ARTBEAT Issue 02 January 2017

Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.



Issue 02 - Spring 2017

Haiku and You

Take an image journey

The ‘Post Truth Era’

What does that mean? And where have we come across this before?

Facets of Life in Liwan

Using the local community as a resource

Brought to you by

the Faculty of Arts

Page 10

Less is more, when

you are an abstract


Page 16

Shakespeare and

all that!

Page 25

The best things

come in threes!



Edited by

Jamie Lowe and John Knauss

the Faculty of Arts Team

Feature Contributors

Jamie Lowe

John Knauss


Jamie Lowe

Contributions by:

AIC English Department:


Silvia Ndhlovu

Stuart Brown

Bob Darwish

John Knauss



Grade 10 students

Artbeat IT Expert


Brandon Chansavang

Cover photo:

Jamie Lowe



Artbeat is an online digest

showcasing the life and work

of the IB Visual Arts and the

IB Theatre Arts departments


Alcanta International College

Guangzhou, China.

Follow Our Beat at:






This Issue’s

Feature Articles

Word Art..……..…………………………..…………………….4

Three line poems - how hard can it be?

Magnificence in Minutiae….…………………………….…..10

How Art emerges from chaos witnessed in small events.

What Does ‘Post Truth’ Mean Exactly?………………..17

We ask the question and seek the truth.

The Truth About Shakespeare…………..……………..….16

John Knauss reveals what you didn’t know about the famous Bard.

What About Art and Truth?…………………………………18

Discover what various artists have said on this matter.

Time Out in Liwan…..………………………….…………..….19

Grade 10 get streetwise in Liwan District. A day trip to old Canton.

Three of the Best………..……..………………………………25

Jamie Lowe introduces three of the world’s most famous triptychs.




Welcome to this,

the second issue of


ARTBEAT is out and about in Guangzhou

At the beginning of a new year it is

always a time for reflection and a time

to re-examine what is important to us.

A time to review our principles to

revise and make changes to our lives.

We all live in what have become

changing and unsettling times. A

period which has been described,

during the past year, as a “post-truth

era”. In this issue, we look at what that

means while musing on what Pablo

Picasso meant when he said that

“Art is a lie which makes us realise the


At Artbeat we plan on continuing to

keep it real by bringing you a report

on how our Grade 10 hit the streets to

record, observe and analyse the

hidden corners of Guangzhou’s Liwan

District. All this as well as inviting the

English department to share the

subtle art of Haiku with you, gentle

readers. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Brandon and John meet with a

canine -powered advertising

campaign in Liwan

Welcome back to ARTBEAT! We wish you all the best of years - one that’s positive, creative and productive!




In this issue we are exposed to a

subtle type of Japanese poetry

which uses the power of less to say

more. Why not try this? We look at

how beauty can be discovered

within the tiniest of chaotic events.

And we go “old-skool” in


Don’t forget that our magazine is an

online one and that you can use it as

a platform to expand your reading,

link to tutorials, articles and related

websites of interest. Remember to

click on the links throughout. (Look

for bold or italic text in the PDF


Once again we bring you our Apps

update “Approval” from IT expert

Brandon. We get some more classy

cartoons from John and other visual

fun stuff in those “Fun Section”

pages along with our regular

features which you can look forward




Word Art

We decided to look at the relationship between

ideas, words and images and we called upon the

AIC English Department for assistance.


They introduce us to the gentle power of Haiku

Silvia and Stuart discover

happiness through Haiku

!What exactly is Haiku?

!Haiku ( 俳 句 high-koo) are short three-line poems

with a 5-7-5 syllable structure that use sensory

language to capture a feeling or image. They are

often inspired by an element of nature, a moment

of beauty, or another poignant experience.

It is very different from the concept of “Poetry” we

have in the West.

There is no unnecessary decoration, no special

vocabulary, no forced juxtaposition, no poetic

circumlocution, no heavy-handed philosophical


Just three simple lines, telling us what happened

right there, right now. In a tiny moment.

Where does Haiku originate from?

Haiku poetry was originally developed by Japanese

poets, and the form was adopted (and adapted) by

virtually every modern language, including

English. The secret to writing great Haiku is to be

observant and appreciate nature.


"Haiku is the expression of a visionary moment in

which the poet sees, in a flash of heightened

awareness, a fundamental truth about the nature of


The haiku poet attempts to bring the reader to the

same realization, not by telling her about it, but by

objectively presenting the few essential objects or

experiences which made this moment, and so

bringing the reader to recreate the process in her

own mind.

