Interview With Gathinja Yamokoski: Owner-True African Art .Com

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So the first time I ‘meet’ Gathinja, she smiling at me from a picture. Yes, you guessed right. The picture above. And then I send her an email immediately because I stole some beautiful paintings from her exotic collections alias True African Art gallery and had to report my theft. (And yes, I take copyrights and permissions seriously. You should too). I found an artist and a friend.

A warm and attentive woman with a heart for Art, Gathinja is not just an artist but an intelligent and shrewd business woman (She knows what I am talking about.lols) and while there was no “Jambo na karibu!” – meaning Hello and welcome in Swahili, we did hit it off. The rest is history they say. I met a beautiful spirit and I would like you all to meet her. A tour of her site would do any art lover good as it feels like an exhibition of………okay, I am going to stop now.

Read her interview with yours truly Unen Ameji on African Love Stories

Unen: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Gathinja Yamokoski. I am the owner of True African Art .Com, an online gallery featuring hundreds of original African art paintings for sale by 60 African Artists. I was born and raised in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, East Africa. I have close ties to my country and family. My last name, “Yamokoski” comes from my American husband who I married in 2002 after he lived and worked in Kenya in 2000-2001. Despite living in New York since 2002, I have travelled back to Africa for about a month almost every year to visit my family, friends, and artists. Keeping in touch with my homeland is very important to me as I love Kenya. I have also found solace and enlightenment in the diversity in the United States. I admire that diversity greatly.

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More About GATHINJA YAMOKOSKI and her works.

Unen: What is your definition of African Art?

I would have to say that African Art is a direct reflection of the cultures found within. I have curated literally thousands of paintings, and many of them contain the theme of working African women. I take that as an expression of the African woman as being the backbone of the African continent, working hard to ensure her family’s needs and wants are met. African art is also very abstract at times, with vibrant colors in much of its work. When asking the artists what they are trying to portray through the colors, many of them say they are showing the positive side of life in Africa and are trying to portray exuberant feelings of happiness for the person viewing their artwork.

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All Rights Reserved -True Africa

Paintings of Sarah Shiundu

Unen: Do tell us about True African Art. What inspired it?

True African Art was inspired by an online void of a solid, well designed website that puts its artists first. We pay our artists well for their work. In return, we do not exploit their pricing when compared to the rest of the art world. Our prices are much lower in comparison. We back this up with a Lowest Price Guarantee . We still have a lot of ideas for an even more deserving website. Now we are most often the online choice for original African paintings because of the keen and caring support for our clients questions, purchasing options, and timely, free worldwide delivery process.

Currently, True African Art is the leading online gallery for buying original African paintings. We’ve had about 1,500 paintings come through our gallery in just over a few years. From those, only a few hundred remain, the rest have sold This includes many copies of Kenya’s Blue Rhino Map prints and small, original painting postcards from Ghana and Kenya. You can read about philosophy of selling African artwork here and about the website through our Home Page.

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Justin Laryea-Beauty of Women

Unen: Prior to launching True African Art. Com in 2009, what art projects were you involved in?

As an artist, back in Kenya, I would tailor clothes for my mom and my friends. When I was dating my now husband, I would make art as gifts for him almost every week. So I was always making and looking at art. After moving to the USA, I kept making art and knew another Kenyan-American couple who gave me the opportunity to work with selling African paintings online and I excelled at that. I am grateful for that role. Unfortunately, the ideas I had to better their website were turned down multiple times. I had so much enthusiasm and belief that the ideas would work! They were still denied. So I was encouraged by the owner to start my own website. I took his advice and am glad I did!

Unen: What was the response like when first launched True African Art. Com?

Well, we got our first sale in just about 1 week after opening the site. At the time it was at a very different design, but fully functional. Soon after we had other artists contacting us to be on the site.

Unen: Is there criteria for becoming an artist on True African Art. Com? What are they?

