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tree

Banksy Confirms Tree Mural In North London Is His Work 

A mural that appeared overnight on a residential building in the Finsbury Park area of northern London is confirmed to be a work by Banksy. The anonymous street artist confirmed that it was his work on his Instagram this past Monday after onlookers speculated the whole morning about how the artwork got there. 

The mural is located on Hornsey Road in Finsbury Park, and is painted on a wall that sits directly behind a tree when the viewer is looking down Hornsey Road itself, according to the Guardian

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The artwork features a lifesize depiction of a woman holding a pressure washer that makes it seem as though she’s spraying green paint on the side of the building. When you view the tree in front of the mural straight on and centered, the green paint also looks like foliage coming out of the plant. 

Hornsey Road residents and other onlookers continuously gathered on Monday to look at the artwork, expressing their excitement to local news outlets. 

“We’re so proud and delighted that Banksy chose our road and chose Finsbury Park for his work,” said Hornsey Road resident Wanja Sellers to the PA Media news agency. 

Other residents like Lidia Guerra praised the work while also offering a potential meaning behind it, as Banksy is known for his art pieces to have some kind of underlying larger message. 

“The way it’s been done, with the paint spraying down, reminds me of a weeping willow, so there’s perhaps a message about the struggle of nature with the dead tree in front. It’s just great – when we read about it last night, we knew we had to come and see it as soon as possible. We feel so proud to think he chose our street,” Guerra stated

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Resident Chris Beskin said:  “I’m absolutely delighted to see this on our street – I think it’s great and sends a strong message. I’d like to see more of it, to be honest, the more the merrier. I think it’s probably one of his biggest pieces in a while – and the fact he’s done it on the wall means it can’t just be stolen or easily removed.”

Other residents were happy that the mural gave the community the chance to come together and revel in their home’s beauty. 

The cherry tree, which works as a centerpiece for the artwork, is said to be around 40 to 50-years-old, and is unfortunately in declining health. Local reports state that the council’s tree service has been attempting to prolong its lifespan by taking care of the tree as much as possible. 

Creator of the BBC Radio series, ‘The Banksy Show,’ James Peak, spoke on the messaging behind this newest installation from Banksy. 

“The message is clear: Nature’s struggling and it is up to us to help it grow back.” 

“[The scene is] a very busy, urban, built-up environment, with the tree sitting in the gardens of some social housing. The figure of the woman is a classic Banksy-style stencil. The shade of green used to represent the foliage is exactly the same sort of virulent shade of green that Islington uses for its social housing signs,” he described

“So, when you step back, it looks like the tree has burst into life, but in a noticeably fake and synthetic way. And it’s pretty subtle for a massive tree, I’d say. It’s spring now, and this tree should be bursting forth with leaves, but Banksy must have cycled past and thought how miserable it looks,” he said.

beatles

Four Films About Each Member Of The Beatles Are Coming From Director Sam Mendes

Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes has announced that he will be making four separate fiction films about one of the most famous bands in music history, The Beatles.

Each film will cover the story of one of the members of the band, meaning John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison will have their own films. 

The project has received the blessing of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as the families of both John Lennon and George Harrison.

This officially marks the first time that the remaining members of The Beatles, Lennon and Harrison’s families, and Apple (who owns the rights to the band’s music), have agreed to give the members life stories and their music rights over for a scripted film. 

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Mendes revealed that all four films will be released in 2027, and will tell stories that are interconnected. Each movie will be told from the perspective of the given band member. 

“I’m honored to be telling the story of the greatest rock band of all time, and excited to challenge the notion of what constitutes a trip to the movies.”

Pippa Harris is Mendes’ producer, and explained to Deadline Magazine that the director initially had this idea a year ago: 

“It’s a testament to his creative brilliance and powers of persuasion that Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Sean Lennon and Olivia Harrison responded with such warmth and enthusiasm as soon as he spoke with them,” she stated. 