By withholding all judgment or comment on the

material presented, the poet invites the reader to

enter into the poem, experience it, and come to her

own conclusion.

And so what is left unsaid becomes more important

than what is said : the Haiku poet provides only the

barest brushstrokes necessary to arouse the reader's

imagination to complete the whole picture."


Excerpted from: Haiku in English

Barbara Unger Stanford University Press 1978

Its a number’s game

Think: 3 -lines

Think: 5-7-5 syllables



Haiku? - No can do?


Let us try to help with that


Guidelines here show you

1 Distill a poignant experience. Haiku traditionally focuses on details of one's environment that relate to the

human condition. Think of a haiku as a meditation of sorts that conveys an objective image or feeling without

employing subjective judgment and analysis. When you see or notice something that makes you want to say to others,

"Look at that," the experience may well be suitable for a haiku.

Japanese poets traditionally used Haiku to capture and distill a fleeting natural image, such as a frog jumping into a

pond, rain falling onto leaves, or a flower bending in the wind. Many people go for walks just to find new inspiration

for their poetry, known in Japan as ginkgo walks.

Contemporary haiku may stray from nature as a subject. Urban environments, emotions, relationships and even

humorous topics may be haiku subjects.

2 Include a seasonal reference. A reference to the season or changing of the seasons, referred to in Japanese as

kigo, is an essential element of Haiku. The reference may be obvious, as in using a word like "spring" or "autumn" to

indicate the season, or it might be subtler. For example, mentioning wisteria, which flower during the summer, can

subtly indicate the season. Note the kigo in this poem by Fukuda Chiyo-ni:

Morning glory!

the well bucket-entangled,



I ask for water

3 Create a subject shift. In keeping with the idea that haiku should contain two juxtaposed ideas, shift the

perspective on your chosen subject so that your poem has two parts. For example, you could focus on the detail of an

ant crawling on a log, then juxtapose that image with an expansive view of the whole forest, or the season the ant is

currently inhabiting. The juxtaposition gives the poem a deeper metaphorical meaning than it would have if it were a

simple, single-planed description. Take this poem by Richard Wright:

Whitecaps on the bay

A broken signboard banging


In the April wind.



Haiku? - Still want to?


Open up your mind and see


Pictures in your words

4 Show, don't tell. Haiku are about moments of objective experience, not subjective interpretation or analysis of

those events.

Haiku have been called "unfinished" poetry because they require the readers to finish the poems in their own hearts.

Because of this, it's important to show the readers something true about the moment's existence, rather than telling

the readers what emotions it conjured in you. Let the readers feel their own emotions in reaction to the images — as

poets, we understand the need to bare all, but the very universality of Haiku ensures that your readers will get the

message, so don't fret, fellow poet.

Use understated, subtle imagery. For instance, instead of saying it's summer, focus on the slant of the sun or the

heavy air.

Don't use clichés. Lines that readers recognise, such as "dark, stormy night," tend to lose their power over time.

5 Be inspired. In the tradition of the great Haiku poets, go outside for inspiration. Take a walk and tune in to your

surroundings. Which details in your environment speak to you? What makes them stand out?

Carry a notebook to write down lines as they come to you. You never know when the sight of a stone in a stream, a rat

skipping over subway tracks, or a cap of clouds over hills in the distance might inspire you to write a Haiku.

Read other Haiku writers. The beauty and simplicity of the Haiku form has inspired thousands of writers in many

different languages. Reading other Haiku can help spur your own imagination into motion.



6 Practice. Like any other art, haiku takes practice. Bashō, who is considered to be the greatest Haiku poet of all

time, said that each Haiku should be said a thousand times on the tongue. Draft and redraft every poem until the

meaning is perfectly expressed. Remember that you don't have to adhere to the 5–7–5 syllable pattern, and that a

true literary Haiku includes a kigo, a two-part juxtapositional structure, and primarily objective sensory imagery.

While drafting, use adverbs sparingly if at all — many adverbs can be dropped without compromising meaning, and

they take up syllables that could be used for description. Similar advice applies to long or flowery words — the point

of Haiku is to reveal simple and universal truths, and your extensive vocabulary is better suited to a longer poetic




Making small seem great


poetry seeks to elevate


the humblest idea

Here are some early

entries of Haiku poetry

by our Grade 10 students



I am coming home

Father, Mother, see you soon

I will clear the snow.


