2015
Artspace (Peterborough, ON)

For my exhibition at Artspace, I am producing a large-scale installation entitled Terra dos Chinês Curio Shop to see how these objects may relate to contemporary everyday life and the politics involved with their display. Viewers enter a space that appears to be real but is a façade of “DIY chinoiserie,” styled after Chinatown curio shops circa 1930s. This hopefully will highlight the encounters that occur between specific locales and East Asian-influenced material culture and refer not only to mass production of pirated consumer goods in China but also to the questions that are always present where artistic production is concerned. The Chinatown curio shop as well as other similar sites function as both self-representational through the use of material culture to display and play off expectations of ‘tourists’ and visitors to a place of ‘exoticness’ and ‘foreigness’ that has been domesticated by the shop-owners, and the exploitation and commercialization of such display and curiosity. The objects within such spaces form a sort of collection and archive, and act as traces of a timeline of changing attitudes. While considered as everyday items for the Chinese family who would have run the curio shop, they would have been seen as novelties by ‘tourists’. This project also reflects and comments on the historical trade routes between China (the ‘Far East’) and Europe and North America (the ‘West’), chinoiserie and the production of objects for the Western taste and market, and the current shanzhai or copycat culture in China, the world’s manufacturer and is itself the largest consumer and producer of fakes.

Plan C: J20

The Plan C leaflet from the J20 demonstration – in London on June 20th, 2015 – for the record.

Leaflet Text:

Austerity is working just fine.

We can’t keep hoping that the powerful will wake up to reason and stop the Plan A of Austerity. Why would they? It’s working for them.

The rich don’t suffer from austerity. They profit from it. Their lives are shielded away from the high-frequency trading hyperreality of capitalism. This vortex of violence is for their benefit. Capital rolls on, trailing food banks, evictions and zero-hour contracts in its wake. Capital isn’t restrained by borders, but guard dog states enforce them on the majority of the worlds populations, looking on as thousands of people drown in the Mediterranean. Capital absorbs everything and everyone, and spits us out when we are no longer useful.

There is no solace to be found in Plan B – a call for the return to the social democracy of old. Whilst capital is still in power, it will quickly extinguish anything which threatens its capacity to profit. Calls to turn back to the old days mutate into demands to reinstate racist violence and xenophobia, while everything we produce continues to be stolen from us: our wealth, our health, our creativity, our compassion.

We won’t be saved by the Green surge, a left-turning Labour, or proposals to tinker with the terms of our corporate kleptocracy.

Together, we must stand. Everything for Everyone.

Counter-power is growing, the only way to secure our own lives and futures becomes a threat to the stability of capital. It is the movement we need and the reality that we all have a stake in constructing.

Everything for Everyone. That is our Plan C.

Palestine Solidarity London Friday 10th July, 2015, 5.30-7.30pm,

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The Palestine Solidarity Campaign works for peace & justice for Palestinians, in support of human rights & against all racism
Gaza: one year on
Friday 10th July, 5.30-7.30pm,
Richmond Terrace, opposite Downing Street, London
Gaza September, 2014. Credit Agencia de Noticias ANDES – shared under Creative Commons licence
We are approaching the first anniversary of Israel’s devastating assault on Gaza last summer, which terrorised the Palestinian population of 1.8 million for 51 days, killing more than 2,000 Palestinians and reducing much of Gaza to rubble. Now is the time toshow Palestinians and the world that we remember their losses, and are with them in their struggle for peace, freedom and justice.
On Friday 10th July we are holding a vigil in London to remember those who were killed and those who grieve for them. We will be asking people to share the names of those Palestinians who died during Israel’s attacks. If you can, please bring along flowers and the name of a person or family you want to remember. We will collect all the photos of those who come to remember. More information>
Gaza vigilA message left at a vigil after Israel’s deadly attacks
By signing our petition and attending our vigil (or an event near you)  we can send a global message to government: Israel’s attacks must end, Israel’s blockade must end, the occupation must end. Send the message to government – support peace and justice for Palestinians. 
If you are able to help before or at the event please contact info@palestinecampaign.org
UK Complicity in Israel’s war crimes continues
Arming Apartheid report
The latest official government figures, collated by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Campaign Against Arms Trade, and War on Want, reveal that the UK approved £4 million worth of arms sales to Israel in the four months that followed last year’s bombardment of Gaza (read the Independent’s report on the report)
The revelations are included in Arming Apartheid: UK Complicity in Israel’s Crimes Against the Palestinian People  a new report which focuses on the extent and nature of the arms trade between the UK and Israel.
Email your MP to demand an immediate end to the two way arms trade with Israel
eba0b-free

Release Delhi University Professor, Dr GN Saibaba from Prison: Picket, London 28.6.2015

Please join the picket at the office of the High Commission of India, Aldwych, London, WC2B 4NA 

From 1pm on 28th June 2015.(Nearest Tube Station:  Halborn and Temple)

 Dr GN Saibaba, a Professor of Delhi University and a versatile democratic rights champion was clandestinely abducted on 9th May 2014 by plainclothes Indian policemen. Since then, charged under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), he has been kept under solitary confinement in a dark cell of Nagpur Central Jail in the Indian State of Maharashtra.

