from the memoirs of Fourth Plinth artist Samson Kambalu to a history of art through the ages without men
The Jive Talker or How to Get a British Passport, Samson Kambalu, September Publishing, 336pp, £12.99, pb
The artist and academic Samson Kambalu has a blast winning the commission to occupy the fourth plinth with his Antelope sculpture due to be unveiled next month in Trafalgar Square, London. The coin recreates in bronze a 1914 photograph of Pan-Africanist John Chilembwe and European missionary John Chorley. This updated memoir, featuring a new 5,000-word introduction, traces Kambalu’s childhood in “Malawi’s music-filled towns,” the son of an “alcohol-drinking intellectual father and a convent-educated miniskirt”. Kambalu’s works include sacred ball (2000), a football wrapped in Bible pages that was hit at various locations including Chancellor College, University of Malawi.
The History of Art Without Men, Katy Hessel, Penguin, 512pp, £30, hb
Katy Hessel casts her net on art history, presenting an alternative art history that eliminates patriarchy (Hessel is a leading figure in the field of gender disparity, launching an Instagram account in 2015 that has celebrated “women artists on a daily basis”). In an Instagram post, Hessel explains how the “book aims to tell the story of art with pioneering non-male artists who led movements and redefined the canon.” The book begins in the 1500s and ends in the 2020s, exploring and introducing “a myriad of styles and movements, interweaving women, their work and their stories”. Featured artists include Renaissance painter Sofonisba Anguissola (1535-1625) and American folk artist Harriet Powers (1837-1910).
The Color of Time: Women in History 1850-1960, Dan Jones and Marina Amaral, Pegasus Books, 432pp, $39.95, hb
Brazilian artist Marina Amaral brings famous women of the 19th and 20th centuries to life in this insight into the female experience in modern history. Historian Dan Jones assesses the impact of famous figures such as Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, English social reformer Florence Nightingale and activist Emmeline Pankhurst, with visual input from Amaral who describes herself as a “digital colourist “. In a statement on his website, the artist describes his technique as “breathing life into the past”, involving “careful historical research to determine the colors of the objects depicted”. Amaral selected 200 black and white photographs taken between 1850 and 1960 and colorized them, providing a vivid backdrop for Jones’ analyses.
Winslow Homer: Force of Nature, Christine Riding, Christopher Riopelle and Chiara Di Stefano (Eds), National Gallery Publishing, 128pp, £18.99, pb
The 19th century American artist Winslow Homer has been overlooked to some extent in the UK. An upcoming exhibition at the National Gallery in London (September 10-January 8, 2023) highlights the Massachusetts-born painter who has explored relevant contemporary subjects. such as race, nature and the environment. The accompanying catalog highlights Homer’s vast array of geographic themes and settings, from the American Civil War and the battle between life and death to the physical vastness of the landscapes of Florida, the Caribbean and of the Bahamas. “Presenting a selection of masterpieces spanning his entire career, this book also addresses the complex social and political issues of Homer’s era and how the artist sought to engage with them,” a statement from the editor.