Blog Article: Dystopian Art – Why This Competition Matters To Teenagers

Thursday, 14 May 2020

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By Tara Walker

Tom Young invites us to make Dystopian Art, http://bhs.edu.lb/news/art-competition-tom-young/. BHS students can rise to that! The Dystopia genre is practically owned by teenagers these days – and for good reason.

Cinemas are packed full of dystopia blockbusters with teen heroes and heroines in films such as Divergent, Hunger Games, and The Maze Runner. These harrowing future worlds show us the very finest our teenagers have to offer; intelligence, strength, courage and a belief that our world can and should be better. These heroes and heroines do things only teenagers can; they penetrate the gaps in our imperfectly constructed societies and enforce change – reminding us that just one individual can and absolutely should take action.

This year some of our Grade 11s have read Brave New World, and Grade 9’s have explored Fahrenheit 451. BHS students are well versed in the qualities of a dystopian protagonist. A significant quality is the empathy that these young people show in understanding and fighting on behalf of others. Katniss begins by volunteering for The Hunger Games in order to protect her younger and weaker sister.

The irony is surely not lost on us that Grade 7s have – under the constraints of quarantine – begun to follow Jonas’s constrained story in The Giver. As the muted, grey horrors of Jonas’s world unfold in Grade 7, I’m dearly looking forward to seeing what colours our students choose to represent dystopias for the Tom Young Art Competition. For those who want to explore teen dystopias further (and there’s great comfort in reading about these teens taking charge of the future!) here is a hand-picked selection – and where to find them to read online. Enjoy!