The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Day: February 1, 2017 (Page 2 of 2)

The art of censorship

At Bates College, we are encouraged to express our identity and opinions freely, without repercussions. Students can express their political opinions through art, protests, and social media. However, in places like Saudi Arabia it is a different story. Abdulnasser Gharem, one of the artists on exhibit in Olin Museum for the Phantom Punch exhibit, gave a lecture Thursday, January 26th about the struggles of artistic expression in Saudi Arabia.

Before the age of the internet, “[I]t was a little bit hard to say what you were thinking especially in that, you know, conservative society, it’s not that easy if you have an idea to say it to anyone so you needed to be careful” said Gharem. For him, “[Art] was the only exit…or even the source for us to have personality or to discover something new…I didn’t know anything about music or poems…it wasn’t in the schools so there wasn’t books about it”, Gharem added.

Once Gharem was introduced to chat rooms, his entire worldview changed. Now, he could go on the streets t0 photograph his realities and upload them to a universal, digital audience. For instance, something now taken for granted such as downloading a photo, would take hours back in the chat-room age. The internet also allowed Gharem to research stories from his region, one in particular struck a chord within him that would later amount to his artistic career.

In 1982, a village in Saudi Arabia faced an oncoming tempest. They turned to their tribe leader, also known as a sheikh, for guidance. The sheikh believed that a concrete bridge was a safe place for the people to congregate during the storm, for it would persevere despite the stormy conditions. Unfortunately, the sheikh overestimated the bridge’s strength, and it fell along with many people during the storm. Many died as a result.

“And I was thinking, why did they follow him?” asked Gharem, “Why did no one just you know come up with another suggestion. And at that time it was me, you know, after having some knowledge because of the internet…I had an inner voice and I wanted to say something. So I think the best part of my job is through images and art.”

This inspired one of his works, “Al-Siraat (The Path)” (2011), which is on display in the museum. He, along with others, spray-painted the word “path” thousands of times over the bridge. Many had forgotten the story, and the media did not cover what had happened at the time. Gharem explained his interpretation of the art: “No one knows what it means, the path. Does it mean going with a group and feeling safe? Is it made to follow someone?…Or is it something you’re gonna leave behind you so that others can see it?” In a way, Gharem began his path creating art for others to see and interpret for themselves.

A large portion of Gharem’s work involves performance and site-specific exhibitions. This stems from his culture, “I believe in performance. In our culture, in our religion there is a lot of performance for praying or even dancing…so I started performance on the streets on the side of my time”, Gharem explained.

One street performance in particular was about the environment. The government had created a park and had planted trees foreign to the region. Those trees spread and killed native trees, negatively impacting the environment. Gharem saw this, and wrapped himself in a plastic sheet with a tree. He then started walking through the streets.

“This work was about the environment… no one could have a way to say [anything about the foreign trees]…no one can say it’s bad because there is no, no channels no one can say no, and they don’t know what to do. So I said ok I’m going to start wrapping myself”, he explained.

In 2011, Gharem sold his artwork “Message/Messenger” during a Christie’s auction in Dubai for $842,500 USD, the highest price ever paid for a living Arab artist . The piece depicts an elaborate, gilded dome of a mosque propped open— resembling a classical trap. Within the dome is a white dove, the universal symbol for peace. “I was thinking about what was happening about me…how [religious people] play with [religion], how they manipulate it, you and your principal… so you are going to find a lot of pressure from the family, from society, from the mosque, from the schools…”Gharem explained.

Abdulnasser Gharem believes that one of the most important things we can do is to promote artistic expression to younger generations. Back in Riyadh, he along with his colleagues created a studio next to a bakery that allows both boys and girls to cultivate their talent. The studio has no signs and is in a residence with no near by neighbors, so that genders can legally be in the same room. His studio is a safe place for artists, musicians, fashion designers, and film-makers. His mission for the studio was to create, ” a space where they can practice and create new ideas, so we gave them the studio as a place…And they feel safe and they can speak freely…and nothing will happen to them.”

When asked if he feared he would get in trouble for his controversial lifestyle, Gharem noted, “The problem is…the religious system, the economic system and the political system it’s based on dividing…[but] it’s ok to say it through art because it’s more soft and the people will start to think… It’s the easy way to do it through art.” Indeed, pictures speak a thousand words.