Our records show that we’ve had 87 African artists submit their art to be on our website, but only 20 of those had the quality and communication skills required for such an international relationship. We need to know that the artist is not only a very skilled artist whose work is different than others, but also that they are timely in delivering paintings to us and answer our calls and texts appropriately.

Also, we can’t buy from everyone all the time. So we often have to tell prospective artists to wait until we are ready to buy more stock. If they are already on the website and they ask us to buy more paintings from them, we sometimes have to wait until their stock depletes more. We have artists from Africa whom we have returned to five times over, while others whom we have bought from, none or only a few of their paintings have sold so we have to have them wait until their stock depletes more before we buy more paintings from them. To see what we officially require from artists, it’s all on the True African Art .Com here.

True African Artists on True African Art .Com

Unen: I suppose a major challenge is in the distribution of purchased works. What channels have you put in place for worldwide delivery and how efficient are they?

Actually, it is very easy. For an African painting for sale that a client wants to buy, they just click the “Add to Cart” button found underneath the painting. This takes them to True African Art’s online shopping cart where they confirm their delivery options. Then, on the next page, the secure Checkout Page, they enter their contact information. They can choose to enter their financial information directly through a credit card or through Pay Pal. For Pay Pal, the Internet’s secure standard for online purchases, a client does not even need to be a member or sign up to use it, they can use it just as a Guest. Either method does not show us their credit card details, but instead, just passes along their payment and shipping address. From there we professionally pack their African paintings, take them to the Post Office, get insurance on the package and then within a week the client receives their artwork. Internationally, packages arrive in about 2 weeks, more or less. The Post Office has never lost a painting or damaged a package. If a customer requests it, they can employ DHL, Fed Ex, or UPS, but they have to pay the carrier costs for those packages. We do not profit from those costs and rarely are they requested as the US Postal Service we offer is at no cost to the client, whether ordering from inside or outside the USA.

True African Art.com

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More Paintings for Sale on True African Art. Com

Unen: Where do you see True African Art. Com in the next 10 years?

With more staff, more artists, more clients, and more experience to continue delivering the best of service and the best of African art for sale.

Unen: What is your favorite pastime?

I like to spend time with my husband, watch TV, read, and talk to friends, family, and artists. I am drawn to anything African!

Unen: What is your take on the commercialization of Art as it experienced now? Is art still the message or is it about how fast it sells?

Well, everyone likes a sale! But what sells is what counts. Are you selling cartoon paintings that will fade over time or are you selling quality work that in the next 100 years, someone will look at it and say, “Wow, where did this painting come from?!” We’d like those paintings to come from True African Art. The art you are currently seeing coming from us and in the future is taking a major shift from commercial art to more collectibles that are harder to find and easier to appreciate.

Unen: How best do we change Africa through Art?

By keeping the message positive. When art is recognized as something that is joyful and not a sad or controversial theme, then it will continue to reflect the momentum of the continent as being a positive force in the world in the face of poverty, disease, and war. True African Art is a platform that stands for this and the faith and love we have for our brothers and sisters in Mama Africa and around the world.

Unen: Thank you for your time Gathinja. We hope to have you here again and very soon too.

For more information on how you can be a True African Artist or get works, visit True African Art .Com.

From me to you,

Cheers.

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Morland Writing Scholarship for African Writers (31-10-13)

New annual scholarship for early career African writers

The Miles Morland Foundation has established an annual scholarship scheme to support writers early in their career. The evaluation panel will include MMF trustees and past participants in the Caine Prize. Up to three Morland Writing Scholarships, each worth £18,000, will be awarded each year to writers of fiction or non-fiction.

Candidates must provide a 2,000 – 7,000 word sample of published work. This may be a complete work or an excerpt. The panel may request further work or information.

The candidate must also submit a brief proposal for new work (excluding work in progress). Work samples, the proposed work and application materials must be in English. Book projects of 80,000 words or more are preferred, as are works relating to Africa. Plays or screenplays are not eligible. The Morland Writing Scholar must produce at least 10,000 new words per month, in order for the Scholarship support to continue. Candidates must have been born in Africa or both of their parents must have been born in Africa.

