Every month or so, when it’s been my turn to write this series, I’ve searched for a way to fit a comical, high-concept art project called Foodmasku into my theme — but I never succeeded. So this time, I’m ditching the theme and presenting Foodmasku; a brilliant repost account called Black Rhizomes, whose curator I couldn’t quite get ahold of; and three other, unrelated accounts that consistently entertain me, instruct me and cheer me up, but which haven’t quite fit till now.
The New York artist Antonius Oki Wiriadjaja had four shows canceled this year, as well as a long-planned trip to Indonesia to work with shadow puppeteers. But after a chance conversation at a virtual meetup of the arts collective The Weekly Weekly, he decided to spend his spring lockdown making face masks, instead — out of food. Every day he posted a new headshot of himself wearing fried tempeh, a watermelon helmet, quail eggs or a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s a silly idea. But carried out and presented seriously, as Mr. Wiriadjaja did, it’s an inspiring response to the anxiety and isolation of American life in 2020 — or to the anxiety and isolation of virtual life in general. (It’s also a great flashback to the “big broccoli ocarina” that Junji Koyama posted on YouTube in 2006.)
Exploring African identity, as the photographer Sarah Waiswa describes her overall project, is a broad mission. It leaves plenty of room for gorgeous travel shots, evocative scenes — and self-portraits, too, since she was born in Uganda herself and works out of Nairobi, Kenya. But mostly what Ms. Waiswa posts is other people, bringing the same generous attention and expansive frame to every subject, whether it’s a fashion model, a fellow photographer, a vendor on the beach, a pair of boys in soccer jerseys, or simply a Maasai man with fantastic earrings.
The Dutch photographer Rob Hornstra has a knack for taking beautiful pictures of desolation. He’s done lush portraits of highly decorated veterans in the contaminated town of Argayash, Russia, and a long series about a troubled neighbor in Utrecht, the Netherlands. But most recently I’ve been wading through his documentary shots of the breakaway region of Abkhazia. (It is recognized as independent from Georgia only by Russia and a handful of other countries.) Part of the appeal, of course, is seeing a place I’ll likely never visit. But there’s also the special fascination of life in an improvised state: How do they manage to send mail abroad? Will these young wrestlers ever be able to compete under their own flag? It all seems strangely familiar.
A repost account loosely centered on Black music, art and history, Black Rhizomes is extraordinary both in its depth and its range. In one quick scroll you might find an incredible clip of the proto-hip-hop pioneers the Original Last Poets performing on a New York rooftop at the turn of the 1970s; a broadside from India’s Dalit Panther Party, inspired by the Black Panthers; a photo of Carnival in Trinidad, by Maria Nunes, which leads to more photos of the Carnival band Vulgar Fraction; the sculptor Jack Whitten talking about the color of marble in ancient Greece; or a pair of tarot-card-style portraits of two members of the Sun Ra Arkestra. But what makes the feed a creative achievement in its own right is that — like its architecturally themed sister account, Magnetic Ground — it fits every find and quotation in its own consistent aesthetic.
In beach, street or travel scenes, mostly in and around Turkey, Ozcan Agaoglu captures the unmistakable rhythm of jostling elbows. He’s not always shooting a party, necessarily — for every extended family eating watermelon in the country or busy cafe that appears in his feed, there’s a solitary swimmer, too, or a man riding the train with a pocketful of mint. But whatever the driving action of a photograph is, Mr. Agaoglu is comfortable leaving it off center, so that you feel as if you’re peering across a crowded room to see what’s happening on the other side. If there’s a woman entering an apartment building with a handful of balloons, you must be headed for the very same party, right behind her; if the scene is a rainy outdoor cafe in Istanbul, you’re drinking coffee just across the street. Those rhythmically jostling elbows, in other words, are your own.
Follow Will Heinrich on Instagram @willvheinrich.