Two more punches – it is a Knock Out

This past week was full of activities at the Bates College Museum of Art. On Monday, January 23 the museum held a pop-up exhibition show on Lisbon Street. The visiting artist, Nugamshi, performed his Calligraffiti – an intersection between calligraphy and graffiti in the museum’s downtown studio space. And on Thursday, January 26 Bates hosted a talk by Abdulnasser Gharem, one of the most influential artists in the history of Saudi Arabia.

As someone who is passionate about art I may be biased, but I find show openings to be fantastic. They often provide the visitors with the unique chance to interact with artists. Even though an artwork can often stand on its own, talking to artists reveals their thought process, biography, and interests. It gently complements the visitor’s understanding of art. This was the case for Tuesday’s pop-up exhibition by Nugamshi. The museum’s studio space downtown was filled with incredibly diverse people who wanted to experience Saudi Arabian art. Through the course of an hour and a half, Nugamshi created several calligraffiti art pieces that blended canvas with the walls. Nugamshi makes his own brushes to fit his controlled body movement. The result is an impressive body of work dealing with some of the most pressing topics in the contemporary world: justice and morality in black and white paint.

While Nugamshi’s pieces from this show will be destroyed (the artist often destroys his works), his website and social media presence offer a way to support his ephemeral performances. As an artist myself, it is priceless to be able to experience other artist creating first hand. It is a privilege to have insight on someone else’s creations. For me it means more than simply an intellectual understanding – it is an exercise of empathy.

On Thursday, January 26 Bates College had the honor of receiving Abdulnasser Gharem as a guest speaker. Gharem is internationally known as perhaps the most influential contemporary Saudi Arabian artist – it is not an exaggeration to say that he has changed the cultural scene in his country. Gharem spent 23 years in the Saudi Arabian Army as a Lieutenant Colonel while dedicating himself to promoting art in his country. In his speech, Gharem mentioned that his works started in the early 1980s, trying to find his path in the world of arts in order to have his voice heard. Later, he created performances in his small town in Saudi Arabia and created pop-up works in his country. Gharem gained an international audience in the art world when he reached a record price for the work Message/Messenger in Dubai sold for $800,000 at auction. Gharem mentioned that at the time, he had to sell his car in order to build the work.

In his speech, Gharem told the audience that conceptual art was not quite popular in Saudi Arabia before the 2000s. The internet provided him with a tool to find his ways, exchanging ideas with other artist. Today, art is received differently. He mentioned how the public reception of his artworks went from confusion to appreciation. Gharem now has a studio in Riyadh – he provides ample support to the new generation of Saudi Arabian artists who follow his steps. This new wave of artists has someone to look for support and advice, which is more valuable than words could possibly express.

Talking to Gharem during the exhibition reception, I was astonished to see how one humble person has the capacity to change the ways of art history. He is someone to be followed, not only because of his superb technique and art pieces but also because of his ideals. He is genuine about making a supportive, creative community in his country. His studio promotes the introduction of a new wave of art in Saudi Arabia – which also introduces the world to Saudi Arabian art and culture.

Last week’s events were a continuation of the Phantom Punch exhibition, which will stay up in the museum until March 18. The show, curated by Dan Mills and Loring Danforth, presents over a dozen Saudi Arabian works in a one-of-a-kind show. This exhibition is as much about Saudi Arabian culture as it is about the human condition in a globalized world. In times such as ours, empathy is something to be actively maintained and constructed. Having a museum in our backyard is more than a privilege: visiting it is priceless.


An alphabetical journey into the English Premier League: L

Leicester City (The Foxes)

Overview: Leicester City was founded in 1884 as Leicester Fosse Football Club and played near Fosse Road. In 1894 they joined the Football League and changed their name to Leicester City in 1919. They have won 6 second-division titles and one championship. Last season they won the Premier League and became the 6th team to win the Premier League since its inception. Their title win is considered one of the greatest upsets of all time of any sport. In 2008-2009, Leicester was in League 1, two tiers below the Premier League. That year they came in first and were promoted to the Championship League and came in fifth 2009-2010. The team remained in the Championship League until the 2013-2014 season when they were again champions with a win over Bolton. The team hired former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri at the beginning of the 2015-2016 campaign. He led the team to their first ever Premier League victory and their first qualification for the Champions League, where they placed first in their group. Ranieri was awarded Coach of the Year.

