Category Archives: 132 RES

Survey 10 Noor Inayat Khan : A Nazi Nightmare

Noor Inayat Khan: A Nazi Nightmate – Research

Image result for noor inayat khan
Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan,1943

Noor Inayat Khan , Britain’s only muslim spy during world war two was one of the most amazing spies of world war two that you’ve never heard of. She was an incredible woman and a war hero who wore many hats, an Indian princess, a devout muslim, a member of the Stufi Order, a musician, a writer, a  spy and a hero. And yet she succeeded in a field which required her to go against every aspect of herself.

The story begins on 1914’s New Year’s Day  in Moscow where Khan was born to an Indian father, Hazrat Inayat Khan, and an American mother. At age six, her family moved to Paris France, and remained there until its occupation by Nazis in 1940. She and her brother, Vilayat hightailed it out of there and moved to London where Khan enrolled in women’s Auxiliary Air Force and was later recruited into the SOE, and Vilayat signed up to the Navy.

Image result for noor inayat khan
Noor was perhaps not what the British considered the “ideal” spy

However, that is not to say that it was all smooth sailing. Enlistment was not easy for Khan, as her recruiters had their own reservations about her. Firstly, to put it kindly, Khan was perhaps not the most suited candidate for the job. The life she lived was not one which was suited for very physical active. She had no background in any areas which could be easily applied to   Prior to her time in the war, she was a poet, a children’s book author, a musician. Not exactly the spitting image of your everyday spy. Even worse than her background, was her nature. Afterall she was the daughter of Hazrat Inayat Khan, the founder of the Sufi Order of the West which preached religious tolerance and nonviolence. Khan held these principles dear to her heart and was a pacifist.

And on top of that, who refused to lie (which one would think would disqualify her for the job), which also caused her to voice her less thoughts on Britain and their occupation of Indian. Namely, that it was her full intent to see Britain removed from India. Her efforts in the war were not motivated by any love for England, instead a fierce opposition to fascism and colonialism (another agent who trained with Khan) claims that she “couldn’t bear to see an occupied country”. This appears to be a value which ran in her family, as she was the great-great-great-grandfather of Tipu Sultan, the 18th Century Muslim ruler of Mysore. Most famously, he died in 1799 in battle with against the British, fighting until his last breath to defend his country against Britain. However she was accepted and she trained and trained to achieve her goal. Thankfully, her immense dedication paid off, as she accepted After eventually be accepted to be an agent of the The Special Operations Executive(more commonly abbreviated to SOE) in 1942.
She was sent to France as a radio operative under the code name “ Madeline” and joined up with the resistance network named “Prosper” to “set Europe ablaze” as Churchill himself stated (he was in charge of the network. To everyone’s disbelief she succeeded where no one thought she could. The mission was incredibly dangerous, and operatives only had an expected life expectancy of  six weeks. However, the six weeks went by, and Khan remained. And so she remained for close to 4 months, doubling her expected lifespan. She even remained when rumours went around saying that a Nazi spy had infiltrated the resistance network. However it all came to an end when she was betrayed by a double agent and arrested by the Gestapo. She was transferred and held in the Pforzheim prison in Germany where she was kept in solitary confinement. There she resisted beatings, torture and starvation for 10 months, giving no information away. She was no longer the timid woman who struggled so greatly in this part of her training. During this time she made two daring escape attempts both of which were unsuccessful. However, they were enough for her pacifist self to be labelled as “highly dangerous” by her Nazi captors.

Noor Inayat Khan bust
Noor Inayat Khan’s Bust in London

Eventually, Noor and three other SOE female agents were transported to Dachau were they were all shot by the SS, but not before Noor spoke her finals words :

After her death she was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the George Cross, only three women were awarded the George cross (Violette Szabo and Odette Hallowes). Additionally,On 8 November 2012, a memorial memorial celebrating her bravery and sacrifice was erected. Fitting enough the memorial was 4 Taviton Street, the neighbour where Kahan grew up in 1914 and where she returned during her training.
It is the first memorial in the UK celebrating an Asian women and one of the few to celebrate a Muslim women in the entire world.  In times which seem to only forecast stormy skies ahead it is important to remember the mistakes we have made. As well as honour the those who sacrificed so much to correct them. And I can think of no greater honour to Noor, and others like her, to prevent the necessity for use to repeat these same words about another person like her.


Lecture Summary
This week we covered a very tumultuous period of history, with the crash of 29 and a the beginnings of the world war 2. Interestingly enough, the conditions appear to have made the progression of design almost impossible, however the opposite proved to be true. Governments were intent on bolstering the economy and created many job opportunities for designers. For example during the Great Depression, photographers like Dorothea Lange documented the devastation of the dust bowl effect on rural communities, employed by the Farm Security Administration.   Likewise,The Work Projects Administration commissioned many poster designs from artists to hang on government buildings. As their purpose was merely decorative the main concern was on was not on the design itself. As a result, artist had enormous creative leeway and created many ingenious posters, which remain relevant to this day. Fine art in Europe didn’t so much as disappear but migrate out of Germany where what Nazi’s called “degenerate” art and artists were in immense danger.

