Light & Dark Atmospheres – Joy’s Art Project

This week Joy Jindu shows us her recently completed art exam piece and describes the research she undertook for the project.


For my art exam project, after much indecisiveness and much consideration I chose to explore the way in which the contrast between light and dark can create atmosphere.

The second definition of atmosphere according The Oxford Dictionary is:

“the pervading tone or mood of a place, situation, or creative work.”

The first being,

“The envelope of gases surrounding the earth or another planet”

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The Starry Night by van Gogh

I could have done a project on space and gases but the photography aspect may have been tricky however…I had a look at a number painters for inspiration, the ones that most influenced my final piece were Van Gogh, Turner and Afremov. Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night was the first that came to my mind when I decided on the topic “Atmosphere”. Interestingly enough in Physics whilst learning about space and stars other mind-boggling things of the Universe I came across the extraordinary “Star-trails” of photographer Lincoln Harrison; these incredible photographs are the result of 15 hour-long exposures. The end photos somewhat resemble the slightly obscure spiralling patterns in the night sky of Van Gogh’s painting.

Whilst researching the art form of Chiaroscuro (the use of strong contrast between light and dark in art) I looked at the work of Caravaggio whose work often explored and exploited the dichotomy of ‘highlights & shadows and how they complement each other. Whilst looking at the use of light in art it only seemed right to look at Turner, “The Painter of Light” himself.

The Final Piece

The picture that I chose to paint during the 10 hours I had for my exam was of a photograph that I had taken of a street light outside of Liberty London. The idea of having a street light was inspired by number of paintings by Leonid Afremov that include streetlights projecting light onto their surroundings. The canvas that I painted this on was A1 (so about 80x60cm). It was slightly ambitious to set out fill such a large canvas in only 10. Admittedly after the second day getting the all the bricks and window frames in line with the correct perspective, without them converging got slight tedious; Instead of painting all the lines in, I made the oil paint very turpsy and instead dripped the paint down when gave quite a nice effect where the paint appears to have eroded but left enough to show where the bricks and window panes are.

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Fantastic Sheffield Jesus Centre Paintings

A diverse group of artists painted these paintings in Sheffield Jesus Centre‘s ‘Your Art’ group recently. This group of artists don’t work to any particular theme but show many views of life from city, to nature, to being late for work.

Zambia: Artwork With A Personal Touch

Over the past couple of weeks I have been in Zambia on a Multiply trip tasked with setting up social projects including English language teaching, internet connectivity, and computer facilities for a school. One of the first things that came to mind when it was suggested I’d go to Zambia was to get our artists to paint pictures that we’d give to the school, where they’d be displayed in the classrooms to inspire the children and give them a connection with us. In November last year I asked various people if they could paint something and I got an enthusiastic response. So the artists chose some photos and got stuck in to painting them. 2014 01 27 18.26.36 1024x579 Zambia: Artwork With A Personal TouchThe paintings covered a wide range of subjects – from people through to landscapes. In fact one of the paintings was from a photo taken during a recently Multiply trip to Sierra Leone.2014 01 04 11.27.47 1024x579 Zambia: Artwork With A Personal TouchIt was quite a step of faith putting all the canvases in a suitcase and hoping (and praying) they’d all arrive in one piece. Especially as it was a couple of flights to Zambia which increases the chance of lost luggage. I was a relieved man when in the middle of a suitcase scrum at Ndola airport (no exaggeration) I spotted it, leapt in and rescued it. On the final day of the two weeks there I presented the artwork to school as a gift from our church back in England. Artwork 1024x576 Zambia: Artwork With A Personal Touch

Artwork Catriona 1024x641 Zambia: Artwork With A Personal TouchArtwork Joy 1024x875 Zambia: Artwork With A Personal TouchArtwork Katherine 1024x768 Zambia: Artwork With A Personal TouchArtwork Rob 1024x859 Zambia: Artwork With A Personal TouchArtwork Lill 1024x768 Zambia: Artwork With A Personal TouchArtwork Mark 1024x768 Zambia: Artwork With A Personal TouchArtwork Gail 1024x785 Zambia: Artwork With A Personal TouchArtwork Daniel 1024x590 Zambia: Artwork With A Personal TouchIt was an amazing privilege giving these works of art to a grateful school. Thanks to Rob, Catriona, Katherine, Mark, Gail, Daniel (aged around 9 I think), Lil, and Joy for all your hard work. One of the other things that came to mind about going to Africa was knitting a blanket for a child. Not me knitting I hasten to add. I had just spent some time with Doris, a lady in her mid eighties who was knitting away whilst we chatted. So I asked her if she was up for doing something creative and make a blanket to take with me and “yes!” was the prompt reply. Doris Knitting 1024x674 Zambia: Artwork With A Personal Touch

