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Feliz ano novo:)

Feliz ano novo:) O ano novo começa e novos objetivos se levantam. Peguem nas vossas armas, recarreguem os vossos sonhos, rescrevam novo objetivos, vigiem, mantenham o foco, livrem se do que é pequeno, do que distrai, do que não produz crescimento, do que não é prioridade….

Neste primeiro poste de 2017 escuta bem, quero apenas te dizer que tu és um ser único, cada um de nós é um ser único capaz de oferecer e produzir algo único que mais ninguém tem.

Nunca aceites que alguém diga que não és capaz de isto ou daquilo, que consegues alcançar este ou aquele objetivo, que podes ou não fazer, porque a verdade é que somos filhos do Rei, do senhor do impossível. Nada é impossível para ELE. Pois antes que houvesse dia, ELE é e ninguém há que possa escoar fendias mãos…Agindo Deus na tua vida que o impedirá?

Acima de tudo é importante acreditarmos em nós mesmos e visualizarmos os nosso sonhos , pois Deus tem grandes coisas guardadas para cada um de nós. Acredita, tem fé, trabalha e desfruta da jornada. Desejo a todos um 2017 cheio de bênçãos.

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Kara Walker: “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby”

I am in the USA, studying towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Los Angeles. It is a fairly comprehensive course, in which several subjects are covered including: Film Studies; Acting; Health; Communication; Production; History of the Arts; Scenic Studies; American Culture; and even the English Language.

IMG_8506During my stay both in New York or Los Angeles, whenever I have the opportunity, I try to attend cultural events. In New York or Los Angeles these are never lacking!

One my interests is definitely visiting Museums. A visit to a Museum is always an excellent opportunity to appreciate, to understand, and even evoke our capacity to get lost in Art, through thoughts, feelings and emotions. This process is experienced in different ways, by each person, or group of people, which visits the space and appreciate the works.

It was on one of these visits that I discovered the work of Kara Walker.

Kara Walker is an African-American artist who has created and used her art to enhance African culture and to fight for various causes. Her work stands against racism, and calls for the respect of women, and the end of all forms of violence against women, who can still be seen as weaker and disadvantaged. She has sought to enlighten us with her Art, showing the inequalities that persist in our present society. Inequalities that can divide people and change their circumstances.

IMG_8505Reading about Kara Walker was very enriching, but being present in her Exhibition and seeing the power of the message in her Art, was beyond my expectations. It was a unique experience, only possible to feel standing there in its presence.

Kara Walker’s work is very complex and presents several layers, full of symbolism. This forces the public to spend more time observing the pieces, which ranged from drawings of different sizes, to the sculptures designed in sugar and caramel. I did notice that, when in direct contact with her work, some people just wanted to look at the pieces for enjoyment. They were not necessarily interested in understanding the depth of the message behind the piece.

Unfortunately, this is a tendency which is becoming quite prominent in our contemporary societies. People prefer to think that it is much simpler to ignore the problems that have created the reality we have today.

Life is full of unique and beautiful moments, but on the other hand there are also cruel moments, where only the hand of God can free us from the evil and bring peace. We all need to fight for worthy causes, and to help solve the problems that afflict others. I hope that you feel this need the next time you visit a Art Exhibition.

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Kara Walker: “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby”

Como é do conhecimento de muitos, por questões académicas tenho encontro-me em fase de conclusão da licenciatura num Curso debelas Artes (Fine Arts), em Los Angeles. É um curso bastante abrangente no qual são abordados vários temas desde o Cinema, Representação, Saúde, Produção, Historia das Artes, Estudos Cénicos, cultura americana, e a proporia Língua Inglesa.

IMG_8506Durante a minha estadia, quer em Nova Iorque ou Los Angeles, sempre que tenho a oportunidade, tento frequentar algum evento cultural. Em Nova Iorque e Los Angeles há sempre muita escolha!

Um dos meus interesses específicos é visitar Museus. Uma visita a um Museu é sempre uma excelente oportunidade para apreciar, para compreender, e até para evocar a nossa capacidade de “ficar perdido” na Arte, através de pensamentos, de sentimentos e emoções. Este processo é diferente para cada pessoa, ou até para cada grupo, que visita um espaço e aprecia as obras. Foi numa destas visitas que descobri as obras de Kara Walker.