Home by Arsen

She painted her nails,

she used obsidian black,

just like her black soul


Black Soul by Evleen

Destroying your house

today our enmity is

already over

!Revenge by Jenny

Occurring rarely.

and slightly unscientific

but brings happiness


Miracles by Priscillo

Now it’s your turn





How can I tell if my Haiku Poetry is any good?


Use our guide below to assess your creative work and become a Distinguished Haiku Master







写 俳 俳 画

Get inspired

to :






Choose either the:

Shahai format


or Haiga format


Email us your Shahai or Haiga work

(as a jpeg file attachment no bigger than 2MB)

with the subject heading: ARTBEAT Haiku

to Silvia and Stuart at AIC

sndhlovu@aicib.org sbrown@aicib.org

Find inspiration through:

nature, the seasons,

current affairs, events or

people and relationships

If you need inspiration on how you

might work with ink and a brush -

look no further than the Chinese

master Wu Guangzhong click here to

see how it’s done.

The best entries will be selected

by Silvia and Stuart to be

published in the next issue of


Good luck!


Magnificence in


! Jamie discovers an artist and a photographer who celebrate the certainty of chance in small events

ABSTRACTS by Emma Lindstrom


Emma Lindstrom’s work caught my attention simply because of the spontaneous nature of

how she works; and since our DP1 students at AIC are busy trying to work in the manner of an

Abstract Expressionist painter in their current IB Visual Arts Diploma project, it is refreshing

to find a young contemporary woman working in this way to compare against the likes of the

more traditional examples of splatter painters: Jackson Pollock, and Sam Francis.

Link here for more Abstract Expressionist women.

Emma Lindstrom’s spontaneity with acrylics and spray paints; reacting, spreading, and

dispersing on the surface of the paintings:

“provide us with a visual link between microcosm and macrocosm, her work ultimately has the ability to

serve as a reminder that there is something connecting us all”.

Clearly, she intends to link with our ideas of deep space and the universe seen from a telescope.

There is also a sense of the Earth viewed from high above or a feeling that we are seeing the

very building blocks of life at a microscopic or cellular level.

Emma Lindstrom, from Gothenburg in Sweden, has taken the reactions between oil and water

based materials (seen best in the example of marbling - an effect created by the floating and

dispersal of oily droplets upon a water surface) to the next level in her paintings. She then

works into that surface with a fine brush and is able to focus our attention to the different richly

complex areas created by the earlier random events of pouring, spraying and spotting.


Try something like this at home with shaving cream and paint


INFUSIONS by Cliff Briggie

Photographer Cliff Briggie, who prompted by the ideas of poet Rainer Maria Rilke,

creates these amazing images of what seem like whole other universes within the fluid

swirls of simple materials.

Briggie’s technique focuses on photographing the movement in liquids. The consistency of

the subject-matter also gives the appearance of dissipating smoke or a gentle satin fabric.

Concentrating the colors in different areas creates a subtle transparency that plays with the

light source. The mixing colors and swirling compositions make these pieces absolutely




Cliff Briggie, who is also a practicing clinical psychologist can be described as a

Macrophotographer. I find his work interesting because he creates it from small temporary

events. He uses those ordinary things which we often take for granted: the mixing of different

liquids, the dissolving of a solid into a liquid, the dispersal of gas seen in the swirling of smoke

or the freezing and melting of a material.

In addition to the ‘Infusion’ series, Cliff Briggie has created a series of interesting “temporary

ice paintings” that are comprised of ice, paint, and water brought to life by his camera’s flashes

of light. he says of this work:

“Combining the contents allows the image to, essentially, create itself.’

“A photograph FREEZES the moment. Ice, light, and water move, morph, flash, and change. Little

pieces of paint take on a life of their own, suddenly exploding, colors streaming everywhere–CLICK–

and then, they are gone forever. It is at once so breathtaking, heartbreaking, and compelling that I have

missed more than a shot or two.”

Once again, the effect created by Cliff Briggie’s work is to visually transport our minds in two

simultaneous directions - toward endless expanses of celestial space and back through minute

microscopic galaxies of organic matter.

“The devil”, as they say in the English expression “(truly): -is in the detail”. As artists or

photographers we could be more aware of the continuous, chaotic creation and destruction of

these tiny events around us. We can aim to be that still point in a turning world once in a

while. More on macrophotography here.