Knitting Catherine 778x1024 Zambia: Artwork With A Personal Touch

The end result was stunning, and Catherine loved it (it’s cold at night for Zambians this time of the year). Thanks to Doris and Annie for their hard work.

One of the other personal touches was naming all the laptops in the I.T. classroom after my friends and also people who had supported the project by fundraising. In my church we are given “virtue” names that describe our character so I used these names. Laptop Names 1024x308 Zambia: Artwork With A Personal Touch

Certificates 1024x431 Zambia: Artwork With A Personal Touch

On the last day I created some certificates and we gave these to everyone who had attended the I.T. and literacy courses. Ali and myself called out the people one by one to collect their certificates and pronouncing their names correctly was sometimes an impossible challenge!  However they were very grateful for personal recognition.

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I’ll miss this amazing family most of all I think. Sharon, Natasha, Matthew, and Matthew junior

I guess to sum up I can say the time in Zambia was very productive and the project work and filming went well. But there was also an opportunity for the personal touch that affects peoples lives too. It’s important to work through your own ideas and vision and make it happen just as much the official stuff that needs to be done. To end with here is a short glimpse of what we got up to in the two weeks in Zambia. Enjoy.

Zambia: From One Side To The Other

The I.T. training was in full swing, made slightly more interesting when new people arrived who also hadn’t used a computer, so I had to cater for these ones as well as those that now had a few days experience. I did manage to get to see a different view of the complex though thanks to a friendly engineer.

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The mobile network mast behind the church complex towered above everything around it.

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I got chatting to a mobile network engineer called Louis that had just turned up to do some maintenance work, and after cheekily asking him to take me up to the top he agreed! So we climbed up – made slightly harder by carrying the camera in one hand but the views were well worth it.

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Looking across towards the town of Kitwe.

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And that’s me. Slightly out of breath but glad for the opportunity to see  the surroundings from a different view.

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On Thursday I went by myself on a 6 1/2 hour coach journey to the capital of Zambia, Lusaka, to meet Farayi’s brother KC. He works in a government I.T. department doing programming and project management. Lusaka is different to Kitwe as there was many more buildings and commercial complexes. There is still the human touch though as during peak hours the police guide traffic at intersections like this one.

Victoria Falls Wide 1024x768 Zambia: From One Side To The Other

Something I had always wanted to see. KC had a meeting down in the south of Zambia, in Livingstone, so I got on another coach journey and 8 1/2 hours later we arrived. And it was well worth the travelling time as this is where the Victoria Falls are.

Victoria Falls Footbridge 1024x748 Zambia: From One Side To The Other

It was the end of the rainy season and water levels were very high, so it made for an incredible sight and sound. The huge volume of spray from the falls meant that you couldn’t see across to the other side.

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The bridge connecting Zambia to Zimbabwe.

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We wandered around enjoying the sights for a couple of hours till the sun set.

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On Saturday it was International Women’s Day, and that was the case in Livingstone too. Thousands of people packed into the centre to celebrate and wear very colourful dresses. Apart from the men.

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Women March 1024x816 Zambia: From One Side To The Other

People here didn’t seem to mind being photographed unlike everywhere else in Zambia.

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A Massey Ferguson 275 at the market in Livingstone. This was a more traditional place away from the tourist designated centre.

Me and KC 1024x866 Zambia: From One Side To The Other

Both dressed in our Sunday best. We were back in Lusaka for church on the Sunday. KC is a part of a large congregation of around 5,000 people, and there are two services to cater for them all. The guy leading this church was an American who had been here for around ten years.

Outside Church 1024x608 Zambia: From One Side To The Other

The Miracle Life church. This was vastly different to the previous week at the Harvest church, and despite my reservations about mega church and American pastors I found the teaching to be challenging, and the humble pastor humbled me.

