• How to Optimize and Renew Your Workspace for the Summer

    Written by Yasmine

    Let your personality show this summer. While many have returned to the office, some days of the week. We have realized how important our home is for our state of mind.

    Either if it's working, crafting or manifesting our passions; a suitable creative space at home is the way to go. To help us flourish everyday, optimize the area for your mind and soul - here are some ideas and tips! 

    Placement of the desk
    The first thing to look at is the location of your desk. In the guidelines of Feng Shui, place your desk further away from the door. Feng shui believes that a doorway is the opening of energy coming into a room, which means you don’t want to place your desk right in the middle of that stream of energy. It can also help you feel more at ease because you can see anyone or anything that might be approaching. The rule is that if you can’t see the door then you will miss out on opportunities. An interesting way to do it, is try to sit with the wall behind you and the desk out in the roo, and see how it feels. Another doorway to energy is the window, make sure you don’t have the window behind you, since the position means the energy from the window will not be towards you instead will hit you in the back.

    Separate Your Home Office From Your Personal Life
    While we have heard this before, many of us don’t even have the space to divide our workspace, and our personal life. It’s all combined. So instead of trying to keep your work/craft space separate, redecorate it when you are done for the day. Hide your computer and redecorate the space with something simple as a cloth. This will help you concentrate better, keep your home office physically separated from your private life. Not to mention, screening time – try to keep your phone only in the hallway or even leave it in your bag when you get home.

    When you have find a good place for your space. A new thing for the summer is to try different oils that can have different effects on your mood. Grapefruit, oranges, lavender, and rosemary have all different effects on mental alertness.  Aromatherapy has been used for centuries. When inhaled, the scent molecules in essential oils travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain and especially impact the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain. It doesn't need to be hard, The Body Shop, recently launched different oils that you can have on your desk to recharge and take a few seconds to just reload your mind.

    Decoration  Small decorations are a good way to renew your desk. From letter trays and pen cups to desk pads and boxes, desk accessories will help you get everything organized and easy to find - so take the time to find good boxes and pads. So you can spend less time searching for stuff and more time getting things done. Regarding decorating, if you have the desk facing directly towards an empty wall can become a block in your work. Make sure to decorate the wall with artwork, or a vision board that you find encouraging. 

    Effectiveness with Decor
    Adding decor that fits you will help encourage personal growth. Choose pieces that inspire you. Not to mention, technology can make life so much easier. So why complicate things? As the main tool in your work is probably online, and by a computer - ergonomic is super important. 

    To unleash our personality what better way than to go all-in with a POP of color. An important ergonomic detail is a great keyboard and mouse. Logitech’s POP Keyboard, is a wireless and modern keyboard that it’s a statement to your desk space. The Keyboard comes in three different colors, I use the pink shade which me excited for the day, but the best part is the function - helping me exceed my writing work. Having a great keyboard, instead of only working on your laptop keyboard, protects your hands and fingers with important well design ergonomics. 

    An amazing feature is the eight swappable emoji keycaps on the left side, an easy shortcut to your feelings. The Keyboard is not only visual attractive but functional working with both PC and Mac. Use it with the POP Mouse, that easily connects with Bluetooth. Again, a good keyboard takes care of your hands – we all know how we can feel after a whole day of writing on the laptop. Stop it! And invest in a great but also fun decorative keyboard and mouse. 

    Another smart gadget is the Google Nest Hub 2, it’s an incredible friend to have during your days at home. It helps you make those smart and quick changes – play music, reads the news, set reminders. It’s your ultimate assistant. As soon as I come up with a task I should do tomorrow – I simply say ‘’Hey Google, remind me that I need to email Jess tomorrow at 8.00’’, and it will remind me. Or just ‘’Hey Google, could you set a timer in 10 minutes’’. It even tells me when I would need to leave the house to make it to my train. The one small hope I have is that Google will make it wireless soon too, it would be amazing to move it.

    The Google Assistant, the software, is available in an limited range of smart alarm clocks as well. For example tech brand Lenovo has a Google Assistant on their new smart clock 2, which is smaller and connected to a wireless charger – perfect for the bedroom, so it wakes you up in the morning. The very smart thing is that you can connect the Google Nest Hub with the Lenovo Smart Clock 2 through Google – which make you have an assistant in both rooms. For that reason, a great advice is to have the Leonov in the bedroom and then the Nest in the living room – since the Nest have more features, louder speaker and bigger screen. 