The Trustees reserve the right to vary the terms and requirements of the Scholarships at their discretion.

Please send submissions by October 31, 2013. The Scholarships will be announced in December 2013 and will run for the calendar year 2014.

All enquiries and submissions relating to the Morland Scholarships should be directed to MMF@blakman.com

The Red Line: Free Short Story Competition with Cash Prize

From Redline To All Writers:

Hello All,

We have started a magazine aimed at encouraging writers to produce quality work in the short story form. Being writers ourselves we found being charged to submit work a bit dry, albeit necessary for the larger prizes. We wanted to fill that gap for writers of the short story who want to have a bit of fun and get some exposure, as well as all-important constructive feedback.

The competitions are bi-monthly, themed, and carry a fifty pound prize. You can find us, and all of the details about how to enter, at http://www.overtheredline.com.

The current theme that we are accepting submissions for is “Urban Stories“.

Thanks,
Stephen and Toby.

And GoodLuck!!!

So you think you are the victim

Foreword: Just because you are female doesn’t make you the victim.

Last week, I posted IT IS A MAN’S WORLD: TAKE A FREE PISS 18+ and got mixed reactions. As is always the case with “gender-based articles”, it is regarded with contempt and often times a taboo on some levels as it is sensed as an attack on persona and long standing codes of conducts of the society. While I absolutely know that not all men are as described in that article, generality was not avoided because balls cancer is not confined to just the loins. If not discovered early and treated as a terminal, the whole body is at risk of shutting down its operations; not just the segmented body part_pun intended #couplesretreat.

I write these things not because these standpoints are the ideals nor do I disregard the societal values with no understanding of the codes of conduct but because I’d rather risk speaking my convictions than develop mouth odor swallow them. These issues are not in shades of white and black. One only tries to identify societal ills, analysis the imbalance and make feeble attempts at correcting them as if one can without force.
These are my Interests and my interests are my Values.

So you really think you are the Victim?

Saudi’s first female film director does not think so and so do I. Read her story here: http://www.npr.org/2013/09/12/221738137/saudi-s-first-female-film-director-says-women-aren-t-victims. I think this widespread misconception about being victims is responsible for the perpetually defeatist stance of women all over the world and also why some women take advantage of this to perpetrate evil, live atrocious and belligerent lives underlined with violence and outright disregard for propriety and responsibility. This school of thought feeds the myth that women are always on the receiving end. It would seem that this school of thought mentally instill fear sensors and negative awareness in women that summarily affects the way a woman sees herself and place in the society. This negative consciousness of being a victim emits inferiority complex and in some cases aggressiveness that does more harm than good. If indeed we are preaching equality, then we must preach it wholly; focusing on purpose, responsibility and contribution and not always playing “the men are out to destroy us and so we must always beware of their treacherous ways” track till it cracks.

I have heard countless times that the first sin you commit is being born a woman. Really? I certainly don’t subscribe to that. I be too much spiricoco believer to no say we ALL for done SIN tru Adam, so na we ALL dey wear dirty necklace enta dis we world so. And why is there a moronic dogmatic double standard when it comes to women abusers anyway? A woman slaps a man and it is the man’s fault. Actually, it is the man’s fault for keeping his face just as it is the woman’s fault for providing the soft cheeks….hehehe but seriously though, there is absolutely no excuse for a woman or man to abuse another human being whether you were goaded or not. Wait…..that sounds like I am never allowed to vent…..Is this the Long Sought Fruit of the Spirit? I certainly hope so.

A woman is a chronic flirt and it is the man’s fault. Maybe it is.A woman acts as a whore alias Biblical King James Version and she takes exception to been referred or treated as one. This reminds me of a female caller #call-in program on CoolFm a Radio station. She asserts that almost all Nigerian females are of the same cloth the female Nigerian BBA 2013 representative is cut from. While I vehemently take exception to this generality (don’t call me up on cervical cancer analogy here), I finally see the point. She is of the same cloth and as such cannot see more than her nose. My point? #feminists should fight for worthy causes and not fight the society for being women. Let’s face it, not all women need saving and definitely not all of them are victims.