Try something like Briggie’s ‘Infusions’ at home with your camera



What does “Post Truth” mean exactly?

Are we really living in a Post Truth World?

Last year the Oxford dictionary

declared ‘post truth’ to be its

international word of the year.

Defined as an adjective “relating to

or denoting circumstances in

which objective facts are less

influential in shaping public

opinion than appeals to emotion

and personal belief” the use of

‘post truth’ was increased by

around 2000% during 2016.

Another definition can be found


Underpinning ‘post truth’ is the

concept of ‘truthiness’ – things

that feel true even though they are

not. Examples include the Brexit

claim that Britain’s membership of

the EU costs the United Kingdom

£350 million per week (the actual

figure is circa £160 million), and

the assertion, by Donald Trump,

that Barack Obama was not a

native born American citizen

(Obama was born in Honolulu,

Hawaii on 4 August 1961).

The brain can ‘think’ emotionally

via the limbic system and rationally

through the prefrontal cortex. In

children where the prefrontal

cortex is still developing, the limbic

brain can be dominant with

decisions being shaped by


emotions rather than reason and

fact. It is for this reason that it can

be difficult to ‘rationalise’ with an

upset child.

The EU referendum and American

presidential election which ended

with the election of Donald Trump

caused a sharp rise in ‘post truth’

politics during 2016. The practice

of making decisions based on

emotions rather than facts became

more and more common..

Whilst the term ‘post truth’ may

have been coined by the late

Serbian – American playwright

Steve Tesich in 1992, human

history is unfortunately littered

with ‘post truths’. From

seventeenth century witch hunts to

twentieth century Nazi propaganda

there is a depressing list of leaders

putting truth to one side and using

emotional appeals to manipulate

public opinion for their own


Emotional decision making is often

flawed leading to bad politics and

poor government. It is for this

reason that schools must give

children the intellectual toolkits

needed to deconstruct arguments

and look for evidence behind


The central question must always

The brain can ‘think’ emotionally via the limbic system and

rationally through the prefrontal cortex. In children

where the prefrontal cortex is still developing, the limbic

brain can be dominant with decisions being shaped by

emotions rather than reason and fact. It is for this reason

that it can be difficult to ‘rationalise’ with an upset child.

be: “How do we know”? The

International Baccalaureate has a

paper on the theory of knowledge

that addresses this very question,

but concepts of truth, reason,

argument, evidence and bias run

through all subjects and exam


Such evaluation skills are more

important than ever in a world

where there has been an explosion

in ‘facts’ and ‘knowledge’ generated

by academic research and

internet / social media sources.



Post Truth “The central question

must always be “How do we know?”

Faced by so much information

cortex to shape their thinking.

Whilst ‘post truth’ politics may not

be new, the 3.5 billion people who

use the internet around the world

may be exaggerating its effects.

algorithms that lie behind internet

search engines can create ‘filter

bubbles’ in which users are fed

stories similar to those they have

previously liked. Thus in the

Brexit campaign, ‘leavers’ tended to

see more articles in favour of

leaving, while those who wanted to

‘remain’ saw more articles in favour

of remaining. Existing viewpoints

were reinforced, passions inflamed

and opportunities for consensus

reduced. Increasing polarity is a

challenge for democratic

governments which require

different parties / interest groups to

compromise and find a middle

ground for action. In a perfect

world search engines would deliver

a balanced range of articles

covering a spectrum of reasonable

and well-reasoned views.

Differences of opinion on what

constitutes reasonable and wellreasoned

views, concerns to protect

the freedom of speech, and the money

to be made from search engines all act

to preserve the search engine status

quo. As a result it is our responsibility

as teachers and students to ensure

that we


ourselves to a range of reasoned and

reasonable viewpoints and also acquire

the intellectual tools needed to

evaluate the arguments that underpin

them. There is nothing new in this, as

there is nothing new in ‘post truth’

politics, but in an increasingly

uncertain world that faces some big

challenges, good decision making skills

at all stages in the political process

from government ministers and party

leaders to the general electorate are


by Chris Madden



The Truth About Shakespeare?

The 400-year anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death was celebrated this past year.

Why celebrate a man’s death and not his birth? Well, Shakespeare’s birth is celebrated, too, (the

last time being on the 450-year anniversary in 2014) so perhaps it’s just one more opportunity to

commemorate the life and contributions of a man who many consider to be the greatest writer

in the English language of all times. . . .And who doesn’t like a party?

