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From the moment I turned a corner in Miami, on a one-day trip, and spotted what I’d gone in search of – Faith47’s Multum in Parvo, a woman with her head bowed and arms cupped together in service/suffering – I was captivated. The piece was for a series of artworks done specifically by women artists for Wynwood Walls. Being from South Africa means I’d seen Faith’s (not her real name) work in Cape Town, where she’s from, before. But there was something about seeing this piece here on a wall in the US that struck me.
I don’t know if it was the sheer size – seeing the emotion of the woman’s body language loom so large – but it took my breathe away. As have many of her other pieces. Witness the swans in flight of The Psychic Power of Animals on Broome Street in Soho or the birds in migration of Estamos Todos Los Que Cabemos in Harlem, which reminds us that nature ignores the lines we humans draw on a map. And every time I see another work of hers go up in other parts of the world, I make a mental note to visit them should I venture to those spots any time soon.
I’m thrilled, then, to have been able to see Faith bring her works to the walls of the Jonathan Levine Gallery in Chelsea. It’s her first solo US show, but a continuation of one she started in London last year. Aqua Regalia 2 seeks to cast a new light on items that seem to be of mundane value. So in taking cardboard signs that would’ve been held by those in need and lottery scratch-cards that would’ve been held by the hopeful, and putting putting them under the gaze of a divine goddess of sort, she transforms the ordinary into so much more. Her animal and feminine figures are here in the exhibition too – I’ve never quite looked at hands before, the way Faith gets me to look at them.
Though her works here may be confined to a smaller canvass this way, they’re no less as breath-taking.




Aqua Regalia 2 is on until December 19 at the Jonathan Levine Gallery. For more on Faith47, visit her site

Shia LaBeouf spent most of this week in a darkened cinema, making it out just in time for the release of Missy Elliott’s hot new single. Coincidence…probably! But there’s nothing that could top the pop rocket that Missy  launched this week in the shape of her new track, WTF (Where They From). It had me so excited I forgot to mention in this week’s edition of The Rundown that her forthcoming album is the first we’ve had from her in a decade; she has released singles in that time. But still – it’s big news! That she worked with longtime collaborator Dave Meyers on the video – complete with a disco-ball suit, puppets and laser lights – is even more satisfying. And, as NPR’s Ann Powers says, we’re glad to have her back, purely for the style and substance she brings to pop and hip hop.
Other stories worth knowing this week include the release of comedian Aziz Ansari’s new Netflix series, Master of None, and the movie Brooklynwhich has been garnering great reviews. Aziz manages to capture issues not often talked about on a TV series, and he tackles race, relationships in the millennial era and friendship with nuance, respect and best of all, humour. It’s an endearing series and the music that features at the beginning of each episode – a snippet of a different song for each one – is an inspired touch. Also big in TV news this week, as the questions swirl around Glenn’s fate in The Walking Dead, Jeffrey Dean Morgan joins the cast as mega-enemy Negan. Denny Duquette goes dark! (I know Jeffrey’s been in a number of movies too but he left a mark on my heart as Izzy’s doomed love in Grey’s Anatomy).
As for Brooklyn, Saoirse Ronan gives a delicate, moving performance as an Irish immigrant who moves to Brooklyn and falls in love. Aside from the beauty of the cityscapes, the film touched a nerve in me, as someone who’s moved to NYC from another country. It may be set in the ’60s but the feelings it conjures up are ones felt in any era.
Bringing pop culture and history together is something artist Deborah Kass likes to do, and she’s done it with her first public piece, YO/OY, located in Brooklyn Bridge Park. I like the way it plays on the cultural slang of the city.

The route I took started from Miss Lilly’s on Houston and travelled across the Manhattan Bridge (a tough but rewarding run!), and down to Brooklyn Bridge Park. The bridge is always a challenge, but its views make it worth it!

A film about sexual abuse is never an easy sell. But in the hands of the right director and the right cast it has the ability to make you empathize with those at the centre of the story, or perhaps even offer some degree of healing and catharsis. So it is with Die Ek, Anna, an Afrikaans-subtitled film, and the third feature, from South African director Sara Blecher that opened strong at the South African box office this past weekend. It’ll begin showing at film festivals around the world later this week.
It is a story about a girl who shoots her step-father after years of abuse. It’s no spoiler to relay this because it is part of the trailer, and indeed the fictionalised books upon which the film is based, Anchien Troskie’s biographical novels Ek Anna and Die Staat ten Anna Bruwer. The film stars Charlene Brouwer as the adult Anna Bruwer and newcomer Izel Bezuidenhout as the young Anna, with Morne Visser as Danie du Toit as Anna’s stepfather. It’s a testament to Visser’s ability to get under your skin that audiences will find he has come a far way from the comedy series SOS that once ruled the TV-waves. 
Dis Ek, Anna unravels for us the how and why of the murder. Like the rainy road Anna travels down in order to commit the crime, the film drives into the not-so-clear territory of taking the law into one’s own hands, accountability, love and the need to protect one’s own soul. There is much that watching Dis Ek, Anna, will lead to talking and thinking about. It’s a story that could so easily be walked away from – face turned away from the screen, but under the deft hand of Blecher, together with her cinematographer, Jonathan Kovel, it becomes a piece of art that wrestles with itself, as Anna finds her voice and her identity.
“This isn’t Hollywood, Anna,” our protagonist is told during the court case, and while this story may be a specific one, based within a conservative Afrikaans setting, it isn’t either, and it doesn’t need to be. Seek it out if you happen to be at The Africa in Motion Festival in Scotland, or the Royal African Society Film Festival in London next month, or any other place showing Dis Ek, Anna.

 For more, read an interview with Sara Blecher here.