It is not surprising to have women abusers. In fact I would go to the length of saying that they are twice as mean and heartless without a heart_pun intended. The society places women on huge pedestal and view them as fragile angels who can do no wrong and I think #feminists might have a lot to do with this truth distortion. Read http://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/how-feminists-corrupt-dv-research/. It mentions that the overwhelming evidence in patriarchal dominance theory may be flawed. I add that researches and eye witness accounts show that partner violence in relationships, domination and control by women occurs as often as by men and is strongly associated with perpetration of abuse by both women and men. Although there are many causes of the persistence of the patriarchal dominance focus, the article reveals that the predominant cause has been the efforts of feminists to conceal, deny, and distort the evidence; #feminist researchers who have let their ideological commitments overrule their scientific commitments. The ideological commitment to the idea that men are almost always the sole perpetrator is the reason why there are readily available published data on male perpetrators and female victims; deliberately omitting data on female perpetrators and male victims. It has been said that this method of concealment and distortion is institutionalized in publications of governments, the United Nations, and the World Health Organization.

There are countless shelters for battered women, programs, initiatives and groups all clamoring for rights and protection of their interests as well as the “treatment programs” for male perpetrators. Since we are all singing the gender-equality anthem and taking the pledge of genderless society, we might as well promote shelters for battered men and treatment programs for female perpetrators. Please do let me know of an institution established to cater to abused men as I am yet to see one. I guess the men are too busy to get justice. Moreover, the issue of whether men will make use of these provisions is another thing #ego.

The constant uproar and brainwashing of the female gender into thinking that they are the bottom of barrels weaker sex does nothing but continuously erase forms of self-respect or value one might add. Always giving them a shoulder to cry on will never stop the plight of women. There! I said it. Every woman should come therefore to the realization of her position and not act as though she is constantly been smothered by men but harness her ability and her gender into a tool to living a meaningful life.
No, you are not a victim.
You are that human that has refused to get up say;
I am a woman
I am human
I am not the victim
I am the one that has just discovered who I am.

Recap of the major Headlines:

The madam versus housemaid wickedness

The wife versus husband abuse and violence

The stepmother versus stepchildren witch-hunt

The lady boss and spitefulness

The prostitute and her scapegoats

P.S: Do I say cheers to the freaking weekend? That has an Esetic ring to it. **winks**

Submissions to When Women Waken

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Thank you for considering submitting to When Women Waken: A Journal of Poetry, Prose and Images.

When Women Waken is an online literary journal publishing fresh voices and art from around the world, primarily, but not exclusively, in English.

What are we looking for?
Fall 2013 Theme: Grief

Grief – As it relates to Self, Relationship, Place, Culture, Nation and World

Overall we are looking for very clear writing, very clear images. We want it to be accessible. Refreshing. Clarifying.
Requirements

To submit please do the following:

Follow us on Twitter at @womenwriters.
Please read and comment on two of our previous pieces. It trains us to comment on each others work, and helps educate you on what we publish, and the culture of community we’re encouraging.
Please consider getting a gravatar at gravatar.com, which includes a picture when you leave comments. It helps people remember you and build relationships with you.
Send in the following:

Your full name as you would like it published. (It’s hard to change a link after it’s published)
A 2 line bio and a 1 paragraph bio in sentence format. (Don’t sweat it, if you can. We just need something for people to know about you
Your submission – prose (less than 1,000 words); poetry (less than 500 words); your own art or photographs at least 800×600 pixils and ideally 300 dpi for a quality look
Your social media and website links – it’s okay if you don’t have any, but it’s very helpful to provide if you do, we are especially interested in women on Twitter, as that’s our main conversation site
If your piece was previously printed, the journal or site your piece was previously published – if so – and otherwise, mention that we can have 1st digital publishing rights for one month
Links to the two pieces where you made a comment

The first issue was published on May 31, 2013 with submissions from writers, authors and artists from Spain, England, Ireland and India, and within the US, from Arizona, New York and North Carolina.
Submission Deadlines

Open submissions. However do not expect to hear back from us until the month of publication.