5 Things Worth Knowing About William Shakespeare

1. Don’t Bother Reading Him

by John Knauss

Although Shakespeare is often studied as part of the English curriculum, it’s not the best place to get to know

his work. Shakespeare was a playwright and an actor, and his plays are best to experience first in live

performance, and not on a piece of paper or a screen. Why? Well, imagine your favorite TV show or film. Now

imagine you were never allowed to watch that show or film, but instead were only allowed to read the script.

Feel cheated? In the same way, Shakespeare’s plays come to life fully only through dramatic action onstage, as

they were intended.

2. His Plays Were Not Written Down in His Lifetime

There were no printed scripts in the modern sense of the word for

actors in Shakespeare’s time. Actors were most likely only given a

handwritten copy of their own lines when learning a new play, and

Shakespeare’s plays were only officially performed by his acting

company during his lifetime. Once learned, the written lines were

most often discarded, so that the play survived on primarily in the

minds of the actors. If Shakespeare had original copies written in

his own hand, they have not been discovered. After his death, two

colleagues of Shakespeare named John Heminges and Henry

Condell printed the first “authoritative” version of Shakespeare’s

collected plays in 1623, although a number of unauthorized and

corrupted versions had been circulating before this time.Most

likely, the pair consulted with the actors who had played the parts

about their lines and collected what handwritten scripts they could

in order to compile and then print what is now considered to be

the most reliable source for his plays.



3. Shakespeare Was An Actor

Based on theatre records from the time, we know that William Shakespeare was credited for performing in a

number of his own plays as well as those of others. These roles include King Duncan (in Macbeth), Adam (in As

You Like It), Henry IV, and Hamlet’s father/the Ghost (in Hamlet).

4. Shakespeare Helped Create The Modern English Language

Shakespeare did not write in Old or Middle English, but in modern English, and many of the words and

phrases we use commonly today he invented through new combinations and uses! Here are some words he

engineered: skim milk, luggage, eyeball, champion, bump, bedroom, moonbeam, outbreak, mountaineer,

watchdog, and torture. And here are some phrases: All that glitters is not gold, break the ice, dead as a doornail,

elbow room, for goodness’ sake, heart of gold, in a pickle, kill with kindness, love is blind, naked truth, sick at

heart, and wear my heart upon my sleeve.

5 Shakespeare May Not Have Been Shakespeare

Nothing is more controversial about William Shakespeare than the question of whether or not he actually wrote

the plays and poems attributed to him. Why is there any debate? As mentioned earlier, there is a dearth of

original documents to substantiate much of Shakespeare’s life and his connection to the works attributed to

him. There are only six confirmed instances of his handwriting, and these are simply signatures on legal

documents. There are three pages of an unpublished play which may also have been written by the same hand,

but this is all. Of the 154 sonnets (poems) and 37 plays attributed to him, not a single word of them written in

his own hand have been discovered. Most likely the greatest leap of faith for critics lies in the fact that William

Shakespeare was a barely-educated young man from a small town who moved to London in order to be an

actor. Less than ten years after his move, he was being recognized as a great author, and the writer of what now

are accepted as some of the greatest masterpieces not only of the English language, but of all human

experience. Astonishing.




What About Art and Truth?

“Art is a lie that

makes us realise

the truth.”

Pablo Picasso

“The truth of Art keeps Science

from becoming inhuman, and the

truth of Science keeps Art from

becoming ridiculous.”

Raymond Chandler

“Art making is not

about telling the

truth but making

the truth felt.”

Christian Boltanski

“We have Art in

order not to die of

the Truth.”


Friederich Nietzsche

All the Art on this page is by Barbara Kruger. To see more of her work link here



Time Out in


Everyone loves to get out of the classroom; - students and teachers alike! For those of you reading who are not

students, I bet that amongst all of your recollections of school life, that you still remember your school trips very



Our metropolis of Guangzhou was blessed with bright clear winter sunshine and unexpected warmth on that

December morning at the end of last year, when the Art and Drama departments took all of our Grade 10 to

explore some hidden gems of the city’s Liwan District. Guangzhou is sometimes criticised for it’s similarlooking

streets, it’s corporate architecture, heavy traffic, overcrowding and apparent lack of heritage and culture.

Grade 10 discovered quite the contrary in their exploration of Liwan’s Antiques and Jade Market, Hua Lin

Buddhist Temple and the Chen Clan Academy House. Three small pockets of heritage and old Cantonese


culture tucked away between the skyscrapers of modernity.