    After I started working 10 hours a day in front of a screen, I saw a rapid change in my skin – especially around the eyes. I learned quickly that it probably wasn’t my skincare routine that created my dark circles and small fine lines. It came from the screen and the small rapid movements throughout the day looking at the screen. Since last year, I have been on a HUNT to protect my eyes and skin. I started to use blue-protective glasses from swedish brand GLAS, which fits wonderful as well as making sure always to wear sunscreen and focus on blue-light protection. 

    As we are working from home, we don’t get the same movement and activity as before. Personally, I try to find good ways to stay active, without luck. But I lately found the YouTube channel Growwithjo, which does easy and low-impact workouts – no jumping. For me this is perfect, if you are advance you might think this is to ‘’easily’’ but I promise you will be sweating at the end. And, I use my newly found friend Google to ‘’Play Growwithjoe on YouTube’’. Since, it's summer, just go out for a 10 minute’s walk if possible! Another idea is to get a jumping rope, the rope is a super way to easily get your heartrate up fast.  Hopefully your neighboors wont mind, but please be kind. 

    Greens Color is an easy way to apply Feng Shui principles to your home. It can also be the most effective Feng Shui adjustments because we humans are very visual. A good way to start your summer and change your mood is the color green. The color is connected to the wood element and stands for growth, healing, and vitality. For an instant wood energy hit, try working with clean, vibrant, and grassy greens - why not get some new plants. 

    Sometimes the little things make all the difference, changing the direction of your desk, getting new artwork on the wall, or getting iconic tech gadgets to save your day. Pay attention to the details in your home space — and try to reconnect with your surrounding.

  • Khari Turner in Stockholm. Image courtesy of CFHILL and Ross-Sutton Gallery

    As Below and Above

    Written by Lina Aastrup

    Khari Turner arrived in Stockholm straight from a celebrated international debut exhibition at the Venice Biennale to spend a one-month artist residency in the city. Much like Venice, Stockholm has a unique connection to water as it is positioned on fourteen islands linked by fifty-seven bridges. Art editor Lina Aastrup met him in his temporary studio to talk about the upcoming exhibition As Below and Above.

    Lina Aastrup: The focus on water, is that a recurring theme for your practice?

    Khari Turner: Yes, I use ocean or sea water and mix it with black ink. So, the ink follows the water as it flows until the water evaporates leaving behind this very unique texture that is the base for all my paintings, so materially it is a big part of my process. The topic isn’t always about water though, it can also be about plants for example, finding yourself amongst the trees and feeling small in a vast landscape. However, water feeds the plant so basically you could say I am interested in whatever water touches, which is a lot. Sand, wood, plants, humans.

    LA: Water as a source of life maybe? This makes me think about Astrida Neimanis’ theory of hydrofeminism in which she states that we are all bodies of water and as such we are connected through the fluids we share. In Bodies of Water (2017) she wrote this which I think is so beautiful:

    For us humans, the flow and flush of waters sustain our own bodies, but also connect them to other bodies, to other worlds beyond our human selves. Indeed, bodies of water undo the idea that bodies are necessarily or only human. The bodies from which we siphon and into which we pour ourselves are certainly other human bodies (a kissable lover, a blood transfused stranger, a nursing infant), but they are just as likely a sea, a cistern, an underground reservoir of once-was-rain.” Astrida Neimanis, Bodies of Water, 2017.

    KT: That is literally what I am working with. Thinking of ourselves as bodies of water, how our bodies are largely made up of water and also how water travels. How it moves to locations, what is in it, and what the history of that water is.

    LA: Speaking of historical perspectives on water, I was reading about “voyage iron” which was used as a currency in the transatlantic slave trade, and it was largely produced in the north of Sweden in the 17th and 18th Centuries and shipped by boat to West Africa. Literally travelling the waters outside Stockholm. For many Swedes, who often like to think that Sweden was not involved in the slave trade, the human cost and political impact of this trade is not so commonly known.

    KT: I think everything can become a political conversation in one way or another. For a long time, I tried to fight that in the artwork. There was a time when I thought I would go really political in my work, but then I realised that some people are not ready to have that conversation. And the people who are already having it are making work mostly regurgitating what they already understood. So, I decided I would not do anything political, but anytime I try to present something not political, people would read this or the other into it, so politics is still something I need to relate to. As it turned out, water became a good conduit of that as there is so much history, there is so much potential in terms of talking about, for example, what the transatlantic slave trade means, what water I’m using, where I’m getting it from. This way I can paint freely and think about how the body of water is now reacting to the space that it is in, allowing us to have a conversation about that means for the painting. And I say “us” as in me and the water because I think of it as its own thing. I can only ever manipulate it so much, because however it dries, or looks, is about what the water decides in the end.