Dr Saibaba, who is wheelchair-bound with 90% disability, has been in the forefront of the democratic rights movements across the Indian subcontinent. He campaigned tirelessly against ‘Operation Green Hunt’ – the Indian State’s war on the poorest of the poor of India, such as Dalits, Adivasis and peasants of Central and Eastern India, who are struggling to safeguard their lands, forests and rivers from being grabbed by the mighty and powerful  multi-national corporations – both foreign and Indian – in the name of ‘development’. For questioning the model of this so-called ‘development’, Dr Saibaba is incarcerated. Expression of one’s own views on political and socio-economic issues is not a crime but a very basic democratic right granted by the Indian Constitution to all its citizens. Perhaps Dr Saibaba’s only “crime” is that he stood in solidarity with the sons and daughters of the soil, who are resisting the corporate loot of their natural resources.

Dr Saibaba suffers from a heart ailment and degeneration of the vertebrae for which he needs constant expert medical attention. After his incarceration, his health has seriously deteriorated in the prison. The Indian State has ensured that Dr Saibaba’s bail application was rejected thrice. The trial has not started even after a year, and the authorities are denying him the necessary medical attention, which suggests that the Indian State is slowly letting Dr GN Saibaba’s health deteriorate to point of no return. Imprisoning a 90% disabled person violates the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Persons with Disabilities Act, and the UN Conventions. His case is just a glaring example of a complete travesty of justice which happens far too often in the Indian subcontinent. There are 300,000 prisoners waiting for trial in the Indian prisons languishing for years without legal access, most of them from the most deprived social sectors.   

We appeal to all intellectuals, lawyers, students, workers and trade union activists of Britain and Europe to condemn the incarceration of Dr Saibaba and thousands of many others by joining the Campaign for the Defence and Release of Political Prisoners.  Please join the picket at the office of the High Commission of India, Aldwych, London, WC2B 4NA from 1pm on 28th June 2015.(Nearest Tube Station:  Temple)

Indian Workers Association, GB (Central Organising Committee); 

          Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), UK;

  Tohum Cultural Centre – London; 
International Campaign Against the War on People in India

Shaheed Minar

shaheed minar

Already in 1990 you had to get permission from the Chief of Police at Lal Bazaar to climb this monument. A friend, Kate, and I went to see him and he greeted us with an expansive ‘So you want to see a panoramic view of my city’ – his arms opened wide in an all encompassing gesture that only accentuated his ample girth and the standard issue metro police belt that held all in place. We climbed the stairs – pretty high, it does seem more than 48 meters – and, as we were smokers then, we lingered quite some time up top discussing politics, war, freedom movements, rallying colours and of course panoramas, before we came down. Its very good news the place will be opened for visits soon once more. Site also of some of the largest rallies I’ve ever attended.

Here is the Calcutta City tours rave about it:

http://kolkatacitytours.com/shaheed-minar-kolkata/

The 48 meter high Shaheed Minar, popularly called the “Monument” is a prominent landmark of Kolkata. Established in the year 1848, it was named Ochtorloney Monument to honour, Sir David Ochterlony who served in the Nepal War (1814 – 1816).  In 1969, this Ochterlony Monument received its new name ‘Shahid Minar’, which means “Martyr’s Tower” to honour the sacrifice of Indian freedom fighters. You have to climb 218 steps to reach the top of the monument from where you can savor a bird’s eye view of Kolkata.The architecture of Shaheed Minar shows a brilliant blend of Egyptian, Syrian and Turkish style of designing.

History of Shaheed Minar, Kolkata

It was founded in 1848, as Ochterlony Monument, to honour Major General Sir David Ochterlony’s (Commander of the British East India Company) triumph against the Gurkhas in the Anglo-Nepalese War of 1825. The architect J.P. Parker conceived the structure of this 48 meter high monument based on a blend of Egyptian and Syrian style with a dome having a striking resemblance with Turkish design. In 1969, the Ochterlony monument was rededicated to the freedom fighters of India – the martyrs who sacrificed their lives in the freedom movement of India and was renamed as “Shaheed Minar”, which in Bengali means “Martyr’s Tower.”

A winding flight of 218 steps takes visitors to the top of the tower from where one can have a panoramic view of the city. However, in 1997, a mishap occurred when a tourist jumped from the lower balcony of Shaheed Minar. From then, prior permission is needed from police to climb the monument. The last person to climb up the monument was the former Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi along with his family.

Lately, the state government of West Bengal has taken initiative to open up the monument for both local public and tourists. The work of refurbishment has started in late 2011 and will be accomplished in two phases. After the completion of the work, both tourists and local people can climb up to the top of the monument. There are also plans to set up stalls in front of the monument. Initiative is also taken to clean the pathways and beautify them with flowering plants.

The vast field lying towards the south of Shahid Minar is popularly called the Shahid Minar Maidan or the Brigade Ground. The place hosts political rallies for several decades. The first political meeting on Shaheed Minar Maidan was headed by Rabindranath Tagore, where he condemned the assassination of a young man in Hilji by the British in 1931.