Liwan District has many unique specialised shopping streets (such as the ‘Jade Street’ we visisted). The district

also has more than one hundred wholesale markets, engaged in selling everything from traditional Chinese

medicine, aquatic products, shoes, stationery, metal ware, textiles electrical appliances and decorative materials.

Much of the areas traditional Cantonese treasures, lie embedded within the canyon-like high rises; their small

winding lanes and tree lined streets providing a dramatic change to the pulse of the rest of the city. Liwan

District has also seen a centralisation of star-level restaurants in Guangzhou. Locals look forward to Liwan

treats such as Shunji coconut ice cream, Wuzhanji Jidi congee, Tingzai congee, Ouchengji dumpling and Nanxin

double-condensed milk. It’s a vibrant district which tends to be a favorite with tourists here.



Street-wise in old Canton


Liwan District is full of specialist streets and markets

not to mention delicious treats

Liwan may not be the oldest district in Guangzhou, but it's the absolute best place to see what's

left of old Canton. Originally an area where rich Guangzhou merchants set up their homes

outside the old city walls, Liwan has managed to fend off Guangzhou's fast paced

modernization and remain quintessentially Cantonese.


The purpose of this trip was threefold. Firstly, that students would be able to observe and record notes on the

behavior of everyday people and situations, (in other words to witness Drama in real life) and study how it may

be recreated later in performance. Secondly, to investigate and analyse the environments in which the students

found themselves, so that they could design ideas for stage sets. And thirdly to observe and record particular

elements of the trip, by first drawing, second photography and thirdly collecting, images of the various places

visited. These elements were: ornamental and decorative, human activity and figurative elements and lastly


viewpoints and perspectives. Clearly, there was a theme of “threes” going on too.

Following this excursion and back in the Art studios it was “Triptych -Time” for Jamie and his students. Before

the Liwan trip, the students had been prepped regarding exactly a “triptych” was. (The simplest way to describe

one is: A picture (such as a painting) that has three panels placed next to each other. Further explanations are

that a triptych is an ancient Roman writing tablet with three waxed leaves hinged together, a picture (such as an

altarpiece in a Christian Church) or carving in three panels side by side, or something composed or presented

in three parts or sections. Here we are again on that theme of threes).



Mindful of this format, the students got busy distilling their

collections of drawings, photos, rubbings and collected

collage material gathered on the day to design their triptych.

This was going to be the main challenge for them - finding

the most efficient way to visually tie together their

observations of the places and the elements observed from

each. To attempt to encapsulate in three panels an


experience which speaks of the different ages of Canton.

By the time you read this, students will have completed their

Triptychs of Liwan. One of the things that have made this a

pleasurable project is the way in which they have been

encouraged to work. By using a mixed media collage

approach, its been possible to mix up traced images from

photographs along with drawings, rubbings with pictures

created using image transfer processes and layered shapes or

stencil cuts created from multiple paper types, photocopies

and raw drawing. Everyone has worked to a standard format,

so that for display purposes the whole of Grade 10’s work


has a stronger visual impact when shown together.

Meanwhile, activity in the Drama department after the

excursion saw John reinforcing what the students

understood by “Realism” in Drama. Realism in Drama

focuses on everyday life and conflicts, rather than epic or

fantastical situations and settings. Depending on the era,

these events were relevant to society at large, but until the

late 1860s, these depictions were not common on stage. After

the 1860s, many plays incorporated different types of social

and political content into their works. This was meant to

bring the focus onto life and problems that were truly

relevant to the audience, and to encourage change. Many

believe that Realism was a combination of the arts and

science, which meant the performance needed to be

verifiable. However, as times changed, so did the overall

design of Realism.


One main goal is for the performance to match the speech

and behavior of the time. However, the speech patterns from

the early 1900s are no longer the same as those of the 2000s,

so what was “realistic” then is not exactly the same today.



Our students investigated the present-day realism of their

Liwan District characters so that they could bring a touch of

Guangzhou-realism to their own performances, as well as

speculating on differences that might have been part of life


for their counterparts several hundred years ago.

