ARTiculation | Newsletter

Year 10 Art students shortlisted for the ARTiculation Challenge

Five Year 10 Art students have been shortlisted for the ARTiculation Challenge which is an annual competition dedicated to engaging students and challenging them to express their personal interest and understanding of art.

Students are now invited to submit a 3 minute film of themselves speaking about a work of art of their choice. Judges from the University of Leeds will view the entries, looking at the content, structure, research, delivery and the speaker’s originality before the finial which will be held in June.

Congratulations to our shortlists, wishing you all the very best for the next round!

Rhidita Hassan Ferdous

Shanai Reynolds

Taniyah Islam

Lara Tamayo

Elizabeth Kelly

Rhidita Hassan Ferdous– Shortlisted

The Great Wave off Kanagawa by HokusaiThe Great Wave Off Kanagawa is a woodblock print by the Japanese ukiyo-e (style of japanese woodblock print and painting) artist Hukosai. It was published sometime between 1829-1833 in the late Edo period.  It shows an image of a wave, possibly a tsunami sinking three fishing boats.

Mostly shades of blue and brown are used in this piece, the curved lines on the top of the waves giving a sense that they are looking down on the boats, ready to engulf them. Mount Fuji is a similar colour to the waves – blue and white – and made to look smaller, due to the perspective, it also makes it look like it is going to be swallowed by the wave. The curves of the wave and curve of one boat just low enough make Mount Fuji visible and the top of the wave creates a line leading the viewers’ eye towards it.

The technique needed for this artwork to have been created was a woodblock print – a picture is carved in a large block of wood, once it is carved, ink is spread across the block and sheets of paper are then pressed against it. The Wave is a multicoloured woodblock print made of paper of approximately 10 x 14 inches.

Since the creation of it, hundreds of years ago, there have been many interpretations of the art work. It does not only warn the danger of tsunamis, but also hurricanes and plane crashes that occur in the sea. Seeing as the wave is about to strike the vulnerable humans on the boat down below as if it was a predator hunting for prey, shows the immense power of nature and however much a human can evolve, we will always be inferior to the world around us, humans are always going to be weaker than the unpredictable forces around us. Hokusai’s intentions for this piece could be that humans are getting too arrogant and obnoxious, we are thinking too highly of ourselves and one day, the nature we are forgetting about will destroy our ‘superiority’. Another person may interpret this as a tsunami or hurricane destroying our world that could be a more common occurrence due to global warming and sea levels rising and temperatures increasing, something that increases the likelihood of natural disasters. Overall, I think most people will agree that it shows the vulnerability of humans – we are not invincible, we can be broken.

Shanai Reynolds– Shortlisted

The Nefertiti bust

The Nefertiti Bust was a painted stucco-coated limestone bust of Nefertiti thought to have been made in 1345 B.C. by Thutmose. It depicts an image of Queen Nefertiti, the Great Royal Wife of Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten made out of limestone. The artist has carefully chosen the colours and decoration on the sculpture to represent the subject’s royal   status, the colours being achieved crushing different natural compounds into a powder until they achieved the desired effect.  The surface of the sculpture is moulded to accomplish a life-like appearance as the former queen was and is still seen as one of the most famous women of the ancient world and an icon of feminine beauty. however , the added embellishment to her crown – also known as  the “Nefertiti cap crown”- adds another layer of depth and detail to the already realistic bust. According to David Silverman, the bust reflects the classical Egyptian art style, deviating from the “eccentricities” of the Amarna art style, which was developed in Akhenaten’s reign. The function of the bust is unknown but it is theorized that it may be a sculptor’s modello to be used as a basis for other official portraits. I chose this artwork because it is an in-depth look into the eyes of the ancient world and gives us an insight into the importance of the former queen.

Taniyah Islam– Shortlisted

Mexican Baroque Architecture

Dramatic, bold, ornamental and expressive – these adjectives   describe the characteristics of the once European baroque style that flourished in Mexico during the 16th century. Seen across   colonial Mexico in places of worship like the Catedral Metropolitana,  Sagrario Chapel and Capilla del Rosario to name a few, Mexican artisans have elevated this style into a formidable form of art that is not only highly valued and representative of history and Mexican culture at the time but is also admired by many too.

This elevated spin on regular Baroque style takes it up a notch by incorporating extravagant, decorative elements that juxtapose each other from saints and angels to geometric patterns and flower vases. The use of these almost excessive, fine details further adds itself to the richness of this artform whilst strongly emphasising the unspoken message of ‘el horror vacui – the fear of empty space’ With not only the exterior covered but also the interior, it completely lends itself to be a major focal point in Mexican baroque architecture, making it stand out from any of its European descendants.

