A Flaming Chair Surrounded by Mirrors: Anna Iltnere quizzes Tom de Freston and Kiran Millwood Hargrave

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I received the following in emails sent to me from Australia and Hawaii. The British artist Tom de Freston and writer Kiran Millwood Hargrave, who live in Oxford, are a talented couple who have been together for over a decade. They were married two years ago in Goa, but spent their honeymoon in the Seychelles. By the time this interview appears online, they will be back in Oxford, having also been in New York. They always have their plate full with beautiful projects – books, and journeys. And sometimes, as in this case, they are not physically together while they happen.

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Peter Collins: People Like Us

“’What do you come from Europe for? To make pictures you take back to England. But my people stay here! Living like this!’ He gestured violently toward a filthy gaunt old woman selling roasted mealies in the gutter, at the queues of lurching drinkers…” as Paul Hogarth packed away his paper, pens and pencils on a hot and dusty Johannesburg street corner he took the brunt of a young black man’s frustration of life in 1950s South Africa. It would set the tone for much of his journey across the continent and beyond wherever the disparity between the wealthiest and poorest was most acute, but Hogarth never shied from recording both extremes, in fact he reveled in it.

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Anna Iltnere: Sea Library

Childhood drawing by Anna Iltnere. A house by the river with blooming water lilies.

Before going to sleep I walk down to the river for a swim. With my nostrils slightly above water, I watch the ducks moving among the water lilies. The lips of invisible fish blow circles into the surface on the other side. Cut grass and cold dew stick to my bare feet as I walk back. I wash them away, kiss my boys goodnight and climb into bed to read and to dream.

If I wake up before the others, I push my bike out of the garage and cycle to the morning sea, three miles away. It’s a gulf, to be honest, but we still call it the sea, the Baltic Sea, a tiny inner pocket of the Atlantic Ocean — where it hides what’s dearest, I imagine. There’s almost no salt in the Baltic Sea, they say, but my tongue still tastes it on my lips and my skin  when I leave gravity behind with my clothes on the shore and surrender my body to the waves. When I’m dressed again, I explore the white sand with my fingertips and put a couple of stranded splinters, tiny dark brown pieces of driftwood, in my pocket, stamp souvenirs from my own little journeys traversing same paths every day. I am a sea librarian now.

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Excerpts from an Artist’s Notebook: Finn Lafcadio O’Hanlon’s Lebanon

Lebanon is a chaotic and at times absurd place, where power can run for only a few hours, rubbish is ignored and traffic doesn’t move. But a new generation of Lebanese is emerging, reshaping their cities and country despite their past conflicts and incompetent politicians. The uncertain future is almost more exciting than its ancient past.

Diary pages with Immigration form. The people at the border couldn’t of been nicer.

This collection of photos and diary pages traces the country from Tripoli in the north to Tyre in the south.

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كارول صنصور: بيت نينا

في أواخر الثمانينيات وأوائل التسعينيات، بينما كان الفلسطينيون يعيشون الانتفاضة الأولى ثم تشكل السلطة الفلسطينية، كانت الناس أخلاقها عالية.
في مدينتي الصغيرة بيت جالا، تمكنت امرأة تدعى نينا من أن تجد نفسها شخصًا غير مرغوب فيه على الرغم من قوتها وعلاقاتها المتينة بالمدينة وشيوخها والعديد من كبار المسؤولين الفلسطينيين والإسرائيليين.
تقول القصة إن نينا كانت تدير بيتا للدعارة في قلب المدينة (حرفيًا بجوار البلدية والبنك الإسرائيلي الوحيد لؤمي، والكنيستين الأورثوذكسية واللاتينية، ومكتب البريد ومطعم الدجاج الشهير قعبر ومدرستي).
عندما كنتُ طفلة كنت أسمع دائما النساء والرجال يذكرونها بتكتم ويلعنون اسمها وحضورها في المدينة: “إنها مصدر للعار والقذارة”. وكنت كثيرا ما أسرق النظرات عندما أمر من أمام بيتها متمنية رؤيتها على الشرفة في طريقي إلى المدرسة.

استمر في القراءة

Youssef Rakha: Cairo Glass (Ongoing)

“Now, if you’ll only attend, Kitty, and not talk so much, I’ll tell you all my ideas about Looking-glass House. First, there’s the room you can see through the glass—that’s just the same as our drawing room, only the things go the other way. I can see all of it when I get upon a chair—all but the bit behind the fireplace. Oh! I do so wish I could see that bit! I want so much to know whether they’ve a fire in the winter: you never can tell, you know, unless our fire smokes, and then smoke comes up in that room too—but that may be only pretence, just to make it look as if they had a fire. Well then, the books are something like our books, only the words go the wrong way; I know that, because I’ve held up one of our books to the glass, and then they hold up one in the other room.

“How would you like to live in Looking-glass House, Kitty? I wonder if they’d give you milk in there? Perhaps Looking-glass milk isn’t good to drink—But oh, Kitty! now we come to the passage. You can just see a little peep of the passage in Looking-glass House, if you leave the door of our drawing-room wide open: and it’s very like our passage as far as you can see, only you know it may be quite different on beyond. Oh, Kitty! how nice it would be if we could only get through into Looking-glass House! I’m sure it’s got, oh! such beautiful things in it! Let’s pretend there’s a way of getting through into it, somehow, Kitty. Let’s pretend the glass has got all soft like gauze, so that we can get through. Why, it’s turning into a sort of mist now, I declare! It’ll be easy enough to get through—” She was up on the chimney-piece while she said this, though she hardly knew how she had got there. And certainly the glass was beginning to melt away, just like a bright silvery mist.

Text from Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Alienation: A New Chapbook by Mahmoud Almunirawi

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Click the image to access the PDF

Sometimes I think about praying

Maybe in congregation with other Muslims

Afterwards, I would call my mum and tell her:

People liked my voice when I recited the Qur’an

This happens again and again

But I haven’t done it a single time since I left home

I did not even call and ask her how she is…

Mahmoud Almunirawi defines this PDF as an album of overexposed images of architecture and poems “written during my 5 years in Sweden. Together,” he writes, “they form an abstract biography of life events.” тнє ѕυℓтαη’ѕ ѕєαℓ, which posted some of these poems in the original Arabic, was not involved in editing the English text, which was translated from Arabic by Slimen Zougari.

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