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Jez Nicholson, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0
Jez Nicholson, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

London's Tribute to Tragic Tales of 'Heroic Self-Sacrifice'

Jez Nicholson, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0
Jez Nicholson, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

In the middle of London, right between St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Museum of London, is a small public space known as Postman’s Park. Though the park itself is small—less than an acre—it commemorates some immensely heroic deeds.

Its story began in 1887, when painter and sculptor George Frederic Watts wrote to The Times to suggest a unique piece of art to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, stating:

“Among other ways of commemorating this fiftieth year of Her Majesty’s reign, it would surely be of national interest to collect a complete record of the stories of heroism in everyday life. The character of a nation as a people of great deeds is one, it appears to me, that should never be lost sight of. It must surely be a matter of regret when names worthy to be remembered and stories stimulating and instructive are allowed to be forgotten.”

As an example, Watts cited the story of Alice Ayres, a 25-year-old woman who tried to save her three young nieces from a house fire by pushing a featherbed from a window to cushion the fall. By the time it was her turn to jump, she was dizzy from inhaling smoke, and was unable to jump far enough out to clear the shop sign below the window. She hit the sign as she fell, then missed the featherbed and hit the pavement. She died from her injuries several days later. Two of her nieces survived.

Unfortunately, Watts’s idea was nixed. But it caught the attention of Henry Gamble, the vicar of St. Botolph’s Aldersgate church. Gamble was trying to raise funds to purchase a plot of land that neighbored St. Botolph’s, and thought Watts’s memorial would help arouse public interest in the project. The pairing worked and construction began.

Unfortunately, by the time the Watts Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice opened in 1900, Watts himself was too ill to attend and see the four inaugural tablets. When he died in 1904, his wife, Mary, made sure that he, too, was remembered for creating the tribute.

Despite his death, Watts continued to influence the memorial for decades. He had collected a number of newspaper clippings of stories he found worthy of memorializing; Mary and a committee from St. Botolph's chose many of the remaining honorees from his clipping catalog.

The 54 tablets include quite a few heroes who saved people from drowning or fire, but there are also cases that are quite unique, such as that of Samuel Rabbeth.

Rabbeth was tending to a four-year-old diphtheria patient named Leon Jennings, who had just received a tracheotomy to help with breathing problems. Unfortunately, young Leon developed more problems after the surgery when mucus became lodged in the breathing tube and threatened to suffocate him. Aware of the high risk of infection, Rabbeth put his lips to the tube and sucked the mucus out himself. He contracted the disease and died of it later that month—followed, a few days later, by Leon.

The latest addition was installed in 2009 to honor Leigh Pitt, a printworker who saved a nine-year-old boy from drowning, but then disappeared under the water himself. Pitt's addition was the first new tile in 78 years—and it would appear that it's also the last. In 2010, "representatives from all the significant interest groups reached a conclusion that it was no longer appropriate to add further tablets to the memorial."

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Nikola Bradonjic
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Design
5 Wacky Ideas to Redesign the Skateboard
Design by Karim Rashid
Design by Karim Rashid
Nikola Bradonjic

Most skateboards come in a few basic shapes. They may be different widths or lengths, have kicktails or flat noses, or different imagery painted on their decks, but for the average rider, they look fairly similar. That’s not the case with the skateboard decks below, created as part of a competition during NYCxDESIGN, an annual New York City design festival.

For a competition called DeckxDesign, the award-winning design firm frog asked a group of notable branding agencies, artists, product designers, and other creative professionals to reimagine the humble skateboard.

This is the second NYCxDesign competition frog has hosted—in 2017, the agency asked designers to reimagine the dart board.

This time, individual designers like Karim Rashid and groups from firms like MakerBot, Motivate (the company behind bike sharing systems like Citi Bike), and frog itself came up with new ways to skate. There were no rules, just the simple prompt: Design a skateboard.

The results included a piece of furniture, a repurposed Citi Bike tube on wheels, a board covered in greenery, one covered in black faux alpaca hair, a skateboard made from recycled trash, and more. Below are some of the most unusual.

A white table that looks like a skateboard
Design by Aruliden
Nikola Bradonjic

A recycled piece of a Citi Bike on wheels
Design by Citi Bike/Motivate
Nikola Bradonjic

A wavy skateboard with purple, spherical wheels
Design by Karim Rashid
Nikola Bradonjic

A skateboard covered in faux alpaca fiber
Design by Staple Design
Nikola Bradonjic

A skateboard covered in mounds of greenery
Design by XY Feng & Jung Soo Park
Nikola Bradonjic

All of the skateboards created for the competition were later auctioned off to benefit the New York City-based nonprofit Art Start.

All images by Nikola Brandonjic

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Art
Google Launches World's Largest Digital Collection of Frida Kahlo Artifacts
YouTube
YouTube

Fans of iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo have a lot of new material to sift through, thanks to Google’s launch of the largest-ever digital exhibition of artworks and artifacts related to the painter. As reported by Forbes, the “Faces of Frida” retrospective and its 800-item collection were the result of a collaboration between the Google Arts & Culture platform and 33 museums around the world.

A screenshot of Google's digital archive of Frida Kahlo artworks
YouTube

Visitors to the website can peruse rare artworks from private collections that had never been digitized until now, including View of New York, a sketch Kahlo made in 1932 while staying at the former Barbizon-Plaza Hotel. There are also personal photographs of Kahlo, as well as letters and journal entries that she penned.

Using Street View, you can even see inside the “Blue House” where she lived in Mexico City. Another feature lets visitors zoom in on high-resolution paintings, which were created using Google’s Art Camera, according to designboom.

For Google executives, the decision to celebrate the life and work of Kahlo was a no-brainer. “Frida's name kept coming up as a top contender when we started to think of what artist would be the best to feature in a retrospective,” Jesús Garcia, Google's head of Hispanic communications, told Forbes. “There's so much of her that was not known and could still be explored from an artistic perspective and life experience.”

An original artwork by multimedia artist Alexa Meade was specially commissioned for “Faces of Frida.” Photographer Cristina Kahlo, Kahlo’s great-niece, aided in the process. Check out the video below to see how she brought Kahlo's artwork to life in a living, breathing painting.

[h/t Forbes]

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