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A $10 Billion Industry

By Jenny Tang, V Form

A $10 Billion Industry

In many communities of color in Asia, West Africa, and Latin America, fair skin is glorified, and skin-bleaching is as normal as applying lotion.

There is a multitude of causes. In some communities, colorism stems from classism: being tan means you work in the fields and are poor. According, having light skin indicates a wealthy indoor lifestyle and is desirable. In other communities, colorism has deep colonial roots: fair skin of European rulers symbolizes power and calls for worship. Whatever the cause, prejudice against dark skin harms many individuals, both on a personal level by causing shame and on a social level by increasing discrimination. Sadly, despite substantial evidence attesting to the health risks of skin-bleaching, an entire industry of skin-lightening products worth $10 billion continues to thrive today.

The three women in the artwork are Yanusha Yogarajah, Nyakim Gatwech, and Jella, who are all beauty influencers celebrating dark skin. Drawn as standing in solidarity, their confrontational gazes ask us, “What will you do about colorism?” (more…)

Ramon y Cajal Podcast

By Gunnar Vachris, VI Form and Jack Griffin, V Form
Ramon y Cajal Podcast
Editor’s Note: Barb Putnam, Margarita Moreno, and Lindsey Lohwater collaborated to take their Studio II, Adv. Spanish Literature, and Biology classes, respectively, to the MIT Museum to see the exhibit by Santiago Ramon y Cajal called “The Beautiful Brain.” Ms. Lohwater created an assignment with these parameters: Create a final product (infographic, video, podcast, written work) that answers the question “What makes a good scientist?”; the requirements are: Evidence from a minimum of 2 pieces of art seen at MIT; Evidence from Cajal’s writings and the essays written about him; placing Cajal’s work in time and place — What was known before his work about neuroscience? After?; e.vidence from your own research that expands all of this knowledge

Click here to access Gunnar and Jack’s Podcast

or here (more…)

Cerberus: In Dramatic, Dark Lines for Studio Art

By Helen Huang, V Form

Cerberus: In Dramatic, Dark Lines for Studio Art

This pencil drawing is one of many pieces I am making for my concentration in Studio III. In my concentration, I am focusing on mythical creatures in the modern world. For this particular piece, I chose the idea of drawing the Greek mythological creature, Cerberus, but with a modern twist. I made the dog cute and fluffy and set him on a soft blanket with his toys near a fireplace. I wanted to make the whole composition seem cozy and welcoming, which is the opposite of what Cerberus in Greek mythology is like. The shadow of the dog, drawn with dramatic, harsh lines, is a reference to the true nature of Cerberus: scary and foreboding, which contrasts with the cuteness of the dog, drawn with soft, careful lines. I purposely chose this composition because I wanted to show that mythical creatures can evolve into what we want to see them as. Personally, I enjoy the idea of having a cute three-headed dog rather than a scary one, and therefore in my perspective, Cerberus looks like the dog in the piece. (more…)

The Islamic Art of the Calligraphic Manuscript By Muhammad Taqi (1695)

By Jenny Tang, V Form

 

The Islamic Art of the Calligraphic Manuscript By Muhammad Taqi (1695)

Most people, upon hearing art, think of visuals. They recall famous paintings and sculpture. Art, however, has many more facets. Islam, for instance, regards calligraphy and book-making

as the highest form of art. For this reason, a calligraphic manuscript was chosen for this assignment. The manuscript also presents visual elements worth studying. The piece is created by Muhammad Taqi in Persia of 1695 during the era of the Safavid Empire. It is stored in Carnegie Mellon University’s rare books collection. The manuscript has a floral painting cover, a first-page design, and calligraphy. It contains namaz (daily prayers) and verses for Ramadan (the Month of Fasting) written in Arabic[1]. Given its size of 13 by 9 by 1.3 cm, it was probably carried around for prayers. The calligraphic manuscript exemplifies Islamic art by using the elements of floral arabesque, geometry, and calligraphy. Analyzing the manuscript unveils Islamic art’s root in both religion and secular, global influences. (more…)

“Two Worlds”–Drawing with Color Pencil and Gouache

By Leean Li, V Form

“Two Worlds”–Drawing with Color Pencil and Gouache

Made with color pencil and gouache (a type of paint) on bright orange paper, this drawing is called Two Worlds. It examines pollution, part of my concentration topic for my Studio III portfolio. I approached the subject from a third person perspective. Inside the apartment, a couple sits comfortably, while outside is a polluted world which animals have to escape. The depiction reveals a discrepancy between human and animals’ experience with pollution. We never realize the price the ecosystem paid for us to enjoy our daily conveniences, such as having electricity and running water. Additionally, since our general public regard pollution as distant and irrelevant, we often made little effort to change. Nevertheless, to accept a polluted world is our selfish decision, negligent of not only the future of humanity but also of the entire ecosystem. (more…)

Poetry and The Intimacy of Writing

By Madeleine Wass, IV Form

Poetry and The Intimacy of Writing

Since a young age, I have loved writing. At first, it was a great pass time and then developed into a passion. I first learned about poetry in my sixth grade English class, and I then began to keep a journal with ramblings of words that, over time, began to string together. Ever since then, poetry has been with me through tough times. It comes to me the easiest when strong emotions run high, such as anger, sadness, or frustration. Poetry is a wonderful way to channel what I am feeling. My poems can come in many different forms; no way is the right way. For me, it is more about just being able to express what is going through my mind or something that has happened. I also use my poems to record and to remember the feelings I had during an event. When I place my pen on the paper, I just feel the thoughts in my head flowing out. Sometimes they are jumbled and other times they fit well together. My main goal is about capturing what I am feeling while escaping the weight of the world. The following excerpt is from a poem I wrote about a beautiful hike I went on: (more…)