“What is truly exciting is for Sam to have the freedom to delve into the lives of each of the Beatles, with nothing off limits and no sense of the band wanting him to tell a particular ‘authorized’ version of their rise to success.”

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Sony Pictures chairman and CEO Tom Rothman discussed how when it comes to movies today, directors need large scale ideas, which is exactly what he believes Mendes is doing. 

“Theatrical movie events today must be culturally seismic. Sam’s daring, large-scale idea is that and then some. Pairing his premiere film-making team, with the music and the stories of four young men who changed the world, will rock audiences all over the globe. We are deeply grateful to all parties and look forward to breaking some rules with Sam’s uniquely artistic vision,” Robinson stated

Mendes’ debut film, ‘American Beauty’, won five Oscars in 2000. The two James Bond films he directed, ‘Skyfall’ (2012) and ‘Spectre’ (2015), are still the highest grossing films in the franchise. 

‘1917,’ his single-shot war film won three out of the 10 Oscars it was nominated for. 

While there have been more than 15 biopics on The Beatles, both TV and movie, this fresh approach with approval from all four members’ respective parties will be a fresh take on one of the world’s most famous bands.

red carpet

Women Dominated The Grammys This Year 

Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, SZA, Billie Eilish, and Victoria Monet dominated the major categories at this year’s Grammy Awards, which many are praising as a ‘night for women’ in the industry.

bafta

June Givanni, UK Curator Of African Film, To Receive Bafta Award 

June Givanni is known as a pioneering curator, writer, and programmer of African film’s who founded a London-based archive that documents Pan-African cinema over 40 years ago. Her amazing work is now being honored, as she is set to receive a Bafta Award for outstanding British contribution to cinema. 

The London archive that Givanni founded, known as the June Givanni Pan African Cinema Archive (JGPACA), has amassed more than 10,000 pieces of media history, including films, manuscripts, audio, photography, and posters that documented Pan-African cinema for over 40 years. 

The archive itself is run by volunteers and is known as “one of the world’s most important collections documenting the moving image for the African continent and its diaspora, and includes artifacts that might otherwise not have been preserved,” according to Nadia Khomami, an Arts and Culture correspondent for The Guardian. Givanni also spoke to the publication about the recent honor and the importance of the work they do at JGPACA. 

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“The award gives us an opportunity to tell people what we’re trying to do because people’s ideas about archives are so varied … Our long-term goal is to enrich knowledge and understanding of Pan-African cinema’s place within the cultural sector, its creative impact and legacy internationally.”

Givanni initially moved to the UK at seven-years-old. Her career started with bringing Third Eye London’s first ever Festival of Third World Cinema. She then worked as a film programmer at the Greater London Council’s ethnic minorities unit. 

Her success in the industry continued when she would go on to run the BFI’s African-Caribbean unit, where she compiled the first comprehensive directory of Black and Asian films in the UK. She was co-editor of the BFI’s Black Film Bulletin, and has worked as a curator of film on five continents. 

Givanni is also a published author of titles such as Remote Control: Dilemmas of Black Intervention in British Film and TV and Symbolic Narratives/African Cinema: Audiences, Theory and the Moving Image.

Givanni will be presented with the special award next month at the Baftas ceremony. She emphasized the importance of the archives and continuing to preserve history and culture. 

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“A lot of younger people are amazed by our archive. Because they grew up in the digital age, and they think everything they want to know or need to know is on the internet. And when they come in, it’s so physical, they’re totally blown away. They’re amazed that there’s so much they don’t know,” she said

“It’s a question of expanding people’s minds about what information is, where it is, and how it relates to what is happening now. That’s one of the philosophical concepts from the Ghanaian culture, called Sankofa. It means looking back to better understand the future.”

“Pan-African cinema [is a] cinema of resistance,  a cinema that recognises the value and importance of the African culture and what it can contribute to the world,” she added. 