In addition to character research, the students were able to

to visualise and design stage scenery based on the two main

forms at the time of Realism: the proscenium arch and the

box set. Technology also plays a large role in modern theatre,

and has changed over time. Most people who stage realistic

plays for Broadway or London’s West End can include items

like televisions, cell phones, computers and tablets, but

students went the opposite direction by spending an hour in

the world of the Chen Clan Academy to experience what it

might have been like for people and characters who did not

have such things in their everyday lives. The Hua Lin temple

courtyard was also a perfect venue for conducting such an

exercise as it lent a certain other worldliness to the day, given


its ancient architecture and its somewhat secretive setting.

Both John and Jamie agree that it is important for students

to be engaged in something interesting but that they also see

relevance and challenge in activities such as this visit to

Liwan District. One of the important lessons learned for all

of us was that of making the most of the time spent in each

location and being much more aware of what was going

around us. We had to absorb a lot of visual information in a

short time and then be able to filter it and use it in a

purposeful way. Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of this

trip was the number of Guangzhou locals within our group,

who had either never heard of these places, or had heard of

them but never visited them before! It just goes to show how

we can sometimes miss what is right in front of us locally

because our attention seems always focused by those things

further afield. We look forward to sharing the completed

Drama performances and triptych artwork with you in the


next issue of Artbeat magazine.

In the meantime, we hope that when you visit Guangzhou

city, that you will have an opportunity to enjoy some

Cantonese heritage and visit the wonderful Liwan District






Photographs by Jamie Lowe Photography



Three of the Best

Jamie picks three of the most famous

triptychs in the world to have a look at


WHO DID IT ? “The Garden of Earthly Delights”, was by the early Dutch Master, Hieronymus Bosch

WHEN WAS IT MADE ? It was painted between 1490 and 1510, when Bosch was between about 40

and 60 years old. It is his best-known and most famous surviving work. It is oil paint on wood panels.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT ? It looks bonkers, agreed. The three scenes of this triptych are meant to be

read like a comic book (chronologically) from left to right. The left panel shows God presenting Eve to

Adam, (the first man and woman, according to the Bible). The centre panel is a fanciful scene of

Paradise (Christian Heaven) with nude figures, fantastical animals, oversized fruit. The right panel is a

“hellscape" and shows what happens if you are unfortunate and end up in Hell. The whole thing is

kind of a warning to remind us to be good Christians. It is also a glimpse into a disturbed man’s mind.

WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT IT ? It is right out of the box by medieval standards and takes the

prize for the most imaginative depiction of Heaven and Hell, ever. Remember that paintings like this

were created for people who could not read and write. It helped them to access what was inside the

pages of the Bible (as imagined and directed by the selected artist and his patron the Church of


MORE BY THIS ARTIST PLEASE ! You will need to visit Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain to see

this triptych. In the meantime find more Bosch here.


WHO DID IT ? British painter Francis Bacon painted this triptych called: “Three Studies for Figures

at the Base of a Crucifixion”. Each frame of the triptych is quite big (116 x 96 cm) and they present

quite an imposing image to the gallery visitor.

WHEN WAS IT MADE ? Bacon painted these three canvases between 1940 and 1943, during the

Second World War years. The triptych was first exhibited in 1945, which coincided with the release of

the first photographs and film footage of the Nazi concentration camps.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT ? It looks miserably bleak . . .And it is. It shows a group of people (almost

humanoid looking), who represent a group like those present at the base of Christ’s Cross when he

was crucified. They are sharing Christ’s agony and are twisted and grotesque as if showing the very

pain of crucifixion in their own bodies. Their partially obscured faces are grimacing in silent screams

or hidden in shame. For some, Bacon’s triptych reflected the pessimistic world he was experiencing

with the truth of the Holocaust emerging and the advent of nuclear weapons.

WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT IT ? Well, if for no other reason other than it is probably priceless.

In 2013 another Francis Bacon triptych (painted in 1969) sold for: $142.4 million at auction. Francis

Bacon ranks as one of the most important painters of the 20th Century. “Three Studies for Figures at

the Base of a Crucifixion” is at once a shocking reminder of the evil that world unleashes upon itself

and a cry for humanity and peace.

MORE BY THIS ARTIST PLEASE ! You can visit this triptych at the Tate Gallery in London,

England where it has been hanging since it was donated to the gallery in 1953. As for Francis Bacon

the man - the artist, you may wish to visit the official website here.


(Interestingly, our very own Jasmine in DP2 has used Francis Bacon’s technique to create some stunning

portraits of her own, which you will be able to view in this year’s IB Visual Arts Diploma Exhibition at AIC).