Speaking of it’s European descendants, although it may have been bought over, artisans have made it their own by carefully selecting Mexica (Aztec) symbols and motifs to fit criollo tastes. In addition, some may use the red, volcanic pumice of former Amerindian temples that were torn down and rebuilt into Catholic churches further reminding others of the terrible history that made this art form.

It’s true that this style wouldn’t have been possible without the devastation actually caused by colonialism most prominent during the 16th to 19th century. These forms of art remind people of how the brilliance of their countries came about with these inhumane acts, especially us in Great Britain. These forms of art firmly check ourselves and put us into place when people romanticise about living in the past. But first these forms of art give us something to admire and give us hope about what good can come out of the bad.

Lara Tamayo– Shortlisted

Gerrit Rietveld – Rietveld Schroder House

Gerrit Rietveld’s 1924 Rietveld Schroder House is a prime example of the De-Stijl/Neoplasticism style and the principles of these architectural approaches. The De Stijl movement is very much characterized by the use of saturated primary colours, the three primary values, and straight, sharp lines, all of which are present in Rietveld’s work. While these attributes seem quite a limited frame to work within, Rietveld still managed to create a house that stood out from the brown brick houses in the same area. Rietveld makes no attempt to blend the house in with the rest, which is an action I find to be quite interesting, as it provides a stark contrast and demands your attention when looking at the street as a whole.

The facade (front) of the house is composed of different aspects which all have their own individual colours and form. Even though this is the case, the design of the house is still coherent with the individuality of the aspects creating a piece of architecture that catches your eye. The simple shapes that comprise the house juxtapose the decorative Neo-Gothic style present during the time the building was made, which I think symbolises the emergence of the present versus the past.

The interior is just as fascinating as the exterior. The inside of the house is an open and dynamic space with privacy and sectioning made possible through the use of dividers to split up areas. This feature of the house represents the ideals of the client (which was to create space that reflected the openness of a family’s relationship). The method of having an open space with dividers is not something commonly seen in the houses we are all familiar with and presents a new way of thinking, like the De Stijl movement aimed to achieve.

Many regard the abode to have significance not only in architecture, but the spaces in our homes. Analyzing the house has made it easy to see why. It is even a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was described as ‘…an icon of the Modern Movement in architecture and an outstanding expression of human creative genius…’

Elizabeth Kelly– Shortlisted

Megan Rhiannon

Here I’ve explored different artists with autism and found a particular interest in Megan Rhiannon; she has managed to capture elements of her daily life whether it be her point of view on a train or her more inner thoughts like what she’s feeling and how she copes. Rhiannon focuses solely on her chosen subject matter and everything else seems to be white space. For example, you can only see the people she looks at on the train and little of the surroundings around them and I believe she has done this to create a sense of deprivation similar to that which she would experience every day living with autism.

Rhiannon focuses solely on the meaning behind her work rather than the art itself. There is very little to the drawings, only really focusing on what needs to be in the picture rather than the details. She uses very basic line and flat colour to portray what she sees and there is a constant theme of a pale mauve in all of her backgrounds. Her work only includes the elements of art that are line, form, colour, shape and space and the art is completely devoid of tone and texture. The closest thing the audience gets to texture would be the blocks of colour on the train seats that remind you of how they feel under your touch but the work seems quite bland; notice however that it only seems bland.

Some of Rhiannon’s work is written down in what appears to be a notebook that must’ve been scanned into a computer the soft blocks of colour could also indicate that the work is digital and was actually all done from a computer from the beginning. The colours are too soft to be acrylic and aren’t blotchy enough to be watercolour and there isn’t that sheen you would get from colouring pencils when they are blended out really well. The use of a notebook really captures how casual her work is and how she can take inspiration simply from sitting on a train to work but the contrast between paper and blank canvas is really quite interesting and poses the question, how does she decide what is written on paper and why does she alternate between ‘medias’.

I really enjoyed seeing how she has used an everyday notebook to record how she feels on certain topics. When looking deeper into her work, I noticed that the art with the most writing on it is usually scanned from paper and the writing is always about something she’s taken a deep interest to. It’s interesting to see how she has reflected her mental illness into her work; the (untitled) chair piece, for example, shows what facial expression she would make depending on how much pain whether it be emotional or physical she feels and it’s truly disturbing how much hurt it takes for her to even begin to frown. She hides discomfort with a smile and distress with a blank face and this really mirrors how i believe she would tackle such problems in day-to-day life. The audience questions why she didn’t title her ‘chair’ work and it may be because she cannot find the words to describe what it means to feel that way or what significance that chair has for her. She holds onto what she can.