If you don’t want to wait long to hear from us, submit in the 1st two weeks of the month of publication.

Publication is quarterly at the end of the months of: August, November, February, and May.

submissions@whenwomenwaken.org

Digital Rights

We are requesting 1st Digital Rights exclusive for 30 days, non-exclusive thereafter, when we encourage you to publish it elsewhere, and appreciate a credit and link back to us as first digital publisher.

We prefer pieces which have not been published elsewhere online, by another magazine, blog, journal. (Facebook and your own site are okay.)
Print Rights

We also request **non-exclusive** print rights for the issue in which your contribution is included, as well as a possible “Best of” publications down the road.
Consent

By submitting to the Summer 2013 Issue you are consenting to the rights as listed above.

For more information: http://www.booksbywomen.org/whenwomenwaken/submissions/

And GoodLuck!!!

Art Afrika: Black Communion Poetry Anthology

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ArtBeat Afrika, a contemporary Africa poetry society, calls for submissions from published and unpublished Africa Poets at home and Diaspora.
This anthology, titled: ‘BLACK COMMUNION’ is aimed at showcasing to Africa and the world the work and talents of ‘the new Africa poet’.

ELIGIBILITY
You MUST be an African citizen or from an Africa origin to contribute to this anthology.
RULES
1. All poems must be in English. English poems with few tribal expressions and imageries are also allowed, provided they are accompanied with proper English translations.
2. Collaborations between two or more poets are ALLOWED. Note that a part of this anthology will be dedicated to collaborations among Africa Poets.
3. A poet is not allowed to submit more than 7 poems.
4. Both short and lengthy poems are welcomed.
5. Previously published works are allowed provided they are published in the last two (2) years.
SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
1. Submission should be sent in either the e-mail body or as an attachment.
2. Along with the poem(s), the following should also be sent: Name, Pen Name (If available), Nationality, email address and a short biography.
3. All submission should be address to artbeatpoets@gmail.com.
4. The deadline for all submission is the 30th of September, 2013.
5. Submission to this anthology is FREE.
ABOUT ARTBEAT AFRIKA
Artbeat Afrika is a society founded with the sole aim of ‘the unification of the Africa Poets’. Currently with members from Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and Nigeria, artbeat aims at building ‘the league of Africa Poets’ and serve as loudspeaker to all ‘Black Voices’.
BLACK COMMUNION will be edited by Wale Owoade, a poet and founder of Artbeat Afrika.
Find more information here: artbeatpoetry.wordpress.com
And GoodLuck!!!

Briarpatch Creative Writing Contest (01-12-2013)

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Writing in the Margins
Briarpatch Magazine is now accepting submissions of original, unpublished writing in the categories of short fiction and creative non-fiction for their third annual creative writing contest.
Briarpatch is seeking fresh, creative writing that brings to life issues of political, social, and environmental justice. They want writing from the edges – from new writers who have something important to say, or from longtime writers who can show us a new way of seeing things. They’re looking for bold and courageous writing that pushes the boundaries between fact and fiction, journalism and prose, and that deconstructs tough issues in inventive ways.
Submissions should not exceed 2000 words.
Entry fee:
Your $25 entry fee gets you a full year’s subscription to Briarpatch (regularly $28.95). This fee helps to cover the costs of organising, promoting, and administrating the contest, as well as the cash prizes.
U.S. submissions cost $40 and other international submissions cost $45 to cover the additional costs of postage for your subscription.
Deadline:
The deadline for entry is December 1, 2013. Any entries received after midnight Central Standard Time on this date will not be considered.
Receipt of your entry will be confirmed within three business days. Winners will be notified, and their names published on our website, in January.

Find more information and submit here: briarpatchmagazine.com/announcements/view/creative-writing-contest
And GoodLuck!!!