WHO DID IT ? This triptych artwork is called: “Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn”. It shows three

photographs of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei dropping a two thousand year old Han Dynasty ceramic

pot and letting it fall to the ground where it smashes into pieces.(Actually, he dropped two to get the

photograph correct. . .)

WHEN WAS IT MADE ? In 1995, Ai Weiwei smashed this antique urn. Or did he? He became

fascinated with the traditional heritage that been all but lost during the Cultural Revolution in China

(1966-76). Ai Weiwei would visit antique markets, gathering items -something that he’d learned from

Marcel Duchamp, (who he is often compared to), which could be presented as artworks in themselves,

or “readymades” .Among these items were 2000 year-old urns from the Han Dynasty. Were they real?

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT ? Perhaps this artwork is Ai Weiwei's most provocative work? It is meant to

provoke us. It shows the artist letting go of an elegant object made with intelligence, imagination and

love more than 2000 years ago and letting it smash to bits on the ground. (You can watch him drop it

here). What is Ai Weiwei saying to us? An attack on the Chinese artist's installation during the

exhibition of this and other work like it in Miami in 2014 was condemned as an act of vandalism. Why

is smashing Art only acceptable if an acclaimed global artist does it? It could be seen as a devastating

satire on the modern world's alienation from the past? Ever since the Chinese Revolution began in the

early 20th century, political and economic ruptures have cut off China in particular from its ancient

culture. Is Ai Weiwei parodying that? Or is he mocking western art-lovers who think all Chinese art is

ancient? Maybe he is questioning what we all value in life?

WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT IT ? Quite simply, Ai Weiwei is the most important contemporary

artist in China today. He relentlessly, fearlessly and cleverly uses his Art to get his message out. Ai

Weiwei is an avid social media user – Twitter and Instagram, rather than China’s Sina Weibo from

which he’s blocked – believing that these platforms offer a democracy and freedom that is new to his


MORE BY THIS ARTIST PLEASE ! Perhaps the most useful introduction to this fascinating

contemporary artist is “Ai Wewei, A Beginner’s Guide”by Louise Cohen for The Royal Academy of

Arts here.



FUN SECTION Cartoon Pages

“Oh, of course! We take great pride in the risk-taking qualities of our IB learners.”



FUN SECTION Cartoon Pages



FUN SECTION - APP-ROVAL by Brandon Chansavang

Symmys Sketch is an iPhone application to bring out the

polymorph doodler in you. When inspiration comes, you can

doodle on Symmys; with only a few minutes, an aesthetically

pleasing pattern can be created. The drawing process will

generate corresponding music according to the position of

your finger, which allows you to experience the beauty of

rhythm of graphics and music.

Great for all budding young VJ’s and those of you old

enough to remember the amazing Spirograph toy!

Voice Painting Too lazy to dig out that brush and ink?

Thinking of entering a Haiga Haiku to the next ARTBEAT?

Voice painting is an iPhone app which uses your voice to

draw Chinese paintings on the magic paper! It comes with

100 ready made images. The tutorial video demonstrates the

infinite variations of painting strokes like dry, wet, thick and


Happily this is an app available in Chinese and English. Now

its your turn to tell your iPhone or iPad what to do more

often, once it recognises your voice, of course.

Voice Training is an Android app which plays a note or

phrase of notes for you to sing .

The app displays piano keys which highlight showing you

which notes you should sing and which pitch you are

correctly singing. It keeps track of your progress and you can

gain stars for great singing. The app has been designed in

collaboration with professional singing teacher and it

simulates the experience of singing classes where teachers

use a piano as a guide for pitch.

Get yourself ready for that KTV!



Our Grade 10 Group photographed here at

the Chen Clan Academy House, Guangzhou

Remember Our Flowery, Foul-Mouthed,

Figurative Fiend on the Fourth Floor?

What has that cursing bonehead had to say since the last issue?


If you touch my flowers you will wake up wearing your clothes back to front and cycling your

“Mobike”sitting the wrong way around!

Touch my flowers and I will make you sing at Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony!

Every time you touch my flowers,another seagull dumps on Arnold Schwarzenegger as he

steps out of his car!

If you touch my flowers I’ll turn you into a polar bear who lives in Chinese shopping mall!

Touch my flowers and you and your friends will have to actually, really sit down, stay in one

place and actually, really, seriously study for the whole two hours during Evening Study Time!


Don’t forget to send in to us anything you hear that accursed artifact saying.

And for goodness sake . . . .DON’T TOUCH IT’S FLOWERS!

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!