Category Archives: Arts&Culture

Swedish photographer Paul Hansen wins 56th World Press Photo


Photographer Paul Hansen of the Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter has won the 56th World Press Photo for a very powerful image of a group of men carrying the bodies of two dead children through a street in Gaza City.

Two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and her three-year-old brother Muhammad were killed when their house was destroyed by an Israeli missile strike. Their father Fouad was also killed and their mother was put in intensive care. Fouad’s brothers carry his children to the mosque for the burial ceremony as his body is carried behind on a stretcher.

View the entire collection of winning images from the 56th World Press Photo Contest here.

The winners were selected from over 100,000 images that were submitted by a total of 5,666 professional photographers from 124 countries in a number of categories: general and spot news, sports action and features, nature, people in the news, contemporary issues, daily life, portraits, arts and entertainment.

I’m really looking forward to seeing the photos live when they are exhibited at the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, from 26 April 2013 – 23 June 2013. I’ve been going every year since 2009 and the photos have always amazed, inspired, surprised and shocked me.

The exhibition travels all over the world and is visited by two million people every year. I can’t recommend it enough. To see when there will be a World Press event in your city, check here.

The Life of Pi


I’ve just come back from watching the Life of Pi, and it was such a wonderful cinematic experience. Apart from the incredible images throughout the movie – that I don’t think I will ever forget- and the beautiful story, there were numerous moments where the words being said really touched my heart. Here are only a few:

“All of life is an act of letting go, but what hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.”

“It is important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go. Otherwise you are left with words you should have said but never did, and your heart is heavy with remorse.”

“Above all, it is important not to lose hope.”

Although I rarely read fiction, I’m going to buy the book tomorrow…

The Reconstructionists

I recently discovered a gem, called the Reconstructionists: the brainchild of illustrator Lisa Congdon and writer Maria Popova.

Every Monday in 2013, this site will be putting the spotlight on a remarkable woman, publishing an illustrated portrait of her, along with a hand-lettered quote that captures her spirit and a short micro-essay about her life and legacy.

The purpose of the Reconstructionists is to celebrate beloved artists, writers, and scientists, as well as notable unsung heroes that have changed the way we define ourselves as a culture and live our lives as individuals of any gender.

It borrows its title from Anaïs Nin, one of the 52 female icons, who wrote of “woman’s role in the reconstruction of the world” in a poetic 1944 diary entry – a sentiment that encapsulates the heart of what this undertaking is about: women who have reconstructed, in ways big and small, famous and infamous, timeless and timely, our understanding of ourselves, the world, and our place in it.

On 6 January it launched with four portraits, those of writers Anaïs Nin and Gertrude Stein, artist Agnes Martin, and inventor/actor Hedy Lamarr, to give a taste of what will follow once a week for the rest of the year. Yesterday, it posted its second week entry, musician Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Be sure to follow it throughout 2013! It’s such an inspiring way to start the week, don’t you think?






The Open Country of Woman’s Heart


A Map of the Open Country of a Woman’s Heart was a map created by D. W. Kellogg circa 1833-1842, subtitled “Exhibiting its internal communications, and the facilities and dangers to Travellers therein.” Though it mostly depicts Woman as a sentimental, selfish, and superficial being driven by vanity, it places Love at the center of her heart, with Good Sense, Patience, and Prudence at its tip — or bottom, depending on the interpretation.

Want this map for yourself or a gift? You can buy it here.

2012 London Olympics street art

Last day of the London 2012 Olympics today and a good opportunity to look back at some pretty cool, thought-provoking street art that was created for the occasion by artists like Banksy, Criminal Chalkist, Code FC and more. Enjoy!

The fantastic world of Fab Ciraolo

I love looking at the world through Fab Ciraolo‘s eyes. The Chilean artist re-imagines famous icons from the movies, art, politics, history and fashion as pop idols of today with an added surreal, dreamy, vintage spin.

If you like this series you most surely will appreciate his ‘Old School Heroes’ series too, where he revamps childhood cartoons from the 80’s, like Jem and the Holograms, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, in the same whimsical fashion.

You can follow Fab on Twitter or Facebook and keep up with his latest amazing creations.

