Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Effects of Kashmir conflict comes alive in youngsters’ art


The two-decades of conflict have left an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of Kashmiri youth. This was evident from the paintings and writings of young participants exhibited on the concluding day of a two-day workshop-cum-exhibition titled - my K" Art workshop at Kashmir University here on Tuesday.
The workshop-cum-exhibition was organized by Kashmir Art Quest,, Gayoor Art Foundation in collaboration with Dean Students Welfare, Kashmir University.
The youngsters, most of them in teens, expressed their thoughts in images and drawings while others penned them down in poems and prose on blank sheets of paper.
“My painting represents the bloodshed of innocents in the Valley last year. It shows the significance of Ghanta Ghar that remained in news for flag hoisting and processions,” an artist, Hilal Khan told this correspondent, while displaying his painting of the historic Ghanta Ghar secured with blood stained barbed wires.
On the top of the clock tower is the Indian flag while on the bottom lies the green flag.
“Last year protesters would assemble at Ghanta Ghar and hoist green flags. The authorities would instantly remove them. These were the sequences of last year’s unrest which I have tried to depict in my painting,” Khan adds.
Moonis, a student has depicted the pain, agony and helplessness of the people of Kashmir vis-à-vis the conflict in his painting. The painting divided into two parts shows the sunrise and sunset denoting hope and hopelessness, as the dark faces in the middle of the painting signify the people of Kashmir who are caught in chaos and confusion.
“My painting is related to the killings of Kashmiris by the Indian forces. Kashmiris have been living under occupation and oppression since centuries. We have been subjected to illegal occupation by India since 1947. My art reflects the suffering of Kashmiris,” says Moonis.
The painting with spools of barbed wire in the bottom ends with colorlessness.
Fatimah Ali, another participant has highlighted various issues related to the ongoing conflict in Kashmir in her painting. From blood stained chess board to the distorted image of Kashmir. From cultural attack to the helpless hands of the people, she has packaged the image of the conflict using a variety of colors and newspaper cuttings.
Mir Suhail, a cartoonist has depicted the suffering of a common Kashmiri with the image of a man holding a broken gun in his hands. The man in the image has blood flowing through his nose and hands.
“The gun is the sole reason for all the problems. Last year or even during the Dogra rule, Kashmiris have been massacred with these weapons. So as an artist, I want an end to this gun culture,” says Suhail.
“Militancy is over now but the military is now creating problems. Let’s give peace a chance,” he adds.
Adil Abbas, another artist has presented erstwhile Kashmir in three parts administered by India, Pakistan and China. Drawn over yellow background signifying prosperity, Adil’s painting has a mixture of Kashmir’s diverse culture and rich traditions.
“Jammu and Kashmir is torn and burnt down in three pieces. The color red signifies the relentless bloodshed in the state,” he says.
Zahoor-din Lone, a student of Music and Fine Arts has shown Jammu and Kashmir entangled with wire as colorful flowers inside the state are bleeding. On the right and left of the state are two hands of the people who are trying to cut the barbed wire and pull out the arrows to get rid of the pain.
In another painting with dark background, an artist has shown Kashmir locked down with chains with its besieged people, while the UN has been blindfolded.
Some artists have also displayed peace, communal harmony, handicrafts and rich culture of Jammu and Kashmir in their paintings.
Syed Mujtaba Rizvi, another student had used light colors to signifying hope, optimism, peace and prosperity in his painting.
“The shades of grey may not necessarily be bad. We need to accept the differences in opinion and others' right to have a say. I have used colors as an indication of a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir issue,” says Rizvi.
The organizers expressed satisfaction over the success of the exhibition in which over 40 artists participated.
“The aim of the exhibition was to provide a platform to the young artists to showcase their talent. At the same time, we want to make society aware about the importance of art that plays a vital role in cultural evolution,” the organizers said.

BBC hosts Britain's public art collections online

27 June 2011

This masterpiece by Edward Burne-Jones, titled "Laus Veneris," 1873-78, from the collection of Laing Art Gallery, is viewable on the BBC's new Your Paintings website.  It is also currently part of the Victoria & Albert Museum exhibition "The Cult of Beauty."
This masterpiece by Edward Burne-Jones, titled "Laus Veneris," 1873-78, from the collection of Laing Art Gallery, is viewable on the BBC's new Your Paintings website. It is also currently part of the Victoria & Albert Museum exhibition "The Cult of Beauty.

Works by John Singer Sargent, John Constable, and Andy Warhol are among the 200,000 paintings in a national collection owned by British taxpayers. Some of this art trove resides in small publicly-funded collections and others exist in relative obscurity, either stashed in museum storage or on the walls of a government building. Now a new online art gallery will host digital images of paintings from Britain's public collections.

The BBC's "Your Paintings" website, developed over six years with the Public Catalogue Foundation, currently displays online about 63,000 artworks - the first batch to be digitized.

Treasures tucked away in various corners of the country - like Pissarro's 1906 landscape of west London, which is housed in a history center - will now be seen by a wider public.

A vast range of artists are already included in the Beta version of the site, from Francis Bacon to Alfred James Munnings, Canaletto to Rossetti, and numerous lesser known artists.
Art in Aisle 5: Barcodes Enter Expressionist Period

Design Barcodes Inc. (man, skyline); Vanity Barcodes LLC (3)
Some proposed barcode designs, from left, depict a hand mixer, jelly beans, skyline, school bus and trousers.

