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Soufiane Ababri's vibrant drawings are driven by political activism

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Mequittaahuja-notations-art-itsnicethat-1 Work / Art Artist Mequitta Ahuja's self-portraits shine light on the construction of identity

For centuries, artists have used images to convey ideas about specific identities. The visual language they have used has shaped and moulded how we perceive gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Artist Mequitta Ahuja hopes to shine light on the construction of identity in art through her large-scale self-portraits. “I am African-American on my mother’s side and South-Asian on my father’s side. I use my work to unify my mixed heritage. As I got older, concerns about my identity become less pressing and, instead, I find myself reflecting on self-portraiture as being about the artist as a picture-maker. In other words, I increasingly focus on the artist’s self-portrait as a discourse of representation,” Mequitta tells It’s Nice That.

Rade.list Work / Art Rade Petrasevic reimagines still lifes in his vibrant, large-scale drawings

Whether it’s Paul Cezanne’s The Basket of Apples or Caravaggio’s Basket of Fruit, we’re sure you’ve seen more still life paintings than you can name. But we’re also certain that you haven’t seen a still life quite like Rade Petrasevic’s interpretation of the genre. Rade, who lives and works in Vienna, decided to pursue art after leaving school at 14 as “there was no opportunity to study anything else”. The Austrian artist now spends his time reimagining and revising the traditional still life through his delicate and deceptively simple large-scale drawings of chairs, vases, flowers and sculptures.

Listgb Work / Art Artist Genesis Belanger explores the strange things that advertising conditions us to want

From hot dogs peeping out of handbags and squeezing into strappy sandals to fruit bowls filled with bananas, strawberries and a casual boob, Brooklyn-based artist Genesis Belanger’s ceramic sculptures mix consumer goods with more than a touch of the surreal. Inspired by claymation, cartoons like The Simpsons as well as artists Dorothea Tanning, Louise Bourgeois and Fernando Botero, her work also draws heavily on the advertising industry, where she worked until breaking away to focus on sculpture. “The advertising industry understands the strength of visual persuasion and I find it fascinating that our desires can be manipulated through aesthetics,” Genesis tells It’s Nice That. “I use elements of that persuasive language in my work.”

Listimage2 Features / Art Sound and vision: Parquet Courts' A. Savage on life as an artist and musician

A. Savage is an artist who is always walking the ledge between two creative worlds. The first is a musical one, where he throttles through songs playing in Parquet Courts. But the second is a slower paced painting career, where his enviable talent for building a narrative shifts from songwriting onto canvas. While he has no plans to settle in either camp permanently, his painting studio is “wonderful” the artist tells It’s Nice That. “It’s my favourite place in the world.”

Soufianeababri-art-itsnicethat-list Work / Art Soufiane Ababri's vibrant drawings are driven by political activism

Soufiane Ababri is tired of the status quo. Angry at society’s underlying racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic biases, Soufiane’s work is characterised by a political agency. The Tangier-born artist has been living in France for the past 14 years since studying at the National School of Decorative Arts and completing a master’s at Lyon’s School of Fine Arts. “My drawings tell the stories of the communities in which I belong. I am a homosexual North African immigrant who is part of a small middle class in a postcolonial generation. My experiences are central to my drawings and I hope they can highlight some of society’s stigmas,” Soufiane tells us.

Itsnicethat_diary_june_2018 Regulars / Diary June diary: this month’s must-see events and exhibitions

Whether you’re hitting up grad shows or making the most of longer days taking in one of the plethora of inspiring new shows opening for summer, June is the perfect time to broaden your cultural peripherals. From the V&A’s blockbuster Frida Kahlo show to a design summer school in Galway, there’s truly something for everyone. The It’s Nice That editorial team has picked out ten, five in the UK and five around the world, to help you choose.h3. Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing and Vanessa Winship: And Time Folds
22 June – 2 September 2018
The Barbican, London

Bradley_kerl Regulars / Friday Mixtape Friday Mixtape: Texan artist Bradley Kerl's mix to ease you into a hot humid summer

We’re longtime fans of Texan artist Bradley Kerl. His still lifes are little portals into his own life, gathering bits and bobs together, and there’s always a bunch of calming plants featured too. A couple of weeks ago we published an interview with Parquet Courts’ A.Savage where the artist and musician told us that coincidentally he and Bradley were old pals, they studied painting together and were even a band for a number of years called Teenage Cool Kids.

Andy-baker_nx-worries_music-video_animation_itsnicethat_list Work / Animation Behind the making of NxWorries’ sexy, summery Lyk Dis video with Andy Baker and Robin Velghe

If you weren’t already in the mood for the summer holidays then NxWorries’ latest video is sure to get you daydreaming. Illustrated by Robin Velghe and animated by Andy Baker, and co-directed by the two creatives, the video stars animated versions of Anderson.Paak and Knxwledge as they cruise through balmy LA with the car roof down, checking out beautiful ladies and sunsets alike along the way. Andy and Robin tell It’s Nice That that the project began with both duos chatting and sharing ideas about the track’s themes, discussing retro 90s references, a chilled LA setting and, specifically, a BMW 2002.

Laetitianegre-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photography Laetitia Negre's experimental and disorientating photography

Half-dressed torsos and life-sized leopard-like sculptures, it can be difficult to tell what you’re looking at in Laetitia Negre’s photographs. Her experimental, action-packed images sit at the intersection of performance art, film and photography, inviting the viewer to imagine the snapshot’s preceding and subsequent moments. After working with the likes of Dazed, i-D and collaborating with legendary fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, the French-born, London-based photographer has accumulated an enviable portfolio over the past few years.

Mequittaahuja-notations-art-itsnicethat-1 Work / Art Artist Mequitta Ahuja's self-portraits shine light on the construction of identity

For centuries, artists have used images to convey ideas about specific identities. The visual language they have used has shaped and moulded how we perceive gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Artist Mequitta Ahuja hopes to shine light on the construction of identity in art through her large-scale self-portraits. “I am African-American on my mother’s side and South-Asian on my father’s side. I use my work to unify my mixed heritage. As I got older, concerns about my identity become less pressing and, instead, I find myself reflecting on self-portraiture as being about the artist as a picture-maker. In other words, I increasingly focus on the artist’s self-portrait as a discourse of representation,” Mequitta tells It’s Nice That.

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