The World Stage: Jamaica

Kehinde Wiley opened his first UK solo exhibition at the Stephen Friedman Gallery in London October 15, 2013 to November 16, 2013. The

show was entitled: The World Stage, Jamaica and. Wiley, it is important to note, is a 36-year-old African-American portrait artist from South

Central LA who has painted hip-hop icons such as LL Cool J, Ice T, Biggie and even Michael Jackson.

This show featuring Jamaica was the seventh in a series of exhibitions that have focused on black and brown images from Israel, Sri

Lanka, Senegal, Nigeria, China and Brazil. What is special about Wiley's "World Stage" series is that he captures urban black images from

around the globe that are not generally portrayed in formal works of art.

In the typical old masters portrait, a king reclines on his upholstered chaise, or stands proudly, head inclined upward, with his hand resting on his sword. Wiley turns this completely on its head by showcasing Jamaicans from the modern-day dancehall, Negril beach and

Trench Town, posed in the exact way that the colonial landowners and nobility would have been represented in the 17th and 18th century

classical British portraiture.

The models are dressed in their own clothing, but the paintings are set against richly decorated and intricate backgrounds. For his backdrops, Wiley drew on French Rococo, Islamic Architecture, William Morris wallpaper designs and even Martha Stewart fabric swatches.

Through this dual juxtaposition of posture and background, the exhibition intentionally examined the relationship between Jamaica and its former colonial power, and referenced the cultural and economic relationship between the two.

The show was set in the heart of Mayfair, one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods of London. In this context, the vibrant, larger-than-life-sized urban Jamaican images in their moneyed, classical poses fairly leapt out at you as you passed on the sidewalk.

In the short documentary film that accompanied the exhibition, the artist explained that he visited galleries in the UK, researching the paintings of the old masters, before travelling to Jamaica. As he went through the process there of searching for models for the series, the camera followed him, as, dressed in shorts and flip-flops, he ventured right into the dancehalls and onto the streets of downtown Kingston.

The result was an arresting show and exquisitely detailed, moving and powerful images. Perhaps the one difference between Wiley's portrait painting and that of the old masters is that there is no desire to revise the images in any way to attain acceptability. This is "contextual realism" at its best.

'Pieces' author Frey has multi-book, media deal

NEW YORK (AP) — James Frey has only begun to write.

The author of the discredited memoir A Million Little Pieces has a multi-book, multimedia deal with HarperCollins for a young-adult series called Endgame.

The publisher announced last Wednesday that Frey's production company, Full Fathom Five, will turn out three novels and nine novellas. The project also includes YouTube videos, gaming designed by Google's Niantic Labs and social media. Twentieth Century Fox has acquired film rights.

The first book will be Endgame: The Calling. It is due out in October and will be co-authored by Nils Johnson-Shelton.

The basic Endgame plot is a fight to the death among teens from rival bloodlines. It's being criticised by online commentators as too similar to Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games.

Frey acknowledged on Oprah Winfrey's show in 2006 he lied in A Million Little Pieces.

New study: Both e-books and print are popular

NEW YORK (AP) — A new survey from the Pew Research Center reports more adults than ever own an e-reading device, but print books are doing just fine.

Based on interviews conducted earlier this month, the study released last Thursday shows 50 per cent of respondents saying they have a tablet or stand-alone device such as's Kindle. That's up from 43 per cent in September.

The survey says nearly 3 out of 10 adults read an e-book over the past year, compared to 23 per cent who had done so when asked in 2012. Only around 4 per cent read e-books exclusively.

Sales for e-books are growing, but have levelled off over the past couple of years. They're believed to comprise 25 to 30 per cent of the general trade market, with commercial fiction especially popular for e-books.

Sylvia Day signs for new romance series

NEW YORK (AP) — One publisher is not enough for the prolific, million-selling romance writer Sylvia Day.

For the fourth time in the past year, the author best known for her "Crossfire" series has completed a major book deal. On Thursday, St Martin's Press announced a two-book, eight-figure agreement with Day for a new "Blacklist" series.

