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AYO Spring Term - Edition 2 - 2021

Welcome to our 2nd full edition of AYO. The first edition of AYO has been extremely successful with over 120k visits since Christmas!!

AYO (Artists Youth Magazine) is produced to celebrate all of the Arts that take place within our fully creative curriculum at LPGS but also in the wider, public, community in which we all live. If you ever wish to share an article about the Creative Arts with the community via AYO then please do contact us at any time - ef@lpgs.bromley.sch.uk.

Well our team of dedicated creative minds have been hard at it this term and have sought to find and bring you articles of great interest across the broad area of the Creative Arts.

In this edition the team's main focus is Black Lives Matter. They wanted to share with you the innate power of the Creative Arts as a tool to stand up and be heard. A voice that transcends the limitations of institutionalised racism, fear and hate. A voice that has the power to bring everyone together in the spirit of universal understanding and respect of history, culture and diversity!!

Selma by Francesca D

Directed by Ava DuVernay, this incredibly moving story of the civil rights movement lead by Dr Martin Luther King Jr, depicts the extraordinary struggles of the fight to gain voting rights with full liberty in America. Set in 1965, the dramatization follows the actions of the civil rights movement located in Selma, Alabama, USA. Before the movement, voting for black citizens was legal however almost impossible to accomplish due to a variety of institutional racism and unreasonable methods to place votes. For example, voting in some areas of America was enough to be fired from a job for black citizens, according to Alabama state senator Hank Sanders.

When the movement in Alabama carried out a series of peaceful protests, they were faced with violence, extreme racism and denial.

Even Dr King himself struggled to acquire authorisation for the groups to progress from the president, Lyndon B Johnson.

The film itself replicates the turmoil both the movement on a whole suffered and strived for, but also a mix of individual stories that arose from the events included, such as Bloody Sunday in 1965, the march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery in commemoration of the brutal murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson who was shot by troopers of the police force on February 18th, 1965.

Personally, the film was extremely fascinating and insightful to the work of thousands of civil rights activists, and afterwards I felt moved by the story and quite emotional. It is a film rated 7.5/10 (IMBb) and a 12 for viewers. I would highly recommend, especially if you, like myself, share a particular interest in the civil rights movement for equality on the basis of race.

The Grass is Singing - by Doris Lessing - a book review by Francesca D

Recently I read this extremely captivating and fascinating novel by Doris Lessing. By the end I was astounded by the depth the book reached, and actually decided to re-read it.

The book itself is set in the 1940’s and deals with very strong ideologies to do with racial politics and gender roles in Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe). The story follows a young woman named Mary who grows up in a South Rhodesian town and soon gets married due to her fear of societal pressures around her. It then focusses on her life with her husband on a broke and almost ruined farm. About two thirds through, the story shifts focus more on the relationship between Mary and her black houseboy whom she holds terrible prejudice against due to the colour of his skin and social position. Personally, the harshness of the description Lessing provides acted as a shock when I first read the book through, however on the second time round I was able to appreciate the realism of the struggle faced by all the characters in the novel.

After I finished the book for a second time I decided to paint my perception of the farm described vividly in the novel twice for both times I read the book and to represent my changed understanding of the topics presented.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to any fans of Malorie Blackman or John Steinbeck. Also the book was made into a film in 1962 which was equally enjoyable to watch!

Small Axe is a British anthology film series, created and directed by Steve McQueen. The anthology consists of five films which tell distinct stories about the lives of West Indian immigrants in London from the 1960s to the 1980s. Two episodes of the series were selected in the official competition of the 2020 Cannes Film Festival. The series premiered on 15 November 2020 on BBC One in the United Kingdom and on 20 November 2020 on Amazon Prime Video in the United States.[2 The title references a proverb – "Small axe fall big tree" or "If you are the big tree, we are the small axe" – that was popularised by Bob Marley in his 1973 song "Small Axe".

Steve McQueen

Sir Steven Rodney McQueen CBE (born 9 October 1969) is a British filmmaker and video artist. He is known for his award-winning film 12 Years a Slave (2013), an adaptation of Solomon Northup's 1853 slave narrative memoir. He also directed and co-wrote Hunger (2008), a historical drama about the 1981 Irish hunger strike, Shame (2011), a drama about an executive struggling with sex addiction, and Widows (2018), an adaptation of the British television series of the same name set in contemporary Chicago. In 2020, he released Small Axe, a collection of five films "set within London’s West Indian community from the late 1960s to the early ’80s".

For his artwork, McQueen has received the Turner Prize, the highest award given to a British visual artist. In 2006, he produced Queen and Country, which commemorates the deaths of British soldiers in Iraq by presenting their portraits as a sheet of stamps. For services to the visual arts, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2011. For 12 Years a Slave, he won the Academy Award for Best Picture, the BAFTA Award for Best Film, the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama, and the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director. McQueen is the first black filmmaker to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

In 2014, Time magazine included McQueen in its annual Time 100 list of the "most influential people in the world". In 2016, he was granted the British Film Institute's highest honour, the BFI Fellowship. McQueen was knighted in the 2020 New Year Honours, for services to film. In the same year, McQueen was awarded the Award for Cinematic Production by the Royal Photographic Society.

Historical Racial Bias

As a teacher of photography and digital media its crucial for me to understand how historical racial bias can interfere in true representation of people and events.

