Saturday, November 21, 2015

From student Teba Saleh: Graffitti near the site of the Boston bombing.

On April 15, 2013, two bombs were exploded by the finish line of the annual Boston Marathon, killing three people and wounding more than 260 others. Suspects were 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and 26-year-old Tamerlan. Tamerlan died early in the investigation during a shootout with law enforcement. Investigators eventually discovered that the Tsarnaevs were not connected to any terrorist organizations. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is scheduled to receive the death penalty. My first piece of artwork is actually a picture that I took myself of some graffiti near the sight of the Boston bombing. Written on it are the words “How many bombs will it take to make peace?”  I think about this piece of art all the time. I wonder who made it, how he or she was connected to the bombing, it at all, or if he or she simply felt the pain of it from a distance and felt the need to express it somehow. I suppose I’ll never know and that comforts me for some reason, as if knowing whom it was would be too horrific. Also in way, it makes it so that anyone could have made it, and in a sense then, everyone has made it, and it exists for all people. I don’t believe there is any specific controversy surrounding this graffiti and I can’t imagine why there would be. Its message hits home and points out a major flaw in our society. We as individuals and as a nation claim to want peace yet seem to think the best way to do so is through war. My aunts who live in Boston told me that when the graffiti first showed up, it had many visitors and people would leave candles and wishes and offerings near the location. And when I saw it for the first time, I saw some of this. And it really was moving to see people gather around this tragedy. However, I have since revisited the site of the graffiti and no people just pass in without a second glimpse. The tragedy remains in their hearts but people have moved on. And I think its important that people do so, but its sad to see it be slowly forgotten. 
From student Madison Noall: Effie Pappa, "1.2 Million Children

The NO Project utilizes music, art, dance, film, animation, sport, creative writing and social media to promote human trafficking awareness throughout the youth population. Based in Athens, Greece, the NO Project involves numerous artistic pieces that target modern-day slavery, attracting diplomats, government officials, educators, and leaders across the globe. Effie Pappa, an artist involved deeply within the program, is a National Film and Television School graduate that works with numerous techniques to convey modern-day topics through animation. Born and raised in Greece, she had a significant connection to the NO Project, passionate about educating others about the problems of human trafficking through her animations. Her short film, “1.2 Million Children” has won several awards and has stood as a significant contribution to the NO Project. The short animation illustrates an African child that dreams of freedom but becomes one of the 1.2 million children involved within child slavery. Although the United Nations adopted and promoted the Convention of the Rights of a Child, which recognizes rights of children such as the right to life, vaccination, education, and a loving environment, several children across the globe continue to be violated and degraded. There have been several different approaches regarding child trafficking awareness, yet they often cause controversy due to the explicit, dark content, yet Effie Pappa’s “1.2 Million Children” utilizes a child-friendly, uncontroversial approach to appeal to all age groups, increasing awareness amongst numerous different individuals. This video prompted me to do more research, as I was unaware of the extent to which childhood slavery exists within our global culture. With such a creative, artistic approach to spreading awareness, Effie Pappa has effectively reached out to the community, using her creative talents to create a true visual masterpiece. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

From student McKenzie Zucker:  Civil Rights Memorial, Montgomery, AL, USA

             Maya Lin is an American designer and artist that created the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. She studied architecture and sculpture at Yale and Harvard University. She also designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Museum of Chinese in America along with this memorial. Maya Lin also served as a board member of the National Resources Defense Council and was a member of the World Trade Center Site Memorial design jury.
              During the 1950’s and 1960’s African Americans struggled for equality. In order to gain freedom they participated in freedom rides, marches, boycotts and other protests to fight for their freedom. This was during the same time as the Jim Crow laws, which created segregation in Southern states. Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat to a white man on the bus, and Martin Luther King Jr., who gave his “I have a dream” speech, are examples of individuals who fought for their rights in a nonviolent manner.
              The Civil Rights Memorial was dedicated in 1989 and funded by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Within the memorial there are various pieces of art to resemble this era. There is a granite wall with Martin Luther King Jr., “I have a Dream” speech as well as a 12-foot disk with the dates of the major civil rights era events and the names of the 40 martyrs to the cause. There are several human rights issues involved in this memorial such as: right to equality, freedom from discrimination, right to desirable work and to join trade unions, right to education. Blacks were denied these rights prior to this time and they were unable to attend schools with whites. They were discriminated against and not treated as humans.
              The one controversy that stood out was the inscriptions on the memorials. On the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial one of the quotes that was missing “If”, which was a misrepresentation of his words. This was also present with the Jefferson Memorial as it took quotes, 30 years apart, and combined them together into one quote. The Lincoln Memorial also omits the reference of slavery behind the statue of Lincoln. Although there were words missing or put together, some observers like Doss believe that not all words can be put onto a memorial.
              This memorial impacted a large number of people as it remembers those whose lives were taken away as they were fighting for their own lives. Personally, this memorial was a great way to show all of those who protested for their rights and to show how they impacted the world, creating it to be equal today.