Package design has become so artful, it has come to this: Even the barcode, the style runt of product labeling, is getting gussied up.
Beer, granola, juice and olives are sporting barcodes that integrate famous buildings, blades of wheat and bubbles into the ubiquitous black and white rectangle of lines and numbers. Consumer-goods companies hope these vanity barcodes will better connect with customers.
The trend is popular with smaller companies, and even one of the world's largest food companies, Nestle SA, is trying out vanity barcodes on its smaller brands.
When Sixpoint Brewery planned to launch a line of canned beer this year, the Brooklyn, N.Y., company set out to fashion the perfect can design. It soon realized, "you need this big, ugly barcode so people can scan them," says Shane Welch, president of Mad Scientists Brewing Partners LLC, which owns Sixpoint. "I thought, why can't we do our own custom barcode?" Launched last month, the silver cans bear a barcode that integrates the Statue of Liberty and skyscrapers.
A handful of companies that specialize in making vanity barcodes have cropped up in recent years, though some companies create them in-house.
More companies are choosing specially designed vanity barcodes on their grocery and drug store products. Sarah Nassauer shows us some of them.
Some vanity-barcode designs aim to be elegant, others quirky. Design Barcodes Inc., a Tokyo-based ad and design firm, created barcodes with lines that look like water flowing over a waterfall or the rails on a train track. Yael Miller, co-owner of Vanity Barcodes LLC, in Lakewood, N.J., says one of her favorites is a hand mixer design she created to look as if the barcode is mixing up the numbers below it.
Some companies are hesitant to tinker with the barcode, says Steve Rosen, co-founder of Pacarc LLC, which distributes Japanese products in the U.S. and is the exclusive U.S. partner of Design Barcodes. If a barcode doesn't scan it could "really put the retailer in a pinch," says Mr. Rosen. A manufacturer might have to reprint all the packaging. He says Design Barcodes' products are tested before going on the market.
Barcodes are what allow retailers to track products through their stores and change pricing without needing to retag every item. Alan L. Haberman, a supermarket executive from Massachusetts and the person credited with bringing the barcode, formally known as the universal product code, to retail prominence, died last week.
Every retail barcode number in the U.S. and 107 other countries is assigned by GS1, a nonprofit standards organization created in the early 1970s when barcode technology entered the retail landscape. A company applies to GS1 for a barcode number specific to that company. It then creates (or hires a firm to create) the barcode to match that number.
Adding a vanity barcode can be expensive because new packaging is needed.
Nestle has gradually included vanity barcodes when redesigning packaging or launching new products. The company started in 2008 with smaller brands and those that don't come in many flavors (and therefore require fewer barcode variations). Nestle's Juicy Juice Sparkling Fruit Juice Beverage, which comes in three flavors, has bubbles rising up from its barcodes. Its Skinny Cow low-calorie dessert line is currently rolling out barcodes shaped like a cow's spot.
Bear Naked granola added a blade of wheat grass growing out of its barcodes during a package redesign in 2007. Bear Naked is currently owned by Kellogg Co.
Food manufacturer GLK Foods LLC had initial concerns that tinkering with its barcodes could interfere with their ability to scan, says Ryan Downs, vice president of the Bear Creek, Wisc.-based company. Ms. Miller of Vanity Barcodes, who is also a principal at branding and design firm Miller Creative LLC, suggested GLK add an olive tree to the barcode of its Verdi Italian-food line. After testing, the olive-tree-adorned barcodes scanned properly.
Since then, GLK has also added olives to the design of its mobile barcode, a different type of ID increasingly being used on consumer products. Shoppers are able to snap a picture of the code with a smartphone and automatically be directed to a website about the product, a coupon or a marketing campaign.

Breaking Out of the Box

Verdi LLC
Verdi topped the barcode on its olive packaging with an olive tree.
On a barcode, "there are certain things you can change, certain things you can't and then there is sort of a gray area," says Ms. Miller. For a scanner to read a barcode it usually needs to be about a half inch high, blank space is needed on either side, and the lines can't be made out of some colors the scanner can't see, like red, yellow or orange, she says.
GS1 tests barcodes in a small lab in Lawrenceville, N.J., that is filled with new and old flat-bed scanners, hand-held scanners, and overhead scanners. For a fee, GS1 gives each barcode a grade—A through F—based on how consistently it scans. Many of the vanity-barcode designs go against GS1 guidelines, says Jon Mellor, a spokesman for GS1's U.S. arm. For instance, some new designs are shorter than the organization recommends, even though they may scan the product information accurately, he says. Still, GS1 doesn't object to vanity barcodes because its role is to help companies create the barcodes they prefer, he says.
Meanwhile, Walgreens Co.'s Duane Reade chain likes the vanity-barcode concept so much it added classic New York scenes like the Manhattan skyline and Brooklyn Bridge in a barcode design to the packages of its store-brand products in 2009. The vanity barcodes aren't meant to scan.
"It's not functional, and it's not intended to be. It's being used as a unique design element," says Paul Tiberio, senior vice president of merchandising and marketing for Duane Reade.
The simple rectangular barcode, which the cashier swipes at the checkout line, is still on the back of each package.
Corrections & Amplifications
Design Barcode Inc. is a Tokyo-based ad and design firm that creates artful barcodes for consumer products. This article misstates the company name as Design Barcodes.