Stadium: King Power Stadium

Notable players:

Jamie Vardy, F (current)

Riyad Mahrez, M (current)

Islam Slimani, F (current)

Wes Morgan, D (current)

Gary Mills, D (1989-1994)

Gordon Banks, GK (1959-1967)

Fun facts:

– One of 3 teams to be at the bottom of the table at Christmas and not get relegated (2015)

– Striker Jamie Vardy holds the record for consecutive games scored in (13 goals in 11 games, 2015)

– Fastest 7-year rise to the title except for Ipswich Town in 1962

– Odds of them winning the Premier League in 2015-2016 was 5000:1

Liverpool (The Reds)

Overview: Liverpool was founded in 1892 and joined the Football League a year later. They have played at their current stadium, Anfield, since its formation. The club has won 5 European Cups, 3 UEFA Cups, 3 UEFA Super Cups, 18 League titles, 7 FA Cups, 8 League Cups, and 15 FA Community Shields. The club’s anthem is “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” The club was originally called Everton FC and Athletic Grounds Ltd. before changing their name to Liverpool FC in March 1892. Their current manager is Jurgen Klopp, who replaced Brendan Rodgers at the beginning of last season. They have one of the best fan bases of all European teams.

Stadium: Anfield

Notable players:

Philippe Coutinho, M (current)

Luis Suarez, F (2011-2014)

Steven Gerrard, M (1998-2015)

Phil Neal, D (1974-1986)

Billy Liddell, M (1938-1961)

Kenny Dalglish, F (1977-1990)

Ian Rush, F (1980-1986, 1988-1996)

Fun facts:

– 8th most valuable club ($1.55 billion)

– Two major tragedies, the Heysel Stadium disaster and the Hillsborough disaster, have resulted in fan deaths

– Liverpool fans refer to themselves as Kopites, referencing the Kop at Anfield

– Their song was originally from a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical

– Everton remains their biggest rivals, with games between the two having more red cards than any other matchup


Bates College shutdown

On Tuesday, January 24, Bates College administrative offices were delayed from opening until noon. All employees who were not designated as “essential” were asked to remain at home. Nonetheless, Commons and the Library were still open throughout the day. Classes were left to the discretion of the professor. But campus in many ways did come to a standstill.

This logistical nightmare was a result of the sleet and icy conditions that, although always a reality of Maine winters, were more intolerable than usual. Yet this was also the first time that the college has had a delayed opening in the college’s recent history. For many excited students this meant liberation from their morning classes but for others it led to false excitement as many devoted professors affirmed that class was scheduled as usual.

The day itself was filled with bizarre weather, as a mesh of water, ice, and snow merged with one another to combine into an unholy mix of tumultuous precipitation. Students who still had classes were forced to bear the inclimate weather along with snow filled pathways. At the same time, campus workers had to begin the monotonous task of cleaning up the mess.

The delay was called by the Senior Emergency Response Group which is made up of representatives from the offices of the dean of the faculty, dean of students, vice president of finance and administration, security, communications, facility services and dining services, and whose job it is deliberate with one another on how to “develop and coordinate the College’s response to emergencies.” After proper assessment of the weather conditions on Tuesday, the Senior Emergency Response Group opted to enact a delayed start.

Student reactions were varied. For many students the most surprising aspect was not the delay, but that the school called their phones.

“My dad got a call at 4 am and was confused and worried something happened”, said Mary Buford Turnage ‘19. “When I went outside, the pathway was inches deep in water,” Turnage remarked regarding the weather.

Additionally another student, Natalie Givens ‘20 said, “nothing was better than to wake up and hear that I didn’t have to go to my 8 am.” However, one reaction mutually expressed by the entire Bates community was gratitude for the campus workers who had to shovel and clear the numerous pathways that had been blocked. Regardless, by noon, most of the snow had been cleared sufficiently enough to reopen administrative building and all Bates academic and administrative services continued to operate smoothly.


Student government recap

BCSG discusses campus issues. JOHN NEUFELD/THE BATES STUDENT

BCSG discusses campus issues.

