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#YoungEditors: Youth as agents of change

School supports CNN’s #MyFreedomDay with art installation

By Sreesha Ghosh, IB1 

Slavery did not end with its abolition in the 19th century.

It continues in many countries in the world.

At this very moment, there are 40 million people forced into conditions like prostitution, intense manual labour and domestic work, of whom 10 million are children.

In Dubai, young activists are joining forces to do something about this problem. On March 14, schools all over the country came together to celebrate “#MyFreedomDay”, a day long student-driven awareness campaign that aimed to shed light on modern slavery and human trafficking.

The GEMS Modern Academy decided to implement 40 different activities in honour of the 40 million people enslaved and exploited.

These activities, that took place over the course of an entire week, sought to raise awareness about slavery and to support freedom through a variety of media like poetry, sport and art.

In addition to these activities, several charity drives are being planned as a direct contribution to the cause.

One of the most striking exhibitions that took place at the school on March 8 was an art installation titled The Monotone, displayed underwater in the school’s swimming pool.

One of the most striking exhibitions that tookplace at the school on March 8 was an art installation titled The Monotone, displayed underwater in the school’s swimming pool.


 

Inspired by Yves Klein, the installation, which took only two people to complete, comprised four to six unmoving school students frozen in place as if to form a tableau, after which a set of pictures were taken at various angles to form a photo series depicting ideas such as confinement and the feeling of freedom.

The idea behind the art installation was of breaking free. Here, the pool served as a metaphor for imprisonment; the walls of the pool are the chains that bind.

The message behind the installation acknowledges imprisonment and encourages release.

It tells us to celebrate our freedom, something 40 million people around the world did not have the chance to taste.

The art installation shows a global issue in a unique light, forcing our conscience to pay attention to it. In showing an artistic representation of the loss of freedom, it teaches us to treasure it and to provide assistance to those who do not have it.

 


Booked in Dubai: A reading revolution

By Srishti Ghosh, IB1

The Year of Zayed is a culmination of the spirit of the UAE and the goals it has for the youth of the country.

The first week of March 2018 marked the 10th anniversary of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai.

The literature festival honoured the Year of Zayed by fulfilling its objective to invest in people’s knowledge, welfare and capabilities.

In Dubai, local art has been gaining momentum and the festival em braced the opportunity to showcase the local talent and potential.

The celebration of local art and literature was woven in with exploration of global trends and patterns in the recent festival.

Dubai-based Judy Bishop curated the artwork for the festival’s art exhibition from the youth community in the UAE and displayed it in the Dubai Festival City Mall to portray the evolution of art and encourage young artists to step into the light.

It has been an ongoing local initiative to instill a spirt of reading within the youth as the world moves increasingly towards a technological future.

March is celebrated as the Month of Reading every year in the UAE and the various poetry, writing and reading competitions during the literature festival encouraged students from around the GCC to explore literature and analyse art that reflect the local culture of the country.

Almost 30,000 students around the GCC participated in the various workshops of the literature festival. The third edition of the ‘Reading Box’ initiative was also recently announced by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. Under the theme ‘A generation reads.

A civilisation rises.’, the Reading Box initiative, from March 14-27, has a variety of programmes to promote a culture of reading.

The importance of the culture of reading has been outlined in UAE’s National Strategy 2026 and has been reflected by numerous local initiatives already.

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature encouraged people to foster a spirit of reading for the future of the youth and it marked a wonderful beginning to the many upcoming initiatives in support of the values of the Year of Zayed.

 


Sustainability: Designing a greener tomorrow

By Abida Ejaz, IB1

We are at a critical juncture in time.

In the pursuit of living in balance with our environment, the world is taking impressive strides towards achieving sustainable growth.

The UAE, however, is one step ahead. Here, the fast pace of sustainability touches every aspect of life. Art and architecture, remarkably, seem to be on the vanguard of this trend.

In recent years, the country has seen the emergence of a plethora of works of art and architecture that convey an aspirational message about the complex connections between human beings, technology, and the natural world.

Each creation embodies the spirit of experimentation and dynamism that has long driven the advancement of the nation.

Perhaps, the most striking of these works is the cutting-edge Sustainability Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Roofed with solar panels, surrounded by avantgarde ‘energy trees’, and cooled by convection currents of natural air, the recreated natural environment provides visitors with the ultimate sensory experience of sustainable living.

The excitement does not end there. Dubai-based landscape architects ‘desert INK’ choose to bring their idea of sustainability to life in “The Block”, a park that represents the paragon of urban design.

Situated in the buzzing Dubai Design District, the artistic space gave a renewed purpose to 830-tonne concrete blocks left unused after the construction of the Dubai Water Canal.

To top it all, almost all components of the display, from seating platforms to parkour equipment, have been reconstructed from discarded construction materials.

The focus on sustainability in design represents a paradigm shift — no longer do artists seeking to understand the world around them feel the need to restrict their creative pieces to fine art and expression of the self.

Rather, a sense of social and environmental responsibility is pervasive among creative fields. One step at a time, works of art and architecture are helping us re-establish our symbiotic connection with the planet.

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