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Michael Stone art exhibition organizers regret injuries caused by hosting event

The organizers of the Michael Stone art exhibition say they regret the harm done to the family of the late Dermot Hackett by organizing the event for the loyalist killer.

The exhibit took place inside the East Belfast Reach UK community project, which was set up by former members of the paramilitary group Red Hand Commando.

The group says it supports initiatives from all sections of the community and has been asked to consider hosting a free week-long exhibition of artwork from the Stone’s Milestones collection.

Robin Stewart of Project Reach was pictured standing next to Stone at the show’s launch last month. He said the organization had offered space to host the 25 works of art and a free opening night in mid-July.

“The nature of the request was to exhibit some of Michael’s works and at the same time to publicize the Prison Arts Foundation,” he said.

“We discussed the possibility of this exhibition being controversial, but Michael wanted it to be a low-key event.”

Mr Stewart added: “We regret the hurt and pain caused. Michael also recognizes the hurt his past actions have caused and he understands how this can impact the families of the victims.

“He is an artist who is in prison but will soon be released. All prisoners, whether trade unionists or nationalists, have limited options on how they are going to reintegrate into society and art is preparing Michael for this. He shows the other prisoners that there is hope for them when they are released and rehabilitated so that they do not reoffend. “

Since news of Stone’s art exhibit came to light, Mr Stewart said there has been renewed interest in the exhibit.

“We sold a number of paintings at the launch and today received more emails from people locally and across the UK looking to come and view the works with an interest in buying. Some of them they can be people genuinely interested in art or because of who the artist is. “


Stone (second from left) at the opening of his exhibition as he left Maghaberry prison at night


Stone leading his attack on Milltown Cemetery in March 1988

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Stone art

Charity refuses money raised at Michael Stone art exhibition

A charity has refused money raised at an art show for loyalist killer Michael Stone.

tone, on his release from prison, attended an art exhibition in east Belfast last month that featured his own work and that of his wife Karen whom he married in prison two years ago .

The exhibition features more than 20 paintings primarily focused on Loyalist themes. The Milestones exhibit was organized as part of the East Belfast Reach UK Community Project, which was set up by former members of the paramilitary group Red Hand Commando.

Organizers said 33% of proceeds raised from the event would go to the Muscular Dystrophy UK charity, with the remainder going to Stone and his family.

However, when the charity learned how the money was raised, it decided to refuse the funds.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: “We were not aware that Mr Stone had exhibited any work at the Milestones exhibition. We understand the sensitivities in Northern Ireland about an exhibition including his paintings.

“After careful consideration, we will decline the money raised at the event.”

Former UDA man Michael Stone rose to prominence for his bloody pistol and bomb attack on Milltown Cemetery in March 1988, when he attacked the funerals of three IRA members , firing and throwing grenades into the crowd.

Three people died in the attack, with Stone admitting to three more murders after being arrested.

He was released in 2000 under the Good Friday Agreement, but was jailed again in 2006 after attempting to kill Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness in Stormont, and is currently serving the remainder of the minimum jail sentence of 20 years that was inflicted on him in 1988.

As his release date approaches, he’s eligible for a 24-hour unsupervised daytime outing every four weeks in advance.

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Stone art

Klip Kuns Stone Art: A Revival of Afro-Indigenous Cubism in Istanbul

Gamze Alpar is an unrivaled curator and dynamic hostess, as she warmly invites art connoisseurs and the most curious of Istanbul wanderers for tea and conversation surrounded by examples of the priceless tangible heritage of Zimbabwe, where she has traveled. for the first time last April. and shortly thereafter for three months in the summer. She followed in the footsteps of an old friend in Kenya to collect Shona stone art with her partner Murad Geyimci before returning to Istanbul for the September opening of her gallery, Klip Kuns.

Last year, Gamze Alpar visited Zimbabwe for the first time and became a collector of Shona art before opening Klip Kuns in Istanbul.

In Old Harare, she discovered that there are around six hundred Shona artists in Africa who remain dedicated to the craft that continues to place African sculpture among the latest trends in contemporary world art long after revolutionizing painting from the 20th century. The works of Picasso and his French contemporary Georges Braque speak of one of the most dramatic transformations in the history of art, that of the development of cubist painting from African sculpture.