The Bates Student Government held their weekly Sunday meeting — open to all students — to discuss future goals and plans that will benefit the Bates community. The Student Government is attempting to improve relations between the security office and students through organized events. Given the success of the first event, which occurred in the fall of 2016, there is the incentive to organize a more interactive discussion with a friendly atmosphere so that students cease viewing security with animosity. It is further important to understand that security is required to report underage drinking, for it is their job; however, students are less likely to experience any consequences if they are respectful towards security. With the first event attracting about 24 students, security is rather excited for these events and would like to see more students attending.

The Student Government addressed the Health Center concerns that have been on students’ minds since September. Before the Student Government takes initiative on fixing the problems associated with the Health Center, such as waiting hours for a simple procedures or lacking walk-in hours, they must receive concrete details about what is working and what is not, and compare the old Health Center to the current one.

The issue of parking bans was introduced and will be discussed further with the committee responsible, which is headed by Griffin Golden ‘19. If a student’s car does not have a Bates College parking permit, then the only parking option is Downtown Lewiston, which is inconvenient for most students who are unable to park in the visitor parking lots or on the streets. The meeting concluded with the decision to speak to numerous clubs to see how the recent Presidential election has affected their mission and their future actions.

It is highly encouraged that students attend the Student Government meetings which happen every Sunday at 7pm in Hedge 106, for the President, Adedire Fakorede ’18 and Vice-President, Tyler Post ’18 want full transparency. Further, it gives students the opportunity to voice their concerns.


Last week took two L’s but this week they bounced back (Big Sean voice)

There were low murmurs of panic after the two tough NESCAC losses last week. But the men’s team quickly put any panic to rest as they answered with a two game winning streak starting with Salem State.

Tom Coyne ‘20 had a career high 25 points and led the team in scoring. Malcolm Delpeche ‘17 was all over the court, dropping 19 points, grabbing nine rebounds, and blocking three shots. Jeff Spellman ‘20 helped out by adding 14 points coming off the bench. Drew Healy scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Vikings and multiple players were in double figures for points coming off the bench for Salem State.

The first half was tight, with four lead changes and and six ties. Coyne started with the hot hand in the first half, scoring a game high 12 points and shooting five of six from the field and knocking down two threes. The Bobcats looked good off the glass, grabbing 22 rebounds in the first half out rebounding the Vikings by five. Bates was up at the half 37-36.

In the second half, coming off the bench Coyne once again hit five of six from the field. Bates would go up as much as 12 points but the Vikings would not go away, cutting the deficit to 82-73. But Bates would not be fazed as Marcus Delpeche ‘17 aired out a full court pass to his brother for the dunk to put them back up to a double digit lead with 1:31 left. The shooters came out to play against Salem State, where Bates had one of their best nights of the season from the field, shooting 57 percent.

On Saturday January 29 Bates hosted No. 4 ranked Tufts University where they got a big and much needed win, beating the Jumbos 84-72. Marcus Delpeche would go on to notch another double-double and score a game high 28 points. He also led the team in rebounding with 11. Darling had the hot hand too as he scored a career high 21 points. Quin Leary ‘17 and Spellman would give support off the bench dropping nine and 10 points, respectively. Tufts’ Tarik Smith and Vincent Pace would lead Tufts in points with 19 each.

It was another tightly contested first half, with 12 lead changes but Bates refused to take their foot off the gas. They would take the lead for good when Marcus made a shot to put them up 28-25 with 5:23 left in the first half. With a personal 7-0 run by Marcus, showing his dominance in the paint, and a couple threes made by Darling and Max Hummel ‘19, the Bobcats would be up at half 39-31.

Darling came out swinging in the second half, putting up back-to-back threes to set the tone in Alumni Gym. At the 11:58 mark, Spellman hit a three to give the Bobcats their biggest lead of the night, an 18-point lead.

Tufts would not back down though, cutting the deficit 61-49 with 9:55 to go in the game. They would eventually cut the lead down to single digits, 77-70 with 1:32 left but the Bobcats would seal the deal by converting their free throws down the stretch. Thiw was a big boost of confidence for the Bobcats as late free throw shots has plagued them this season. Darling and Marcus Delpeche would combine for seven made free throws down the stretch. Bates shot the ball well from beyond the arc throughout the game, making 10 of 20 attempts from the three whereas Tufts shot only 5 of 27 from downtown.

This was a major win for Bates in front of a raucous crowd, as they handed Tufts their first NESCAC loss of the season. They will look to continue their stride when they host Maine-Farmington in a non-conference matchup this Tuesday at 5:30 in Alumni Gym.


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