Posts by: MT

Anna Coleman Ladd: Sculpting and Painting to Heal

It is rarely that one takes on a task much greater than one would anticipate. Responding to the horrors inflicted by large scale conflicts in the first world war, American sculptor Anna Coleman Ladd reached out to the most vulnerable soldiers – the ones who faced life altering disfigurements wrought by flamethrowers, shrapnel and bullets. Of all the disfigurements, facial ones wreak the most havoc – the psychological and social impacts of which are most devastating. In 1917, Anna Coleman discovered portrait masks pioneered by British sculptor Francis Derwent Wood (who later, went on to teach sculpture at the Royal College of Art.) Francis Wood made prosthetic pieces from extremely thin galvanized copper for disfigured British soldiers inside of a place called the ‘Tin Noses Shop'(officially ‘Masks for Facial Disfigurement Department.’) Read More…

Temple and Ingrasci: Living on One Dollar | 2013

Not quite poverty porn, but at best an experiment in hardship. Chris Temple (from New York), Zach Ingrasci (from Seattle) and film-maker friends Sean and Ryan – privileged white young American college students studying International Development at the Claremont McKenna College, decide to spend a summer at the rural Guatemalan village of Peña Blanca where a majority of the population are pegged much below the ‘poverty line.’ The daunting realities of existing through zero to no income, the hardships of deprivation of proper shelter and nourishment, drinking water and health amenities, makes them more than realize as to how more than a billion people around the world persist through the grim less-than-a-dollar-a-day. Read More…

Andō Hiroshige: The Sixty-Nine Stations along the Kisokaido

As a committed admirer of Japanese wood block printing ‘Ukiyo-e‘, I chanced on the evocative, remarkable prints of Andō Hiroshige much later, overshadowed as his work was, by the more towering and venerated Katsushika Hokusai. Much younger to Hokusai, though his contemporary, Hiroshige (along with Kunisada) remained one of the most prolific ‘story-tellers’ of 19th C Edo period Japan till his ‘retirement’ as a Buddhist monk, and subsequent premature demise. Hiroshige is in his most communicative space when working on themes around peopled landscapes, in weaving in human activities around evocative topography and elements of the natural order. Read More…

Emil Cioran: Nihilism as affirmation in the face of inevitable Annihilation

My first brush with the relentlessly dark and bleak vision of Romananian writer-philospher Emil Cioran came by way of the pages of the fascinating ‘A Short History of Decay‘(tr.), his first publication written in French, an outcome of the churning of many a long year. Cioran’s philosophical stance (although he probably would have balked at such an assumption) is to be able to embrace all that has been made taboo by occidental civilizations’ zealous championship of the pursuit of happiness as one of the vital life goals. Pessimism and cynicism and other such realist impulses have curiously been shrouded with a range of negative connotations, for, the pursuit of happiness is such a powerfully embedded psycho-socio-cultural construct. In all of this, Cioran is pretty much the elevated insomniac, a traverser between dawn and dusk, good and evil, despair and ecstasy – his remarkably astute, often dark wit laced writing conjures reality without any foundation and mascara, scars are made visible, and in the best of traditions of negation and nihilism, his body of work is a slap of awakening for all conscientious humans struggling to come to terms with the brutality of everyday existence. Read More…

Handmade visual opulence: Truck Art from Pakistan

The vernacular idiom of the visual language I have always had a persistent and abiding admiration for. Familiar enough with the wondrous personification, floral ornamentation, and the acerbic wit of truck art in India, I find the visual dialect of our South Asian counterparts in Pakistan decidedly fascinating. Truck-owners and drivers are certainly not subtle about making their presence felt on the roads, and the pride of ownership and the joy of what becomes home for long months, is made evident by the eye-grabbing image making, structural ‘additives’ and ornamental accessorization. Read More…

University of the Arts London Postgraduate Scholarships, UK, 2017

University of the Arts London (UAL), UK, offers the following range of courses: Communication and graphic design, 3D design and product design, Accessories, footwear and jewellery, Animation, interactive, film and sound, Architecture and spatial design, Business & management, and science, Curation and culture, Fashion design, Fine art, Illustration, Journalism, PR, media and publishing, Photography, Textiles and materials, Theatre, screen and performance design.

Scholarships are offered in all the departments across the University. For 2017, there are 33 scholarships on offer as part of the UAL Vice-Chancellor’s International Postgraduate Scholarships. There are two types of scholarships, each with different eligibility criteria. One offers a £5,000 tuition fee remission (25), and the other a £25,000 award (8) and accommodation generously provided by International Students House (ISH). Read More…

Fumio Sasaki: Goodbye, Things (On Minimalist Living)

How often have you gotten about clearing the clutter in your life? Not very frequently I am sure and whenever you have, you would have probably dug up, re-discovered, discovered Things that you have accumulated over years and maybe decades, giving in to our seemingly endless patterns of consumption – relentless and perpetual. So, we have populated our rooms, homes and houses with Things – Things that are not necessarily of any utility or functionality any more, just more of storing, hoarding, and bringing in more Things to add to what is already there. Read More…

Sylvain Chomet: Les Triplettes de Belleville (2003)

I come back to Sylvain Chomet and Evgeni Tomov‘s ‘Les Triplettes de Belleville‘ every once a while to participate in and relive a cinematic experience that is quite unlike any other. Dark, idiosyncratic, powered by memorable flights of imagination, while reveling in it’s oddly humourous, grotesque and irreverent universe. It is also a lesson in the possibilities of the animation film, that, when technical brilliance weds inventive storytelling, you leave behind a cultural artifact that attains significance on it’s own strengths. A visual style of part graphic novella meets comic strip, and part European caricature brilliance, the cinematic space becomes uniquely ‘mythicaly’ evocative, and the remarkable characters of Madame Souza, Champion, Bruno and the Triplets themselves, linger in memory long past the final credit roll. Read More…

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