In Afrikaans, Klip Kuns simply means “art of stone”. It signifies an indigenous African craft tradition with singular contemporary relevance to the world of visual arts, especially from the origins of Modernist painting, and ultimately from time immemorial. African visual art is sometimes still typically stereotyped in primitivism, as composed of ceremonial masks and West African sculptures. Shona art, however, has been hailed in the international press and in the world’s most prestigious museums as the perfect embodiment of indigenous modernism, as its artists continue to shatter all the clichés, labels and conventions known to exist. interpose between European thought and the understanding of contemporary African culture.

The earliest European appreciation of African art within the modernist core is largely attributed to the writings of the German Jewish anarchist and critic Carl Einstein, whose most important work “Negerplastik” is about sculpture and directly influenced painters. avant-garde of the interwar period. At the time of its publication in 1915, Zimbabwe was Southern Rhodesia, effectively ruled by the colonial British mining industry which subdued several Shona rebellions. Afrikaans was then a minority language and its presence would soon disappear from the ground in 1980 with the independence of Zimbabwe, where the current ethnic majority language, Shona, was the most widely spoken after English.

In remembrance of Zimbabwe’s colonial era, when Shona art gained international audiences as a distinct and world-class aesthetic discipline, keeping the Afrikaans name of Klip Kuns pays homage to the social history of the movement. of contemporary sculpture that emerged from the landlocked south. African country of present-day Zimbabwe, whose name literally translates to “Stone House”. In the years leading up to independence, Zimbabwean artists found a space abroad to freely meet in the world of international art exhibitions.

Joram Mariga, the father of Zimbabwean sculpture is pictured at Klip Kuns above his exquisite pieces, all by living artists who follow his legacy on the gallery floor. He was among the first modern Shona artists to exhibit abroad, notably in 1963 at the Royal Festival Hall in London, under the wing of the English museologist Frank McEwan who founded what is today the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. For the next 16 years before Zimbabwe became an independent nation and despite Western sanctions against the openly racist Rhodesian government, Shona art has been staged at the world’s finest art institutions, from MoMA in New York to the Museum. Rodin in Paris and beyond.


Taurai Chimba is unique among the new generation of Shona artists, as it has gained international fame thanks in part to the special efforts of Klip Kuns.

In 1969, American fashion designer Mary Josephine McFadden married McEwan in Rhodesia when Vukutu was established, an artist community for Shona sculptors called Workshop School. Although the marriage lasted for a year, performers from her sculptural farmhouse now honor the pantheon of Shona performers. They are now celebrated at Klip Kuns. The portraits of Nicholas Mukomberanwa, Henry Munyaradzi and Joseph Ndandarika recall the inspired ingenuity that arose out of Vukutu, providing art historians and aesthetes around the world with a clear and expansive view of a history of African independence through the production of fine arts.

Alpar displays the core values ​​of Shona sculpture with multi-faceted sophistication on his gallery in a flowing open-door exhibition style incorporating textual and photographic elements to embellish hundreds of ingenious sculptures from around 50 artists. She has personally met most of the artists in her gallery whose works she organizes for niche art markets in Istanbul and around the world. Taurai Chimba, for example, is a rare name in international spotlight among new Shona artists. Two of his soapstones at Klip Kuns depict mythical and playful characters that recall the Inuit aesthetic of the native Arctic, but with a very unique and authentic formalism that leaves aficionados wondering how cubism and Shona art differ at all.

On any day, Alpar receives visitors and clients from across the globalized social spectrum at Klip Kuns, such as American ironworker and ceramic artist Castro, who talks about the history of art and creative independence. with rare ease, also demonstrated by his special talent. When asked if he is inspired by Shona art, he quickly replies in the negative. For him, appreciation of the arts and creative work are worlds apart. He confidently affirms the pure and individualistic originality of his profession while evoking the debt of famous painters to the African sculptors who inspired Cubism.

Where an instantly recognizable nude sketch of Picasso gazes out from a ledge on one of the gallery’s many walls adorned with Shona sculptures, Castro shared lucid reflections on African art and artistic integrity as Alpar delved into it. the conversation with exciting bursts of insight from his unrivaled experience as the only Turkish curator wholly dedicated to Shona art. She reflects comfortably on everything from her days in Zimbabwe to a recent loan from the Klip Kuns gallery for the shooting of a new film by Serra Yılmaz and Ferzan Özpetek.

Shona artists carve butter jade, serpentine, spring stone, black and white opal, verdite and soapstone to evoke vast ranges of emotions from the mineral surface. As is traditional in the indigenous philosophy of Shona art, the stones are believed to take a sculptural form by the will of the ancestral spirits. Artists refrain from making premeditated sketches and using sophisticated tools beyond simple pickaxes and cutters so as not to interfere with the creative source.

Wildlife and villagers are among the recurring topics that fit the transgender definition of neorealistic naturalism, such as the ribbed rhino by Yardaro R. Mudenda. And there are abstract and expressionist pieces closer to Cubist affinities, as in the monolithic portraits of Second Mappfumo and Nhamo Iasi exhibited at Klip Kuns alongside pieces innovated in the same way with titles like “Matrix”, “Spiral Face” , “Wise” and “The Storm God”. Other works, such as “Eagle” and “Love” demonstrate a syncretic aesthetic that blends equally sophisticated techniques behind traditional forms and contemporary stylizations.

Klip Kuns is the only gallery in Turkey, and potentially the world, to focus solely on Shona art. Its aesthetic philosophy contrasts with special significance next to traditional Turkish art, as there is no comparable stone carving tradition in Turkey given the historic Islamic prohibition against carved images. Alpar is wide-eyed and ambitious. She is already planning winter adventures in Zimbabwe to strengthen her ties with the local craft community while setting her sights on Toronto, Dubai, Paris and elsewhere to expand the creative space for contemporary Shona art to continue to flourish with. distinction all over the world.


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Stone art

The beauty of investing in stone art in Kenya

Using stone art to give buildings an aesthetic finish is an ancient craft that is experiencing a renaissance in Kenya.

The Greeks, Indians, Chinese and Africans have ancient stone art that dates back centuries. In fact, some of the largest and most enduring works of art in the world involved the use of stones, for example Egyptian tombs and pyramids and the Great Wall of China.

Six years ago, Stone Arts Gallery decided to take a leap of faith and move to Kenya, with the owner starting at a friend’s house before moving to a studio in Kasarani, Nairobi. The company chose the country because the use of stone finishes was underdeveloped.

It turned out to be a smart investment.

The company has showrooms in Parklands and at the Galleria Mall in Nairobi, where it showcases a wide range of products, from flooring to sculptures.

His sculpture “Dancing Man” (pictured), for example, took about four weeks to complete and costs Sh 290,000.

Sanket Tandon, head of marketing and business development at Stone Arts, said finishing stone constructions was spreading rapidly, even outside of Nairobi.

The company has since spread outside Kenya to Rwanda, where it recently managed a construction project called Kigali Heights. It also supplies various kinds of stones, including sandstone, limestone, slate and marble, to India (where the company has been in existence for 18 years), France, Dubai and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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Mr. Tandon said that one of the most popular stone finishes today is cladding, which is used on the walls.

“The price of the cladding varies from 2,400 to 7,200 Sh per square meter, depending on the desired finish and the customer’s tastes.

Decorative stone flooring, which is also widely used for its aesthetic appeal and durability compared to normal flooring, cost between 3,000 and 6,000 shillings per square meter.

Other products supplied by the company include columns, door frames, portal pillars, lintels and window sills, chimneys, lighting fixtures and materials for the restoration of dilapidated buildings.

There are also different types of finishes available for stone products. For example, granite products have up to six different finishes, including bush hammered (which has a textured feel) or leather, depending on the customer’s preference.

So where does Stone Arts get its stone from?

Tandon said the company imports a lot of what it uses because it costs less than shopping locally.

“The prices here are very expensive and prohibitive for business,” he said.

He added that the secret to the company’s success lies in referrals from satisfied customers. Stone Arts also works with professionals in the construction industry, including architects, designers and contractors, to boost its business.

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