Inside Church 1024x768 Zambia: From One Side To The Other

The church was well built from the congregations donations. They also ran several projects in Lusaka for orphans and street kids. Interestingly the sermon led straight into a gospel spot for people to give their lives to Jesus, and quite a few did. I came away from here having seen God at work but the place I felt at home in was the Harvest church and with its people.

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I said goodbye to KC, glad of the time with him as he’s an important contact for future work here. I then met up with Farayi who was returning from Malawi and we travelled back to Kitwe together. On the way back I spotted the odd place that had traditional thatched roofs but most village housing now had corrugated sheets, electricity etc so sights like these were rare.

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The Tanzania to Zambia railway line.

We returned late on Sunday evening after the coach broke down resulting in a 9 hour journey, and then after a Skype call home I started preparing for the final few days of I.T. project work and filming.

Zambia: The I.T. and Literacy Projects

On Monday and Tuesday the I.T. and literacy  projects were in full flow. Here’s a look at what we’ve been doing.

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Monday morning came round and with it the first of the teaching sessions. At the Multiply conference a few days previously Stephen had encouraged pastors to come in and learn how to use a computer, as it is becoming more and more important for communication in Zambia.

IT Teaching 638x396 Zambia: The I.T. and Literacy Projects

And come they did – more than 30 of them crammed into the small I.T. classroom for the first session. I didn’t know what level to expect and it turned out that almost all of them had never used a computer before. This was going to be interesting. I started on the basics like how to hold a mouse, moving the cursor, using a keyboard etc. I worked it in stages so 10 people had a go then swapped with another 10, so those who had just tried taught the newcomers. This is the best way of learning – teach what you have been taught.

IT Women 638x606 Zambia: The I.T. and Literacy Projects

In the afternoon a smaller group of mainly women came and there was still the same need – to know the basics of using a computer. It took one person ten minutes to use the mouse to click on an icon and then the keyboard to enter a password, but by the end of the lesson she was one of the most confident users there.

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A happy crowd of Zambians after the second days teaching. In total we had more than 50 people come for lessons, and I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg. The lessons will cost them a small amount of kwacha (local currency) and this money will go towards running the orphanage and improving the school.

Ali Handover 638x344 Zambia: The I.T. and Literacy Projects

On Monday morning Ali gave a presentation to the school of all the books and teaching materials that have been sent over. This was gratefully received!

Ali Teaching 638x499 Zambia: The I.T. and Literacy Projects

Ali had a big task on giving an English literacy lesson to a large amount of people, some of which hadn’t come to the assessment the previous day so it made it harder for her to work out what they should be learning. She coped brilliantly though and the conversations and laughter carried on throughout the afternoon.

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Hannah Class 638x478 Zambia: The I.T. and Literacy Projects

Hannah meanwhile was showing some of the school children and orphans how to use a computer – as with the older generation most had never tried before. The power to the local area had been cut all day and by the time mid afternoon came only one had any battery life left. Still, more than 4 hours in use on battery is a good run. These laptops have been a great buy – thanks for your donations and for Tony at Form I.T. for sourcing them.

Hannah Child 638x465 Zambia: The I.T. and Literacy Projects

Hannah Child Smile 908x1024 Zambia: The I.T. and Literacy Projects

You can’t really describe what it is like seeing an adult or a child learn something they never thought they would have the chance to learn. It’s a mixture of joy and disbelief. This picture sums that up.

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And talking of joy – here was one of the meals that was presented to me in the evening. Sharon really does put a lot of effort into fattening me up: coleslaw, fried soya bean, sausages, eggplant, and boiled potatoes. Finished with some pineapple for dessert. Even for me this is a lot of food and I’ve rarely finish a meal. I think that’s a compliment. Could be a grave insult though. Oh well there’s not much I can do about that.

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Another traditional meal I’ve had. Fish (bream), a bean and nut mixture, and nshima (ground maize).

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Grrr… yep I ate that all up. And it was actually very tasty.

Sunset 1024x768 Zambia: The I.T. and Literacy Projects

On Tuesday evening I got back home noticing that there might be the first real sunset of the trip. After the customary bath time the sun had almost set (it goes down very quickly due to the angle of the suns movement) but after asking Matthew he quickly took me to a place where I could get the last few rays of light.

It’s been a busy, and somewhat tiring few days for us all but we’re seeing real progress with the project work. It’s making a difference not just to the church, school and orphanage, but to the people of Kitwe as well.