This video is an informative introduction into the issue of racial bias right down to the technical elements of the art form. In particular how the materials and techniques used in analogue film and photography between 1940 to 1990 had no consideration for diverse skin tones.

Professor Lorna Roth, a contributor to this short, has researched the evolution of skin tone imaging. She explained in a 2009 paper how the older technology distorted the appearance of black subjects:

"Problems for the African-American community, for example, have included reproduction of facial images without details, lighting challenges, and ashen-looking facial skin colours contrasted strikingly with the whites of eyes and teeth."

As we are hearing more about inclusive representation in film, in storytelling and characterisation, it’s important to recognise how ingrained bias can be within the industry. - Ms O'Toole

Kara Elizabeth Walker

BIOGRAPHY - Kara Elizabeth Walker (born November 26, 1969) is an American contemporary painter, silhouettist, print-maker, installation artist, filmmaker, and professor who explores race, gender, sexuality, violence, and identity in her work. She is best known for her room-size tableaux of black cut-paper silhouettes. Walker has been the Tepper Chair in Visual Arts at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University since 2015.

The Truth About Lies - Tracey Darnton - a book review by Francesca D

I really loved the concept of this story following the journey of a girl with a photographic memory. The science behind the fiction was especially interesting and I just adored the protagonist’s sarcasm through each obstacle she faced. The story followed Jess, a teenage girl who creates a whole new identity for herself after she experiences heavy trauma as a child lab rat in multiple science experiments that tested the limits of her memory. The story is told from her perspective and explores identity, relationships, trust and PTSD. I really enjoyed how the tale encompassed the reader into the emotions stimulated by Jess’s own thoughts. Having the story told only from her perspective really helped the reader to step into her shoes and walk the story as she did. On a whole, a great read and definitely one to recommend to fans of “Toffee” by Sarah Crossan and “A good girl’s guide to murder” by Holly Jackson.

Lost in Music - by Lucy H

Hello and thanks for looking. I'm Lucy H and I make all of the playlists for AYO magazine, what you are reading right now!

Who submits the songs?

In short, all of you. Teachers, students, classmates. A variety is picked, and everything is added, and a form is usually open!

Why are you doing this?

Well music is one way of art, and making a selection of songs to listen to is the best way to find new songs. Like a tapas.

I used soundcloud last term but this term I am using spotify as it has more original tracks and more customisation.

I may create more playlists, but this termly one will be the main focus.

Animation Corner- by Emma W

This time it's a quick tutorial on some of the features of Flipaclip! Flipaclip is a relatively simplistic animation program on iOS and Android, and is definitely a good starting point for animation. And it's free (but there is a premium subscription)!

Drama Department

Despite the adversity last term, our Drama students were able to produce some stunning practical work. Here is a selection of some of the pieces. The Yr 13’s have monologues coming up soon and we look forward to sharing these with you in due course.

Dance Department

LPGS Snow Day! - This video features dancers from Sixth Form and GCSE. We all were lucky enough to have a snow day at the start of the year and to celebrate in the dance department we challenged the students to film their favourite elevation and turn in slow motion out in the snow.

GCSE Dance at LPGS - This is a snapshot of all the exciting opportunities your child gets to experience on the GCSE dance course here at Langley Park School for Girls. This video features dancers from KS4, KS5 and those who have not selected GCSE dance but still like to be involved with the extra-curricular activities. You will see excerpts from our technique classes, live performance preparation rehearsals and our extra-curricular programme.

Sixth Form 2021 – The Show Must Go On! - This video features our wonderful A Level and Level 3 Dancers here at Langley Park School for Girls. This year has been one of the toughest for all and we as dancers have not allowed to be together for a year. They took on the challenge to create a piece of dance for camera which that still enabled to perform with each other as an ensemble. The Sixth Form Company created all the movement that you see in this video, decided the structure and the aural setting. I hope you’ll agree with me that they all did a fantastic job!

The Music Department

In the first week back in school, we held GCSE and A-level recitals to allow students to be accompanied on piano where required which they had obviously been unable to do during lock down. It was an incredible feeling to come back and hear live music making for the first time and it drew the attention of quite a few members of staff who heard it whilst passing the Main Hall! The students performed fantastically which goes to show that they must have put their extra time at home to good use. Enjoy a taster from each evening…

THE EDIT - ADOBE/SKY PROJECT

Many students have been joining the Visual Arts Department via TEAMS online on a Wednesday evening as part of our enrichment programme. The students have joined Greg Hodgson from Adobe who has taken them through a process of learning some great Adobe digital tools in order for them to put together short awareness films about waste, pollution and climate change and the impact that this is having on our environments both globally and locally.

"Throughout the Adobe/Sky club, THE EDIT, I have improved my knowledge in digital Art whilst still thoroughly enjoying myself. I have learnt that this will help me develop skills in the future. I am excited to continue working alongside Greg Hodgson an expert working with Adobe and Sky. He has helped me improve and stay curious about the subject, and I am looking forward to exploring Adobe digital tools even further. Thank you to my Visual Arts, teacher Mr Fox Joyce, for arranging this incredible opportunity to learn creative digital software tools and develop my digital literacy" - by Melis D (see her work below).

Credits:

Created with images by viarami - "racism black lives matter black live matter" • Bru-nO - "vinyl plate record" • Engin_Akyurt - "underwater tank dress" • mgnorrisphotos - "ballerina dancer ballet"