Last March, she signed a two-book, seven-figure agreement with Harlequin. In June, she and Penguin agreed on an eight-figure deal for two more "Crossfire" books. In July, HarperCollins imprint William Morrow signed her up for a paranormal novella.

Day is widely believed to have benefited from the popularity of E L James's Fifty Shades of Grey. In a 2012 interview with The Associated Press, Day said she also had been helped by Twilight fans seeking more explicit fiction.

Meet me in Chefchaoeun

Nestled deep in the Rif mountains of Morocco is a magical all-blue village. The village of Chefchaoeun in the north of Morocco has been called simply the prettiest little town in all of Morocco. The city got its name from the shape of the mountaintops that look like two goat horns or lchawens - the Berber word for horns - that hover over the town. With its houses painted with the distinctive blue dye of the region, it is easy to be charmed by the place locals call Xauen.

To get to Chefchaouen, one has to drive several kilometres around a winding but spectacular mountainside with a placid silver river that snakes its way through the valleys below. Almost every home on the drive up to the city shows some evidence of agricultural production, and olive trees abound. The people of the region are renowned for their crafts with the women making and wearing distinctive and colourful hats, and textiles which mark the wearer as a Chaoueni or, at the very least, someone who has been to Chefchaouen.

Located close to the larger, more populous cities of Tetouan and Tangier, Xaeun, a tiny municipality, has perhaps eclipsed both places with the sheer number of people who make the journey up the Rif mountains just to walk around the city that was founded as a small fortress in 1471 by a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, to fight off the invading Portuguese army. That sense of a being a fortress city still continues today and, indeed, no less a person than the renowned Moroccan freedom fighter, Muhammad Ibn 'Abd al-Karim al-Khattabi, who overthrew both the French and Spanish colonial forces in the region to set up a short-lived Republic of the Rif, was, from 1916-1917, imprisoned in the city for his activities.

The day my travelling companion and I visited, it had been raining slightly and though there was still a lot of people-traffic in the city, most of the traffic was of local people who came to sit on the heavy stone bridge built over the gushing and cascading waters that pour effortlessly out of the rocks and off the mountains that circle and tower over the city. These waters have been credited with curing various ailments and it was here in the early 1930s that Jamaica's Claude McKay came to finish his collection of short stories Gingertown. The world-weary McKay himself never stopped extolling the charms of the town, primarily among them, the city's cool fresh life-rejuvenating waters. He even wrote a poem about the city which pays tribute to "the gem the Moors called Xauen". One gets the sense, too, that when McKay wrote of the "living medievalism" of some Moroccan towns he had Chefchaouen in mind with its narrow, brick-lined streets and its houses packed so closely together that at first you experience them as being one big house before your eyes begin to pick out the distinctive shades of blue indicating the distinctive lives being lived in each of those close-packed houses. Chefchaouen is one of those places in Morocco that should definitely be visited. It is a feast for the eyes.

— Text: Jacqueline Bishop

Love Wounds - Chapter One

After things fell apart with Martin, I started going out with other women's husbands - women I knew and some whom I didn't. It is not something that I am proud of. It is, after all, not necessarily behaviour a woman should aspire towards. It certainly is not a hygienic practice. Neither does it boost self-respect. Plainly speaking, I wasn't happy with myself for doing it. Oh, I told myself that it was liberating; the modern woman's imperative, taking any lover she wanted. I was a thoroughly modern Millie, a present-day Mae West, cigarette dangling from the corner of my mouth as I surveyed the field of play and decided at will which man would me mine, even if he was already taken. There was no way I'd be stupid enough to get attached to somebody who belonged to somebody else. Break their hearts before mine got broken.

But, as they say: the best-laid plans... I often ended up competing for these men's affection. For their love. I wanted them to love me more than they loved their wives. Their other girlfriends. I really didn't have the stomach to be a mistress. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Secretly, I felt like sh-t every time one of these men rolled off me and hot-stepped it to the bathroom to scrub clean and bury every trace of our indiscretion before hurrying home to their wives. But this only made me dig my heels in more. My therapist wondered aloud whether by doing what I was doing, I wasn't trying to suppress latent homosexual desires. That was so risible I didn't stop until I got him in bed to disprove that theory.