“When I came to the UK from Guyana as a young child in the 50s, I was so shocked at the ignorance of people about who I am. I had come from a society where people are quite ambitious, they encourage you, to one where I was put in a class with children two years my junior because they believed I came from a country where you don’t know how to read or write,” Givanni said. 

“So many times people are not seeing you as someone who has anything to offer. Pan-Africanism has always been about knowing your history and being able to situate the value of that within wherever you find yourself in the world. It’s something all of us need to do.”

library

UK Campaigners Claim That Millions Have Been Wasted Creating Nationwide Library Website 

The UK’s public libraries have been facing major difficulties within the past few years as the government have been indecisive and delayed plans on how to spend millions of pounds for funding a nationwide library website. 

The website was initially called the “Single Digital Presence” (SDP) but was later renamed LibraryOn. LibraryOn is one website that was made to act as a hub for all public libraries on one website, and allow the public to access collections across the country, according to reports from The Guardian.

Campaigners this past weekend, however, have criticized the government and the British Library and Arts Council England (ACE) over the lack of development of LibraryOn, and many are beginning to lose their patience. 

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On the government’s and ACE’s end, the delays in development are due to the fact that in England alone, there are only 150 library authorities that each have their own independent technology and management systems. The LibraryOn plan has been in the works for the past 10 years, and while government funds have been allocated to ACE and the British Library, little action has been done. 

The libraries campaigner, Tim Coates, told the Observer that these failures by the government are disheartening and disappointing. 

“We’re now 10 years later and – after several reviews and studies and about £6m – they have singularly failed even to decide what it is they ought to do.”

“Their obsession with consultation with ‘the sector’ has meant they have failed to grasp what people want and will use – which, simply, is easy access to the extensive library collections across the country. It should be like the website for John Lewis – that, wherever you are, it doesn’t depend on their individual shops,” Coates stated

The plan for a national digital resource for the UK’s libraries was initially introduced in recommendations in William Sieghart’s 2014 Independent Report for England, which was commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS). 

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The Guardian also quoted an eminent arts figure who chose to remain anonymous: 

“It’s appalling. The government’s done nothing since that report. Libraries have been left behind in the 1970s. The digital revolution hasn’t really impacted them. They are stuck behind their own local authority IT system. The point of the digital presence would be to empower them.”

“We look at the way other nations are investing in their children and their futures through libraries and wonder what the hell we’re doing,” said Nick Poole, the chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. 

Poole also explained that within the past 10 years, 15% of libraries have closed, and another 15% are dependent on volunteers to keep them up and running. 

He went on to say that the need for a digital presence for the UK’s library system has been present since the rise of computers, but the delays in development are also due to fears that more libraries will close. 

“We want to see really strong face-to-face libraries supported and extended by a really strong digital scheme,” he added. 

LibraryOn has received around £3.8 million in funding since 2018, which is when the British Library took over management of the project.

concert

‘Move Afrika’ Initiative To Bring More Live Music To Africa Kicks Off With Kendrick Lamar Concert

‘Move Afrika’ was initially launched by the grandson of Nelson Mandela, Kweku, as a means of “promoting health and equity, defending our planet, and creating jobs and economic opportunity” through the power of live music and bringing some of the largest touring artists to Africa.

auction

Clara Peeters, The Forgotten 17th Century Artist Whose Painting Could Now Sell For Over $700,000 

A painting of a basket of flowers from the early 17th-century is about to be sold at an auction in December. The untitled work is by Clara Peeters, a Flemish painter who was written out of art history for centuries. 

The flower still life itself has not been seen in public for over 100 years, and has never appeared in any art or art history books. Overall, very little is known about Peeters life. 

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The painting is a beautiful realistic work showing roses, carnations, tulips, and many other flowers in a wicker basket sitting on a ledge. It also features a little butterfly and cricket within the foreground. 

According to Chloe Stead, of Sotheby’s which is selling the painting, Peeters painting is done on copper, giving the piece an “enamel-like luster.”