Kara Walker é uma Artista Afro-americana que tem criado e usado a sua Arte para elevar a Cultura Africana, e para lutar por diversas causas. Os seus trabalhos lutam contra o racismo e apelam ao respeito pelas mulheres. E também ao fim de todas as formas de violência contra as mulheres, que ainda podem ser vistas como “fracas e desfavorecidas”. Ela tem procurado iluminar as nossas atitudes com a sua Arte, mostrando as desigualdades que existem na nossa sociedade contemporânea. Desigualdades que podem dividir pessoas e mudar as suas circunstâncias.

IMG_8505Ler sobre o trabalho de Kara Walker é enriquecedor, mas estar presente na sua Exibição, e ver a força da mensagem na sua Arte, foi para além das minhas expectativas.

 

Foi uma experiencia única, que apenas pude sentir estando na presença das obras.

O trabalho de Kara Walker é bastante complexo, e apresenta vários estratos, todos cheios de simbolismo. Isto obriga o público a despender mais tempo observando as obras, que variaram desde desenhos (de vários tamanhos), até esculturas feitas com açúcar e caramelo.

Observei que, quando em contacto direto com o seu trabalho, algumas pessoas só olhavam para estas pelo prazer. Não estavam necessariamente interessados em compreender a profundidade da mensagem “por detrás” das obras. Infelizmente isto é uma tendência que está se tornando cada vez mais saliente nas nossas sociedades contemporâneas. As pessoas preferem pensar que é mais simples ignorar os problemas que criariam a realidade que temos atualmente.

A vida está repleta de momentos lindos e únicos, mas também de momentos cruéis, onde apenas a mão de Deus pode livrar da maldade e restaurar a paz. Nós todos temos de lutar por causas dignas, e ajudar a resolver os problemas que afligem os outros. Espero que sinta essa necessidade da próxima vez que visite uma Exibição de Arte.

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Happy Valentines Day.

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Feliz Dia de São Valentim.

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We will be back soon.

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Regressámos dentro de breve.

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Comic Books and History: Drawing Tales from the Past.

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We have seen how comic books can be used to share the concepts of science. The story presented can be told in a factually accurate way. The topics can be presented in simple, yet interesting ways. What about History? Can comic books accurately portray events from the past in the same manner? Can comic books show these events as stories that are factual rather than fictitious? Of course they can!

In my opinion History is well suited to being presented in comic book form. Imagine a story set in Ancient Rome. A comic book can depict, on a single page, a setting that may have taken several pages to describe through text alone.  A single, well drawn panel can provide a pictorial backdrop against which the events of the story unfold. While other mediums, such as film, can portray the same story in more dynamic ways, they are also more costly.  To depict the same story convincingly in a film requires the successful blending of scenery, acting talent and the occasional special effect. In comic books these are only minor concerns.

A good example of the right mix between fun and fact is the work of Stan Sakai. Sakai bases his comic books in a medieval Japan. His most well known creation Usagi Yojimbo, which literally means “rabbit bodyguard”, is the hero of a comic book series set in Edo Period Japan. The main character (Usagi Miyamoto), is a master less rabbit samurai, loosely based on the famous Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. Usagi wonders the land occasionally selling his services as a bodyguard (Yojimbo). Throughout the stories there are many references to Japanese history and folklore. The depiction of the architecture, clothes, weapons, and other objects, is faithful to the style of the period. Many stories have share Japanese culture by illustrating various elements of Japanese arts and crafts, such as the fashioning of kites, swords, and pottery.

While a comic book can never be a textbook, Usagi Yojimbo is recommended supplementary reading material in many schools. As a result the series has been very well received and has won numerous awards including:

  • 1990 Parents’ Choice Award for its educational value
  • 1996 Eisner Award for “Best Letterer” (Groo and Usagi Yojimbo)
  • 1996 Eisner Award for “Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition” (Usagi Yojimbo)
  • 1999 Eisner Award for “Best Serialized Story” (Usagi Yojimbo “Grasscutter”)
  • 2012 Eisner Award for “Best Lettering” (Usagi Yojimbo)

Continuing in the same historical period, another work that deserves mention is Stan Sakai´s 47 Ronin. Here Sakai retells one of the most important national stories of Japan.47 Ronin is based upon the historically accurate account of warriors who lay in wait two years to avenge the tragic death of their master. After their revenge they take their own lives to be buried beside him. The story epitomizes what a samurai should be.

Ever heard of a comic book with a corresponding teachers guide? Bentley Boyd created Chester Comix to encourage boys to read and, to provide historically accurate stories. Mr. Boyd studied both History and Literature at Harvard University, and he uses both subjects to construct his comic book stories. Each book is historically accurate and expands children’s reading ability by placing new vocabulary into the story. The teacher’s guides then show how to introduce the stories from the comic book and, how to introduce the vocabulary. The teachers guide also offers suggestions: for word studies, writing prompts and other activities.

