Thursday, May 23Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Visual Arts

Are Tote Bags Still Cool?
Culture, Culture & Literature, Literature, Visual Arts

Are Tote Bags Still Cool?

By Daniel Pepin A cloth sack with straps and a print. That’s all a tote bag is. And yet, it is so much more. Getting across campus without seeing at least one tote bag is impossible. A bold Brick Lane Bookshop tote here and a sleek London Review of Books one there; a rare sighting of the coveted Shakespeare and Co. bag straight from Kilometre Zero Paris – they tend to permeate our surroundings. Each tote comes equipped with its own prestige stamped on the front or hiding in the small pocket stitched into pricier models. At once, it is a fashion and intellectual statement. But are they still cool? You would be hard-pressed to find an established independent bookshop without a tote bag of their very own, which is their genius. Picture a trip to your favourite bookstore - a hidden gem may...
Words from the Wild: The Nature of Poetry – An Interview with Briony Hughes
Culture, Culture & Literature, Literature, Visual Arts

Words from the Wild: The Nature of Poetry – An Interview with Briony Hughes

By Charisse Hau Words from the Wild: The Nature of Poetry is an exhibition exploring different forms of poetry in response to the natural world. The exhibition has been curated by Royal Holloway and TECHNE researchers Caroline Harris, Briony Hughes, and Gareth Hughes, in collaboration with the Royal Holloway Culture Team. In exploring the interplays between materiality and ecopoetry, I had the chance to talk to one of the curators, Briony Hughes, who is also a visiting tutor in English and Creative Writing, and PhD candidate. There are so many intersections between material, and poetry. Why and how is that used in this exhibition? “All of the poets in the space agree that a shift in climate necessitates a shift in how we approach poetic writing, and in particular, a shift in p...
The Minority’s Minority? Guyana, Rise Up
Culture & Literature, Visual Arts

The Minority’s Minority? Guyana, Rise Up

Mother’s Day seemed like an appropriate time to get in touch with my Indo-Guyanese ancestry, so I took my Mum, born and bred Guyanese, on an outing to the Tate Britain's exhibit, Life Between Islands. Guyana’s locale tends to leave it overwritten in many Caribbean tributes. You can imagine my joyful surprise, then, to see a thriving Guyanese presence in Life Between Islands. It is an excellent celebration of all things Caribbean, with a focus on the impacts of colonialism, migration and British identity, tying generations together through art, film, fashion, music and even interior design, to the ongoing efforts for cultural decolonization.  Guyana occupies this odd spot – it’s part of the Caribbean but it’s not an island. It sits east of Venezuela and straddles the northern coast...
How to Capture Stunning Cityscapes at Night
Culture & Literature, Music, Visual Arts

How to Capture Stunning Cityscapes at Night

There's something mesmerizing about cities at night. When the sun is replaced with a stream of fluorescent lights and neon signs, it’s completely different to anything you’ll see during the day. Capturing this on camera may seem hard, but shooting nightscapes can be very simple, and something that every budding photographer should try. Most smartphone cameras now have a long exposure mode, so you don’t even need a professional-level camera to get those Instagrammable photos after sunset. Equipment Most tutorials will tell you to buy both an expensive tripod and high-quality ND filters, but neither of these items are necessary. A tripod – which can be bought second hand for as little as £10 – is advisable for keeping the camera still, but you could always stabilize the camera by rest...
Painting Plagues: How Artists Have Portrayed Pandemics Throughout History
Culture & Literature, Visual Arts

Painting Plagues: How Artists Have Portrayed Pandemics Throughout History

As the UK nears the grim milestone of 113,000 reported deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test (as of 9th February), it serves as a reminder that history has a tendency to repeat itself. Pandemics are not a novel concept, as they have happened before and are, unfortunately, bound to happen again one day. Whilst art is not one of the first things that may come to mind when you think of the word ‘pandemic’, it is, and always has been, intrinsically linked. When communities faced a new invisible enemy, it was the job of artists to portray the devastating effects of these diseases, therefore forever immortalising these illnesses within a visual medium.  The Black Death is the most infamous of all plagues and is still listed today as the deadliest pandemic ever recorded in hu...
Artist of the Month: Rachel Harvey/ Artist Named Nobody
Culture & Literature, Visual Arts