    LA: So, you use sea water taken at the different sites of production in your paintings?

    KT: There is water from Sweden in all of the works I created for As Below and Above. For me it is a way to think about place, and my personal space in it. This show is specifically about vulnerability and my imagination of what it feels like to be an artist, to be me, at this very moment. Coming from the Venice Biennale I was inspired to push myself to be more vulnerable. To go beyond my comfort zone and tell a better, more interesting story about where I come from. Like asking: What is masculinity, how do I break the mold of that? The show in Venice, Blue Moon, was an opportunity to honour some of the femme presenting bodies in my life. This new show is softer around the edges, more emotional – not in a sad way, but deeper.

    The regular Odalisque reader will recognize Turner from the “Renaissance Issue” (s/s 2021) where we published a conversation between him and Destinee Ross-Sutton, curator and founder of Ross-Sutton Gallery in New York. As Below and Above marks her second collaboration with CFHILL, the first being the internationally acclaimed exhibition Black Voices/ Black Microcosm in 2020, right at the beginning of the pandemic and coinciding with the massive BLM protests following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020.

    As Below and Above by Khari Turner will be on view at CFHILL in the Main Gallery from June 3 to July 8, 2022.

    Khari Turner (b. 1991, Milwaukee, US) received his MFA from Columbia University in 2021. Other exhibitions by Turner currently on view: “Mirroring Reflection”, solo exhibition at Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) and “Blue Moon” at Palazzo Bembo as part of the Venice Biennale 2022. Represented by Ross-Sutton Gallery in New York. Lives and works in Harlem, New York.


    Khari Turner at the studio in Stockholm. Image courtesy of CFHILL and Ross-Sutton Gallery.

    Khari Turner at the studio in Stockholm. Image courtesy of CFHILL and Ross-Sutton Gallery.
    Khari Turner's temporary studio in Stockholm. Image courtesy of CFHILL and Ross-Sutton Gallery.
  • Yinka Shonibare, “Wind Sculpture in Bronze I”, 2022.

    An Art World Superstar in Stockholm

    Written by Lina Aastrup

    Wind Sculpture in Bronze I” is a dynamic, large-scale work reminding me of a silk scarf caught by the wind. Making a two meter tall bronze sculpture seem light as air is an impressive feat, but knowing Yinka Shonibare CBE is one of the most celebrated artists of our time this comes as no surprise. The abstracted leaf patterns show this is not just any old fabric, but a reference to Dutch wax batik fabrics – a signature motif of Shonibare’s art with a complex colonial history.

    ”The mixed origins of the fabric – factory-made by the Dutch, based on Indonesian batiks sold to Britain’s West African colonies, embraced there and considered in the world’s eyes as authentic African products, make a perfect vehicle to inspire conversations about our multi-layered identities and global interdependence.” - Yinka Shonibare CBE.

    This is however not the first time Shonibare blesses the Stockholm art scene with his presence, he was a resident artist here at Iaspis in 2004. During this very productive time he created the sculpture “Vasa Ship” (2004) for Moderna Museet, a gigantic ship in a bottle where the sails were replaced with Dutch wax batik fabric, symbolising movement and migration, recurring themes in his artistic practice. “I was so fascinated that in Sweden there is this monumental failure that is celebrated in this way” - Shonibare made everyone laugh at the press viewing when commenting on the work and the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. Another work from the same period is the brilliant video work “Un Ballo in Maschera” (2004) based on the killing of king Gustav III and co-produced by SVT and Moderna Museet which was actually Shonibare's first in this medium. 

    Wind Sculpture in Bronze I” will be installed in the Princess Estelle Sculpture Park at Royal Djurgården in Stockholm and will be unveiled to the public on June 2, 2022.

    Yinka Shonibare, “Un Ballo in Maschera”, 2004. Co-produced by SVT Fiktion in collaboration with Moderna Museet.
    Yinka Shonibare, “Vasa in a Bottle”, 2004. Photo by Moderna Museet/Prallan Allston.
    Yinka Shonibare fabrics. Photo by Moderna Museet/Åsa Lundén.
    Yinka Shonibare, 2014. Photo by Marcus Leith RA.