Which story from the past would you most like to see made into a comic book? Drop me a line and let me know!

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Banda Desenhada e História: Desenhando os Contos do Passado.

Vimos como a Banda Desenhada pode ser usada para divulgar os conceitos de ciência. A história apresentada pode ser contada de uma forma exata e precisa. Os temas podem ser apresentados de forma simples, mas interessante. E no que diz respeito á História? Pode a Banda Desenhada retratar os eventos do passado da mesma maneira? Pode a Banda Desenhada mostrar estes eventos como histórias factuais e não apenas fictícias? É claro que pode!

Na minha opinião a História é um assunto bem adequado para ser apresentado em forma de Banda Desenhada. Imagine uma história que decorre na Roma Antiga. Uma Banda Desenhada pode retratar, numa única página, um local que necessitaria várias páginas de texto para sua descrição. Um único, bem desenhado, painel pode fornecer um cenário pictórico contra o qual os eventos da história irão desenrolar. Enquanto outras meios criativos, tais como o cinema, podem retratar a mesma história de formas mais dinâmicas, eles também são mais caros. Para descrever a mesma história de forma convincente num filme requer uma mistura bem-sucedida de cenário, talento dos atores e o ocasional efeito especial. Na Banda Desenhada essas preocupações são mínimas

Um bom exemplo da mistura certa entre diversão e facto veridico é o trabalho de Stan Sakai. Sakai baseia suas histórias de Banda Desenhada num Japão medieval. A sua criação mais conhecida, Usagi Yojimbo, que literalmente significa ” coelho guarda-costas “, é o herói de uma série de Banda Desenhada que se desenrola no Período Edo . O personagem principal (Usagi Miyamoto), é um coelho samurai sem mestre. É uma personagem vagamente baseada no famoso espadachim japonês Miyamoto Musashi. Usagi viaja pela terra, ocasionalmente vendendo seus serviços de guarda-costas (Yojimbo). Ao longo das histórias, há muitas referências ao folclore e à história japonesa. A representação da arquitetura, roupas, armas e outros objetos, é fiel ao estilo do período. Muitas histórias focam partes da cultura japonesa, ilustrando vários elementos de artes e ofícios japoneses, tais como a confeção de pagagaios, espadas e cerâmica.

Embora um livro de Banda Desenhada nunca pode ser um manual escolar, Usagi Yojimbo é recomendado como material suplementar de leitura em muitas escolas. Como resultado, a série foi muito bem recebida e ganhou inúmeros prêmios, incluindo:

  • 1990 Prêmio Parent´s Choice (Escolha dos Pais) pelo seu valor educacional
  • 1996 Eisner Award “Best Letterer” (Groo e Usagi Yojimbo)
  • 1996 Eisner Award “Talento Merecedor de Maior Reconhecimento” (Usagi Yojimbo)
  • 1999 Eisner Award “Melhor História serializada” (Usagi Yojimbo “Grasscutter”)
  • 2012 Eisner Award “Melhor Lettering” (Usagi Yojimbo)

Continuando no mesmo período histórico, outro trabalho de Stan Sakai que merece destaque é 47 Ronin. Aqui Sakai reconta uma das mais importantes histórias nacionais do Japão. 47 Ronin é baseado num conto historicamente exato de guerreiros que esperaram dois anos para vingar a morte trágica de seu mestre. Após esta vingança tomaram suas próprias vidas para serem enterrados ao lado dele. A história resume o ideal daquilo que um samurai deve ser.

Alguma vez ouviu falar de uma Banda Desenhada com um correspondente guia para professores? Bentley Boyd criou Chester Comix para incentivar o hábito de leitura em jovens rapazes. E também para contar histórias historicamente precisas. Boyd estudou História e Literatura na Universidade de Harvard, e ele usa ambas estas disciplinas na construção das suas histórias de Banda Desenhada. Cada livro é historicamente correto e amplia a capacidade das crianças de ler, colocando novo vocabulário dentro a história. Os guias do professor mostram então como introduzir as histórias de Banda Desenhada e, como introduzir o vocabulário associado. O guia também oferece sugestões aos professores: para estudos da palavra, instruções de escrita e outras atividades.

Que história do passado você mais gostaria de ver transformado numa história de Banda Desenhada? Deixe-me um comentário!

