We at AmLit are dedicated to supporting the budding talents and creations of intelligent, creative, and gifted young artists. Last month, middle and high school students visited campus to showcase their films and projects at the Discover the World of Communication High School Film Fest. The festival winners addressed serious and modern issues, such as activism, gun violence, and sustainability.
Music festivals are the talk of the town right now since there have been some major ones already like Coachella, South by South West, and Ultra Music Festival. While others are fast approaching like the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas. As they become more and more popular, and more music festivals are being created, there has been more of an emphasis on displaying artwork and sculptures. This is something I am personally excited to see. Music and artwork so well together. I particularly love it when I go to an art gallery, and the artists incorporate music sounds and tracks into their art pieces.
With the holy month of Ramadan around the corner, I thought this would be the perfect time to give an overview of what these traditions of fasting and becoming closer to God are like. Muslims fast from sun up to sun down to remind themselves that people out there of various social classes can be suffering more than they are which means that it is important to appreciate what they have and give back to those that are less fortunate. Muslims fast to remain humble about every meal that gets put in front of them, and to constantly be aware that not everyone has the privilege of a warm meal. “I have a friend who fasts to understand what it feels like for poor people… I think [Ramadan] has a few problems for people who are too thin since they can become malnourished.” This is a comment from a student about what they believe Ramadan to be like. When Allah asked Muslims to fast throughout the whole month, he did not intend for their health to deteriorate along the way which is why he permits people that have an illness and continue to take medication to not fast. People that are taking a long trip are also allowed to break their fast due to the time difference.
Over spring break, my family and I ventured down to The Whitney Museum of Art on the Lower West Side of Manhattan to see the new exhibit “Andy Warhol- From A to B and Back Again”. It’s a not so hidden treasure that sits on the Hudson River, below the Highline, and neighboring one of the most expensive and vibrant areas of all of Manhattan. Living just a train ride away, on the other side of the East River in Brooklyn, I had been to the Whitney before, but never seen more of Warhol than his most famous works.
In a city as bustling as Washington DC, and on a campus as lively as AU, it’s important that young students with a million things to do get ourselves out of the library and exploring the Nation’s Capital. The first coffee house and book store I dared to explore as a freshman, Politics and Prose, is still one of my very favorites a year and a half later. Though my list of coffee shops to visit is about a mile long, Politics and Prose always floats back at the top.
A For-Show Gallery of a Squeezed-Dry Place – “Chinatown”
Years back, in our middle school and high school days, dystopian novels were all the rage. The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Matched stormed the shelves of every bookstore. The audience of young book lovers were obsessed with seeing authors create new worlds with governments whose systems eventually lead to its own downfall. At the same time, our own government was and still is going through major change. Our minds swirled with the questions that started with, “what if...”
Art for all. That is what Rafael Lozano-Hemmer achieves with his new exhibition, Pulse, at the Hirshhorn Museum. Walking into the exhibit, visitors immediately enter a dark room that creates a serious, yet intimate, tone. Pulse begins by outlining what visitors should expect to see and hear as they walk around the exhibit: their own personal data. Additionally, the museum profiles Hemmer and provides information on his artistic background. Born in Mexico, Hemmer is internationally renowned for art that incorporates technology that visualizes human data. The museum goes the extra mile by creating a timeline of the influence of audiovisual and bio-technologies on the art world. This includes John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s song, Baby Heartbeat, which was built using their unborn son’s heartbeat, and Pink Floyd’s 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon, which ends with a heartbeat. After this introduction, viewers are left to explore the exhibit with no additional direction.
I am sure many people were forced to read Jane Eyre as a teenager, whether it be in high school English class or a college course. Most people view it as a romance novel, some hailing it as the greatest romance novel of all time. I am sure when Brontë wrote this novel in the Victorian Era, it was reasonably romantic, but in today’s standards…not so much. I see it as a comedy.
Islamic literature is deeply woven in long histories of spirituality and ideology for those who follow its faith. There exists an incessant misconception that Muhammad, and the Quran in entirety, disregard poetry as empty words. This claim commonly arises at the reading of Chapter 26 of the Quran (ash-Shu'ara), which writes, “And the Poets, it is those straying in Evil who follow them: Seest thou not that they wander distracted in every valley?/And that they say what they practice not?” To read this passage as a complete repulsion of poetry is to misinterpret the beliefs of Islam. Poetry that is inspiring, nuanced, and rich is celebrated in Islam- it is the poetry that makes a mockery of its own art that is denounced. The Quran holds art in great respect.
Don’t be afraid, the gunfire