A Dozing Owl and Tussling Hummingbirds Top the 2020 Bird Photographer of the Year Competition
August 25, 2020

The winning shots from the renowned Bird Photographer of the Year contest capture the mundane moments and extraordinary adventures of our avian neighbors. From a sleepy owl camouflaged by tree bark to a lurching great crested grebe, the stunning birds shown here were chosen out of more than 15,000 entries from photographers around the globe.
The charity organization Birds on the Brink hosted the fifth-annual competition, and profits garnered go directly toward conservation efforts. More Continue reading

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Bright Elephants Squeeze Into Their Surroundings in Site-Specific Murals by Artist Falko One
July 22, 2020

For decades, Falko One (previously) has been transforming blank staircases and piles of refuse around South Africa into homes for his technicolor elephants. Despite their striking hues, each mural is site-specific, allowing it to blend in with the facades and surrounding environments. The artist might position the trunk along a ventilation duct or the torso atop cinder blocks and crates, creating an optical illusion within his vivid murals. “My approach is just to add a bit of color to the space without breaking the scenery,” he tells Colossal. More Continue reading

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Sprawling Roots and Richly Hued Gowns Permeate Mary Sibande’s Postcolonial Artworks
June 15, 2020

The immensity and depth of Mary Sibande’s multi-media artworks reflect the magnitude of her subject matter, which explicitly entwines the enduring effects of British imperialism and the apartheid. Through photographs, sculptures, and sprawling installations that scale floor to ceiling, the South African artist most often features a central Black woman, who is shown enveloped in purple roots or grasping thick, black thread dangling from a nearby portrait.
Named Sophie, the figure’s role is subversive and one that sheds light on the particularly “cruel history of Black female oppression and its implications in contemporary life—in particular, perception and ownership of freedom.” Sophie is dressed in color-specific costumes resembling Victorian-era clothing and often is wrapped in an apron, a garment synonymous with domestic work. More Continue reading

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Illusory Street Typography Pops Off the Wall in Bold Murals by Ben Johnston
April 20, 2020

Toronto-based designer Ben Johnston plays with color, shadow, and perspective to create typography that appears three-dimensional in his site-specific murals. He’s a self-taught designer, spending time in the agency world of South Africa before moving back to his home country of Canada to pursue a freelance career focusing on branding and typography.
Johnston happened upon mural painting when a friend asked him to create a piece for the entranceway of a new office building. More Continue reading

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Humans Stripped Down to Their Circulatory Systems Participate in Urban Life
April 19, 2020

Back in the early days of anatomical illustration (c. 1500 – c. 1800), artists often rendered the human figure within the lavish landscape of the anatomist’s hometown. These historical illustrations are part of what inspired photographer Jan Kriwol and CGI artist Markos Kay to create the photographic series Human After All. The main character is the human circulatory system in the context of mundane urban life—grocery shopping, eating a burger, and even taking a cigarette break. More Continue reading

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