Stead believes the painting could be sold at around £500,000 to £700,000 (more than $700,000 USD). 

“Peeters was forgotten for such a long time. There is a remarkable lack of detail known about her life, which is tantalizing given the extraordinary quality of her paintings,” Stead said.

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According to Stead, Peeters’ paintings were previously recorded as being from outside of Antwerp, with other indications suggesting that she was a successful artist. In her lifetime, she painted around 40 works, and the still like of flowers about to be auctioned has been in a private collection in Belgium since 1928. 

“Her paintings were quite prized objects and were being passed around. Which makes it so remarkable that she – like so many of her female contemporaries – were, over the centuries thereafter, written out of art history. And only rediscovered and reassessed in the mid-late 20th century,” Stead said

The painting will be sold alongside another natural-themed still life of apricots, peaches, and plums in a porcelain bowl by artist Louise Moillon in 1634. 

Stead said: “Moillon’s paintings are sublime. She’s an expert in texture, and it’s the contrast in this painting between the cool white of the porcelain bowl and the lovely fuzzy surface of the apricots and peaches that is such a treat.

“She’s got a larger oeuvre [than Peeters] but a lot of her paintings are in private collections in France. And so she’s a name that we see less often. It’s a beautiful picture.” It has an estimate of £600,000 to £800,000.

trial

Rapper Young Thug’s Trial Will Introduce Lyrics As A Form Of Evidence

A judge has stated that lyrics will be admissible as evidence in the trial of US rapper Young Thug, who’s currently being charged with racketeering and running what prosecutors call “a criminal street gang known as YSL (Young Slim Life or Young Stoner Life).

laid off

Bandcamp Lays Off Half Of Its Staff After Being Bought By Songtradr

The online music platform that is known for championing independent artists and labels, Bandcamp, has laid off half of its staff after the company was bought out by Songtradr, a music licensing startup. 

Songtradr wrote a statement confirming the purchase of Bandcamp from Epic Games last month: 

“This acquisition will help Bandcamp continue to grow within a music-first company and enable Songtradr to expand its capabilities to support the artist community.”

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Songtradr also announced the layoffs with the purchase of Bandcamp: “Over the past few years the operating costs of Bandcamp have significantly increased … After a comprehensive evaluation, including the importance of roles for smooth business operations and pre-existing functions at Songtradr, 50% of Bandcamp employees have accepted offers to join Songtradr.”

What this means is the remaining 50% of employees will not have their contracts renewed. 

Bandcamp was founded in 2007, and has been known as an online music store and community made up of more than five million artists and labels. The platform was acquired by Epic Games in March of last year. 

Bandcamp is also known for its support of underground unknown musicians, giving them a chance to reach more listeners and build a support network. Their editorial platform, Bandcamp Daily, also promotes music from “outside the mainstream.” In the entirety of the company’s lifespan, customers have spent $1.2 billion with an average of 82% of revenue going to artists and/or labels. 

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Bandcamp United, the company’s union, shared a statement online regarding the “heartbreaking” layoffs. 

“We love our jobs, the platform we’ve built, and the Bandcamp community. We’re glad we have our union – co-workers who have each other’s backs. We’ll be moving together to decide what our next steps are. On Wednesday we return to the bargaining table with Epic Games, and we’ll keep you updated.”

The union has also been trying to gain recognition from Songtradr. This month they also posted an online petition so they could begin negotiations with the new buyers to offer jobs to existing staff members. Two weeks before, Songtradr told the union they would not be extending job offers to all of Bandcamp’s staff. 

Songtradr was originally founded in 2014, and is a platform known for allowing musicians and publishers to upload music that can then be licensed by commercial spaces like brands and content creators. 

On the day that Songtradr purchased Bandcamp, Epic Games also announced they were laying off 16% of their global staff (around 830 individuals).

tv

Late-Night TV Hosts Return After Five Months: ‘Good To Be Back’

Late-night hosts have returned to television for the first time in over five months after going off the air for the writers strike.