Happy Birthday Gustav Klimt

Before my trip to Vienna in December last year, all I knew about Klimt more or less was his famous masterpiece “The Kiss”. I always thought it was beautiful and delicate, although a bit too commercialised. It wasn’t until I visited the Belvedere for the exhibition: Gustav Klimt / Josef Hoffmann: Pioneers of Modernism that I really got to know more about his stunning work and the Viennese Art Nouveau movement. It totally swept me off my feet… The colours, the subjects, the eroticism, the sensuality, the technique, the mystery were spellbinding and timeless…  I remember standing in awe in front of his work thinking that this man was truly a visionary and pioneer of his time. He is now one of my favourite artists…

On the occasion of Klimt’s 150th anniversary, many special exhibitions are taking place in Vienna. You can find out all the details on Klimt 2012 here.

Below are some of my personal favorites from all phases of his work.

Portrait of Johanna Staude (unfinished), 1917, oil on canvas, 70 x 50, at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna

Lady with Fan, 1917, oil on canvas, 100 x 100, privately owned

Portrait of Amalie Zuckerkandl (unfinished), 1917, oil on canvas, 128 x 128, at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna

The Girlfriends, 1916, oil on canvas, 99 x 99, destroyed by a fire set by retreating German forces in 1945 at Schloss Immendorf, Austria

Lady with a muff, 1916, oil on canvas, depository unknown 

The Virgins, 1913, oil on canvas, 190 x 200, at the National Gallery Prague

Portrait of Eugenia Primavesi, 1913, oil on canvas, 140 x 84, privately owned

Portrait of Mäda Primavesi, 1912, oil on canvas, 149,9 x 110,5, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Kiss, 1908, oil on canvas, 180 x 180, at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, 1907, oil on canvas, 138 x 138, at the Neue Galerie New York

Poppy Field, 1907, oil on canvas, 110 x 110, at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna

Water Serpents II, 1904, oil on canvas, 80 x 145, privately owned

Portrait of Emilie Flöge, 1902, oil on canvas, 181 x 84, at the Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien, Vienna

Judith I (and the head of Holofernes), 1901, oil on canvas, 82 x 42, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna

Hygieia (detail from Medicine), 1900, oil on canvas, destroyed by a fire set by retreating German forces in 1945 at Schloss Immendorf, Austria

Nuda Veritas, 1899, oil on canvas, 252 x 55,2, at the Österreichisches Theatermuseum, Vienna (the quote in the painting says: If you can’t please everybody with your deeds and your art please only few. To please many is bad. -Schiller).

“I have the gift of neither the spoken nor the written word, especially if I have to say something about myself or my work. Whoever wants to know something about me -as an artist, the only notable thing- ought to look carefully at my pictures and try and see in them what I am and what I want to do.”  

– Gustav Klimt

*Source of images: Gustav Klimt museum 

A tasty piece of art

I can’t say I’m a big fan of Piet Mondrian‘s geometrical and abstract art. A proponent of the “De Stijl” movement (which means “The Style” in Dutch), he only used primary colours and non-colours, squares and rectangles, straight and horizontal or vertical lines in his work, which to me personally, isn’t very engaging or inspiring. A bit too rigid, confined and rational for my liking, I would say.

However, when I stumbled upon a photo of a Mondrian cake made by Caitlin Freeman, the pastry chef at the cafe of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the reduction to the essentials of form and colour didn’t seem to matter any more. Art-inspired food is genius!

Now, the artoholic in me just wants to try this tasty piece of art! Which means that I will have to wait till my planned trip to San Francisco next year, unless I try to make it myself…

Given my baking history though (which is practically non-existent), perhaps I should start with something easier until I get better acquainted with my new Kitchen Aid mixer! Something like the Mondrian sandwich, which I also found after a bit of research into edible art. And yes, the sandwich in the photo contains some green, which Mondrian would never ever use, but you could replace that part with blue cheese, if you must stick to the rules. Although a bit of artistic freedom and thinking outside of ‘the box’ wouldn’t hurt, don’t you think?

The Hello Cube: where art meets social media

The Hello Cube is an inspired project where art meets social media, bringing a whole new dimension to the word engagement. The cube-shaped installation, displayed at Tate Modern in London, changes color and pattern seemingly without rhyme or reason. However, strangely enough, the cube is being controlled by people all over the world.

The cube  draws upon the ever-expanding power of social media to create art, responding to twitter commands sent to @thehellocube by any twitter user. Users can tweet what they would like to see on the cube, such as “purple” and the cube will change accordingly, thus allowing them to participate in the artistic process.

The Hello Cube, designed as a part of Infinite Kusama, is an art event created by TateCollective, and the Louis Vuitton Young Arts Project.

Can’t wait to see it when I visit London this September!