Artist of the Month: Rachel Harvey/ Artist Named Nobody

Artist Named Nobody is an art shop run by London-based 19-year-old artist Rae. Having taught herself to paint at age 14, she now specialises in watercolour and sells prints, clothing and more. Her work highlights the beauty of black culture, history and identity, seeking to break the boundaries of ‘black art’.  Rae paints facial portraits of black figures with plain backgrounds to show black people as people, not as tools to tell stories about slavery, racism and black love. Her art humanises black people and shows their beauty. “I was first inspired to make black beauty the focus of my work when I had my first gallery exhibition at age 16 and saw a little black girl admiring my painting which featured another black girl showing pride in her identity and natural hair. I never f...
Artist of the Month: Chakkri Kaewkhamsorn
Culture & Literature, Visual Arts

Artist of the Month: Chakkri Kaewkhamsorn

Safia Liesnham "My name is Chakkri Kaewkhamsorn, 19 years of age, studying in London. Photography has always been my passion although it’s not something I thought I’d ever end up doing. I grew up in Thailand, Udon Thani to be exact, with my grandparents, and both my grandparents and my parents wanted me to pursue an academic career path. I was 10 when I came to the UK. Despite not knowing the language when I started school I ended up doing quite well and was proud of myself. I didn’t get into photography until one of my friends let me borrow her camera during a school trip and all I can remember is that the camera never left my hands and I begged my parents for one when I got home. It took almost a year for them to finally give in, and they bought me my first DSLR, which I still use...
Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years
Culture & Literature, Visual Arts

Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years

Grayson Perry is one of Britain’s most iconic living artists. Known for his idiosyncratic pottery style and his female alter ego Claire, Perry is the subject of a new exhibition at the Holburne Museum in Bath. Focusing on his work in the 1980s and 1990s, completed before Perry’s psychotherapy, the objects featured are shown together for the first time in decades, having been crowd-sourced from across the UK. Upon entering, you are faced with three distinct terracotta plates. One of these, an untitled piece, is surrounded by a border fashioned from tree bark, which Perry describes as ‘very redolent of faeces, which was probably intentional’. Perry’s witty commentary, which can be found on labels throughout the exhibition, sets the tone for the pieces on display, a delightful mixture of ...
Artist of the Month: Shreya Jayanna
Culture & Literature, Visual Arts

Artist of the Month: Shreya Jayanna

Shreya is a talented illustrator and digital artist who aims to feature the beauty and diversity of her own culture. After studying advertising at the University of Arts in London, she began to find her love for art once again, and with the recent rise in appreciation for different cultures Shreya decided it was important to involve her own, and she does this by highlighting the beauty and variety seen in cultures within South-East Asia. One of the things that inspired Shreya to rekindle her love for art was seeing so many Desi content creators on her social media timelines, and at only 21-years-old she had rarely seen so many people showcasing what made them unique. Just by seeing other artists celebrating their remarkable cultures, it made Shreya want to celebrate her own and in turn th...
Artist of the Month: The Clay Drop (Jessica Moore)
Culture & Literature, Visual Arts

Artist of the Month: The Clay Drop (Jessica Moore)

The Clay Drop is a project by the wonderful Jessica Moore. Jess specialises in a number of colourful clay earrings made from polymer clay, all designed and handmade by her at home. My favourite things about The Clay Drop are the vibrant colours and funky patterns, the perfect addition to any outfit, I have about 5 pairs of The Clay Drop’s earrings myself. The process of creating the earrings is quite complex. Each earring is made from polymer clay that is rolled into a slab. The clay slabs are then cut into shapes and the clay is baked in the oven, the edges are sanded down and holes are drilled. After this is done the studs and hooks are attached and the earrings are ready to be sent to customers! Whilst perfecting her process Jess has managed to create a variety of different patterns an...