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Thoughts On And For A Structured Existence

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Children

“Hand Painted Dreams”: Salvador Dalí’s Surrealist Symbolism Of Female Childhood Innocence

The 150th Anniversary Edition of “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll, Illustrated by Salvador Dalí, is a treasure for a home library of any size. Published by alices-adventures-in-wonderland-by-lewis-carroll-illustrated-by-salvador-dali-2015Princeton University Press in 2015, the great work by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) is hauntingly interpreted by Dalí’s twelve heliogravures, one for each chapter.

Dalí created a timeless symbolic image of the innocence of young girls in his 1935 masterpiece “Nostalgic Echo”. The “hand painted dream photograph” depicts a “Girl Skipping Rope” in a courtyard, an elongated shadow before her, and the surreal image repeated above in the bell tower.

He continued the theme the next year in his Triptych “Landscape With A Girl Skipping Rope” (1936).

landscape-with-a-girl-skipping-rope-by-salvador-dali-1936

Dalí presents the motifs of the bell tower (time), evoking the allusion of a clock striking twelve (“Cinderella” & 12 chapters in “Wonderland”), and the “dreamlike” symbolism of feminine innocence “undone” as young girls skipping rope eventually mature and become women.

Metaphysical artist Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978), clearly influenced Dalí with the girl the-melancholy-and-mystery-of-a-street-giorgio-de-chirico-1914pushing the hoop in “The Mystery and Melancholy of a Street” (1914). 

“Alice” becomes conscious of herself, changing as she descends into the rabbit hole, not unlike the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. Or Innocence Lost.

salvador-dali-alices-adventures-in-wonderland

Public Education: Can Individual Excellence Reform Mediocracy?

   Nadia Lopez, Principal and Founder of Mott Hall Bridges Academy in 2010, a public middle school focusing on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) in “one of the poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods” in Brooklyn, NY, is battling a true Shakespearean array of toil and trouble: The Public Education Mediocracy. Mediocracy Definition

In her newly released book “The Bridge To Brilliance”, she “faces challenging students, exhausted parents, overwhelmed teachers, and low test scores“. The true nemesis is a culture of low expectations and despair that defines many public schools in America.

She calls her students “scholars”, challenging teachers, parents, community and educational establishment to be engaged and accountable. She asks:

“How are you making the difference in the lives of children?”

Ms. Lopez is on the front line of education, motivating and inspiring students each day, leading  them on a path to college and lifetime success.

The NEA, the guardian of the status quo, provided a nice quote by the poet William Butler Yeats for its 2016 American Education Week:

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

Ms. Lopez would agree, but would add a little Mahatma Gandhi:

The future depends on what you do today.

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