SHANTI GIOVANNETTI-SINGH considers censorship in the arts in light of the banning of Blue Story in Vue cinemas.  On the 8th of June 1995, explosive riots pulsated through the Parisian banlieue of Noisy-Le-Grand. Spurred on by the murder of Belkassem Delahbib, a young man tragically killed in a police chase, a wave of protestors took to the streets, shattering everything that crossed their paths. The upheaval continued deep into the following night, as the enraged communities burned with a hateful vengeance. Both mainstream media sources and various politicians attributed these events to Matthieu Kassovitz’s fifth film, La Haine, which was released the week before the riots began. Centred around police brutality and youth violence, many saw the events at Noisy-Le-Grand as a ‘copycat’ riot, inspired by the film’s explictically ‘hateful’ message towards an increasingly authoritarian police force.  24 years later, in Birmingham, a mass brawl erupted in the foyer of…Continue Reading

FEATURE: BLUE STORY

ESTELLE CIESLA discusses dematerialisation in Yves Klein’s International Klein Blue (IKB). An unframed, unwavering blue painting stands before you. As you stare at the painting, the square of colour slowly detaches itself from its canvas medium, drifting through the air. All at once, blue envelops you, permeates you. Chills crawl under your skin. The ultramarine induces a state of vertigo. An endless, deep, and obsessive ultramarine possesses you; its saturation stains your mind. My first encounter with a Yves Klein painting was decidedly dramatic. Encountering his painting in his hometown of Nice, France, my fascination with the strong, vivid blue was instantaneous. I speak about a specific blue: blue #21177d, otherwise known as International Klein Blue (IKB). The colour is distinctive; once seen, IKB will stay in your mind. The vivid ultramarine became Klein’s signature. The holistic feeling of Klein’s work is palpable every time I come across one of…Continue Reading

Dip-Trip

SEEHAM RAHMAN examines femininity and sexual politics in Polly Nor’s satirical illustrations. Sensuality, identity, and femininity are not new phenomena in illustration and storytelling. However, the modern woman of the 21st century represents an evolution of womanhood on an individual and societal basis. Art and design are not only articulating this social change but also actively engaging with it in pursuit of strengthening the perception of femininity. As a woman of colour, I often find it difficult to find myself represented in Western Art in a three-dimensional way. Polly Nor’s art speaks to the faults of my identity, bringing forth the wholeness of who I am. Even my demons are depicted as they really are, next to sensuous depictions of womanhood. My femininity is encapsulated; my fears revealed. The artist urges women to understand the toxicity of the internet-age through pieces such as In Your Dreams. Nor encapsulates the anxieties and responsibilities…Continue Reading

Polly Nor and The Nasty Woman

THALA MOUAWAD surveys the different versions of A Star is Born and their place in the history of Hollywood. Since its release in 1937, William Wellman’s romance A Star is Born has been re-interpreted three times. The premise for each rendition has remained constant: an aspiring female entertainer is discovered by a tortured musician who helps her skyrocket to fame. Meanwhile, his own career nosedives because of his alcoholism. Despite a formulaic plot, the four films are more than a stereotypical love story. In fact, each one of these adaptations reflects important aspects of the period in which it was produced. The 1930s marked the starting point of one of the most prolific eras of Hollywood. Despite a period of recession that began in 1929, the film industry reached new heights with the advent of technicolour imaging and talking pictures. The financial slump actually helped the film trade. Demand for…Continue Reading

(Re)making history since 1937