The truth is, though, I feared being wounded by love. I did not just break up with the man I imagined I would have spent my life with and simply decide that I wanted to be with men who could not love me the way I deserved to be loved. It was not something that I planned to do.

What happened was this: After being involved with Martin for six years, one day he looked at me and said, "I don't think I can be in a relationship anymore."

We were in the kitchen, preparing dinner. He was draining the spaghetti at the sink and I was adding sugar to the lemonade. I stopped mid-stir. Outside, a car drove by our gate. "What do you mean, you can't be in a relationship anymore?" I said, looking at the way his muscles flexed beneath his wife-beater, the way his jeans seemed to be moulded to his lean thighs, his ass. I thought it was some kind of bad joke and I was waiting for the punch line. We'd only just come back from vacation on the Amalfi Coast where I'd imagined we'd return for our honeymoon.

Martin refused to look at me. "Greta, I just can't do this anymore," he said, a swatch of sunlight warming his face. The room seemed to tilt and his voice came at me sounding warped and loopy, like an audiotape gone warbly. My knees felt rubbery, I had to hold on to the edge of the stove to keep from pitching forward. I stared at the meatballs, sitting there in the brown and white striped saucepan that his mother had given me on her last trip here, already congealing in the tomato sauce.

"I mean, you know I love you and all, sweetie, but I'm going through a selfish phase now, I guess. I need my space. And you kind of suck the air out of a room. It's not fair to keep stringing you along like this. I know that you want to be married. But I don't."

I'd always thought of us as being unofficially engaged. I had never pressured him about marriage. Not once. Although, of late, we'd begun talking about plans for the future. When I had first met him, I'd known he would be hard to love, that it would be hard for him to fall in love with me. He was a child of divorce and had a particularly hard time with issues of trust. But after three years, we had moved in together. That was a big step for him and even though my family and friends tried to discourage me, I was glad to be living with him. Surely, I thought, this was a sign that we were on the way to somewhere.

I skipped dinner and cried the rest of the evening, curled up in bed beneath the covers while he messed around on his computer in the living room. I could not comprehend that he was letting go of six years, letting go of us. Hadn't those years meant anything to him? Hadn't I?

In bed later that night, Martin made love to me without coming himself. It wasn't the first time he'd done that. It occurred to me that that was one of the ways that he'd basically always withheld himself from me in the relationship. When he was finished, he kissed my shoulder and crawled from behind me. He told me that he would pack and be out of there by the end of the week. "I still love you," he said, before padding to the bathroom to flush the empty condom. His muscles gleamed under the light.

I listened to the roar of the water going through the entire house and felt like my pathetic, empty life was being flushed away too.

I rolled over onto my side and the tears leaked into my ear.

It was two years before I went out on a date, and when I did it was with Chester, my best friend's husband. Of course, it wasn't so much a date as it was two people pretending they weren't breaking any rules.

After the Martin chapter ended, I moved to a quiet neighbourhood in the hills; the rent was oppressive but I wanted as few memories of him as possible. My next-door neighbour, Carlene, was a woman I had gone to high school with. We'd sat at the same table at the cafeteria for graduation year, trading lunches and horror stories about our lives that were highlighted by the mutual contempt we felt for our parents and siblings. Then we graduated and I never saw her again. Until I moved next-door to her and we picked up right where we left off when we'd been 16-year-old girls. Soon, I was having Sunday dinners at her house, chaperoning her three children to movies at the mall when she and her husband went on date nights, and accompanying the family to the country cottage they retreated to on long weekends and certain holidays.

When Chester asked me to follow him to his boat one day, I pretended that I did not know what the invitation was all about.

This is what I learned from Martin about how love wounds us: rather than making us feel alive, it enervates us, makes us incapable of acting right.



Meet me in Chefchaoeun
By Andrea Chung

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