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Sequential Art and Education: Using Comic Books to Educate and Entertain

Occasionally I hear phrases such as “comic books are a waste of time”, “children should be reading real books and not just looking at pretty pictures”. Such statements, even when well intentioned, are always made with the idea that comic books are “bad for the education of children”. I disagree. Like I said before people are “story telling animals”, comic books as an example of Sequential Art, can be used to both tell stories or to convey information. In my opinion the best Comic Books will attempt to do both. If a picture is worth 1000 words, how about a series of pictures, coupled with just the right words? The correct combination of pictures and words can allow children to be introduced to ideas from science, history and even contemporary issues, in a manner which is easy to relate to.

Consider the following: in 1964 the Danish scientist, Karl Kroeyer, raised a sunken freighter near the Kuwait harbor in the Persian Gulf, by pumping it full of expandable polystyrene foam bubbles. Where did he get his idea? From reading something similar in a comic book story as a young man! In Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #104, (May 1949), Donald Duck and his nephews raised a sunken ship from the bottom of the sea by filling the inside of the boat with Ping-Pong balls. The Ping- Pong balls fill the hold, displacing the water in the ship and giving it enough buoyancy to float to the surface.

Kroeyer´s solution worked in essentially the same way as the Ping-Pong balls, with both methods relying on buoyancy as the key mechanism. Later, when Kroeyer tried to patent his process, his request was denied because the method had been published in the comic book fifteen years earlier!

The Ping – Pong ball story is not the only example of Donald Duck using science to solve a problem. Fighting forest fires, explaining ghostly ships and, exploring underwater are all given the same treatment.

Another example of Sequential Art that manages to strike the right balance between Story and Science, and which both educates and entertains, is the French educational animation franchise “Il Était Une Fois…”, “Once Upon a Time…”. This franchise, by Procidis, discusses various topics such as the overall history of mankind; the workings of the human body; the history of the American continent; the various thinkers and inventors throughout history; the various explorers and; the preservation of the natural environment.

As a specific example, we can mention “Once Upon a Time… Life”. This series depicted the workings of the human body through metaphor. Throughout the 26 episode series, the Human Body is portrayed as a complex society. In each episode of the series a different organ or system within the human body (like the brain, the heart, the circulatory system, etc.), is featured. Good characters represented the cells that make up the body’s systems and defense mechanisms, such as red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, while bad characters represented the viruses and bacteria that threaten to attack the human body.

Children from countries as diverse as Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Croatia, got a look at the inner workings of the body in a way that was factual, fun and understandable. Many children, me included liked, and looked forward to watching the next episode.

Comic books and science can indeed mesh, but they do not always mesh well. Many Comic Books do not get the necessary balance between Fun and Fact “quite right”. When this happens the science is often sacrificed to the story and becomes gimmicky or implausible.

Carl BarksContrast this approach to that taken by Carl Barks, who wrote and drew nearly all of the Donald Duck comic book adventures published in Disney comics from 1942 to 1966. Barks valued the intelligence of his audience. In an interview published in 1985, Barks stated, “I didn’t go along with the editors’ idea that children who bought . . . comics were ignorant, blubbering infants. I assumed that my average reader was around twelve years old, semi-worldly, and already quite knowledgeable about mechanics, history, science, nature, travel, and so on.” Barks also believed that, “readers of any age would be more pleasantly entertained by stories that were plausibly written and believably drawn.”

Rather than discarding those comic books that misrepresent science altogether, a more useful approach is to use them as examples. Consider the following comic book Super-heroes: Superman, Hulk, Spiderman, and the Batman. Each of these can be used to discuss how the story “gets the science right or wrong“.

Can a being like Superman, who gets a plethora of “superpowers” from being exposed to “sunlight of a different colour”, exist? Could Bruce Banner survive a Gamma Ray explosion? Would this explosion give him the ability to increase his physical size and strength as a result of anger? How about the Batman, a Superhero with no Superpowers? Do the crime fighting items he carries around in the Batbelt exist? Do the powers which Peter Parker develops have any resemblance to those of a real spider? Interested in exploring these questions further? Get yourself a copy of “The Science of Super-Heroes”, by Lois Gresh and Robert Weinberg.

Join me in the “next installment” for a brief discussion of Will Eisner widely considered to be the father of the graphic novel, as well as the relationship of Sequential Art to Journalism, History and, Contemporary Issues.

In the mean time, grab a Comic and just have fun reading! See you soon! In the mean time take a look at the following online comic books, which attempt to educate and entertain: