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Aesthetica #91

October / November 2019

The number of times I have said “we are living in uncertain times” is adding up. From the deep political crisis of Brexit and the rise of the right-wing Populism to the displacement of refugees and migrants, as well as the alarming rate of environmental destruction – we’re in a turbulent state. What can we do as individuals to ameliorate the situation? The saying “think locally, act globally” was coined 40 years ago. Even Dr. Seuss was talking about environmentalism in the early 1970s with The Lorax. I even remember my first Earth Day in the 1990s. It’s so easy to get consumed by mass media. It leaves a constant feeling of powerlessness. However, it’s important to think about the things you can achieve everyday. When was the last time you helped a stranger? It’s worthwhile thinking about that.

This issue tackles subjects such as race and power through the Shirin Neshat exhibition at The Broad in Los Angeles. In a time where national identity is being used as a tool to galvanise the right, and increased racism has been occurring, it’s never been more relevant for this retrospective. As the Founding Director of The Broad has said, Neshat “gives voice to outsiders and exiles who have left their countries in the wake of political conflict.” We also look at Antwaun Sargent's The New Black Vanguard, which celebrates black fashion photographers such as Tyler Mitchell, Micaiah Carter, Arielle Bobb-Willis, Nadine Ijewere and Namsa Leuba. It also includes non-western image-makers such as South African artist Jamal Nxedlana and Nigerian creatives Daniel Obasi and Stephen Tayo. This publication asks: why was it only in 2018 that the first black photographer shot the cover ofAmerican Vogue?

Also inside this edition are works from the following photographers and designers: Greg White, Benedict Adu, Six N. Five, Daniel Forero, Linda McPhee, Roderick Vos and Laura Perrucci & De Santis Matteo. This issue of Aesthetica is about celebrating the diversity of the world around us and rejecting the divisions that are being brought about by certain global leaders. We must stand together.