CultureSOUL: *Blues & Jazz men* - The Great Migration era (1930s-1940s)
- Willie Smith and Fats Waller, 1937. Photo by Charles Peterson
- Little Bill Gaither, Big Bill Broonzy and Memphis Slim, Chicago, 1940.
- Thelonious Monk, Howard McGhee, Roy Eldridge, and Teddy Hill in front of Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem, N.Y, 1947.
BLACK IN ASIA
The Mani people are the original homo sapiens that travelled from Africa and settled in Thailand. They are the original negaritos who moved with other Africans like Andamanese of India, Aetas of Philippines,Semangs of Malaysia to their present residence in Thailand. They were there before the other ethnic groups came to form the Thai kingdom. Anthropological studies has revealed that the Thai Mani and Malaysian Semang were the first modern humans to enter the Malay peninsula. They remarked that "the original people of the Malay Peninsular that about 4,500 years ago the Proto-Malays moved south from the Yunnan province area of China into Southeast Asia where they met the Negritos who, for a long time, may have been the only modern humans to live in this area"
The name Mani is of Mon-Khmer origin and means “human being,” and they speak Tonga language. The Mani or “forest people” as other Thai people call them lives in the jungles of southern Thailand, in the Banthad Mountain Chain and around the Malaysian border in the provinces of Trang, Phatthalung and Satun. They are facing extinction and currently their total population is about 300. The Banthad Mountain chain became a base area for communist insurgents during the 1970s and thus a battle ground between communist guerillas and Thai government forces. Especially during the years of 1975-1977, the insurgents were battered in ground and air attacks. The Mani suffered terribly during this war with government forces frequently mistaking the smoke of Mani camp fires for insurgent activity. Those living in Trang and Phatthalung provinces had to move to the sanctuary of Thoungwan district in Satun province.
The Aetas are the aborigines of the Philippines who were called negritos by the Spaniards at the time of their reign in the Philippines because of their darker skin color. It is the tribe inhabiting the eastern parts of Luzon and called in different names: Agta, Ita, Ati, or Aeta. About 20,000 of them are spread throughout the country. Their majority can be seen in Pampanga and Zambales while others inhabit the coastal fringes of Northern Luzon, and the mountains of Negros, Samar, Panay and Leyte. As a result of their nomadic life, they live in houses built out of grass and tree branches to easily vacate upon scarcity of surrounding food.
Aeta according to anthropologists and archeologists, are descendants of the earliest settlers of the Philippines. They were predicted to migrate in the country through land bridges that connects the country to Asian mainland 30,000 years ago. It may have occurred when the Malay Peninsula was still connected with Sumatra and other Sunda Islands. Their boundless journey around the Malay Peninsula that spread as far as The Philippines resulted to their widespread existence in the country
The Semang are a Negrito ethnic group of the Malay Peninsula. Lowland Semang tribes are also known as Sakai, although this term is considered to be derogatory by the Semang people. They are the indigenous peoples of this area.They have been recorded to have lived in Malaysia since before the 200s Common Era (CE). They are ethnologically described as nomadic hunter-gatherers.
The Semang live in autonomous local bands consisting of an elder male (usually the leader of the group), his wife, their sons, and the sons’ wives and children. Their religious beliefs are complex and include numerous deities. Shaman-priests practice magic, foresee the future, and cure illness.
Semang (Jahai) ethnic group woman of Malaysia
Painter painting in our land pictures of only white angels
Painter painting in our time in shadows of yesterday
Eartha Kitt - Angelitos Negros (1970 performance)
“Morgante” interweaves the personal stories of individuals linked by a common denominator: being dwarfs. “Morgante”, ironically nicknamed the Giant in the poem of the same name by Louis Pulci, was the most famous of the five dwarfs at the court of the Medicis in Florence. According to the codes of the time, the dwarf Morgante was portrayed as a “monstrum”.
Thus dehumanized and stripped of his personality, he appears in paintings of Bronzino and sculptures of Giambologna. Progressively he becomes an idea, an archetype, and a looking glass through which “the human family” will regard diversity for centuries to come. Using the literary and artistic inspiration photographer Nicola Lo Calzo has created “Morgante”, a moving gallery of portraits depicting the universe of little people, a highly marginalized category in some African countries. Often associated with witchcraft, people with dwarfism live in a semi-clandestine state, subjected daily to all kinds of psychological violence.
Lo Calzo photographed his models in private situations, at home, at work or in the street. In Lo Calzo’s photographs, Fidel, Kwedi, Babel are not victims of their size. On the contrary, they are the primary agents of their lives, protagonists of the scene represented.
In these terms, the photographer questions the conventional representation of diversity, self-esteem and self-acceptance: his models gaze directly into the camera as if intentionally searching the eyes of their viewers. They fully assume the role of actors and directors of their own lives. In some African societes still deeply polarized around the concept of normal and abnormal, good and evil, tradition and modernity, “Morgante” is an invitation to break this archetype of “monster” and come to full recognition of diversity. (artist statement)
The Girl Next Door series by pierre bennu
Giclee art prints of the entire series are available here: http://exittheapple.com/exittheapple-shop/artsales/