From Nouveau to Deco : Art Deco Furniture – Survey 9

From Nouveau to Deco : Art Deco Furniture- Research

Oh, the 1920’s, flapper dresses, jazz music and a rising culture of consumerism. But it’s fine, the economy is great and it’ll continue to be great (yikes), so what could possibly go wrong? The appropriately named Roaring Twenties was characterized by a newfound interest and appreciation for all the luxurious.From washing machines, to cars, nothing escaped a glamorous face lift,including furniture.

Art Deco was the furniture of the fashion, and reflected the culture’s demand for luxury. In its most distilled form, Art Deco was a fusion of luxury, sophistication (arguable I suppose) and practicality. While is pre-descor, Art Nouveau was a reaction to Industrialization aggressive emphasize on practicality over beauty, characterized as a being purely decorative. Art Deco represents a fusion between the two, beauty and practicality melded together.

Bold, glamorous and luxurious (perhaps even pushing the line between glamorous and gaudy for some). Naturally, furniture designers emulated the glamorous and luxurious tendencies of the time by choosing unconventional materials. The look of the time particularly favoured all the “exotic” as well as materials with smooth, gleaming surfaces. For example, mirrored furniture was rather common ( this would include coffee tables, and dressing and vanity mirrors).

Image result for art deco furniture wood
Art Deco Macassar Ebony Sideboard – Image courtesy:

Exotic woods were also a very popular choice, and the rarer the better. The trends in woods used changed with availability and tastes, but included zebra wood, macassar ebony, violet wood and amborugna burl. Woods would often be coated with lacquer ( a liquid which drys as a sort of polish which is meant to protect wood) as it created a rich, glamorous appearance. The cheaper the wood used (maple, oak and ash would be examples of this) the more of the coating would be applied to compensate for the poorer quality of the wood.

Image result for art deco furniture leather
An leather armchair in the art deco style

Leather has always been indicative of luxury and wealth, a trait which made it one of the perfect materials for art deco furniture. Armchairs, ottomans and sofas were commonly made out of leather, mostly in black, tan and brown colours. However, many designers would add a splash of colour with their leather. Dyed leather which came in variety of colours (for example, cherry red and tangerine orange) did make their way into people’s homes.

 Art Deco Chrome and Wood Rolling Liquor Cabinet - Image courtesy:
Art Deco Chrome and Wood Rolling Liquor Cabinet – Image courtesy:

Additionally, the Age of the Machine which occurred in the 1920’s made metal as a material much  more available, as factories could begin to churn it out. It was utilized in furniture to create an almost futuristic appearance, however it was mostly relegated to an accent on the furniture.

Although Art Deco didn’t employ as many adornments as its late cousin Art Nouveau, they were still implemented enough for there to be a cohesive, recognizable style. The form of furniture was often designed with streamlined, linear lines (a very good complement to the wood they’d often choose to make their furniture with, as it would harmonize with the natural pattern of the wood).

Image result for art deco furniture
An art deco chair which demonstrates the style’s unique affinity and emphasize for geometry

Perhaps the most recognizable motif employed by art deco are geometric shapes. Particularly zigzags or chevrons (which are upside down v shapes).  

In general it is safe to say that Art Deco generally put form over adornment (quite the opposite of Art Nouveau), however it was the 1920’s. Which meant that . Designers would embellish their furniture with other luxury items such as quartzs and jewels (jades, onyxes, ivory and murano glass were all popular choices)

Inlays were another popular method for designers to elevate the luxury of their products. Essential they were “designs made by setting pieces of a substance like ivory, brass or mother pearl within a large surface.” This is most commonly seen in sofas and armchairs which originate from the 1920’s.

Lecture Summary
This week we covered the years between 1925 and 1930, a cease from the war for Europe (which left countries in varying states of disarray). Germany in particularly faced devastating consequences thanks to the war (specifically the treaty of Versailles), and created a catalyst for change (although this absolutely laid the foundation for many atrocities which would be committed). One of the few positive changes which Germany would temporarily enjoy was the work done by the Das Staatliche Bauhaus (which was created when the two german schools, Weimar Arts & Crafts school and Weimar Art Academy merged together). With Walter Gropius (a member of the German Labour League) appointed as the director, the school’s goal was to ““breathe a soul into the dead product of the machine.” And so they did, creating many innovative works (book design, paintings, posters, and even a ballet!). One major achievement from the school was the work by, Johannes Itten a professor of the Bauhaus whose colour theory which is still taught in schools today. Additionally, the work of the Bauhaus influenced others such as  Jan Tschichold (who saw their exhibition in 1923) who went on to be a huge influence on typography (going as far to claim that he was the greatest influence on type in the 20th century).

Photo Credit 
(for photos not credited in the captions, in order)



🎶 Life in the Jazz Age 🎶


Image result for speakeasies 1920
The outside of a speakeasy during Prohibition

Surprisingly enough, prohibition was one of the driving factors which helped launch the 20’s into the
roaring twenties, the iconic, flamboyant and decadent we know it as. Nationwide prohibition was introduced in Canada in 1918, and in 1920 in the United States, by the Temperance movement who believed that the elimination of alcohol would break down the barriers to economic success, social cohesion and religious and moral purity. Unfortunately for them, the prohibition of alcohol exactly the intended effect.Instead of eliminating what they thought was a vice, they merely drove it underground. And in much higher numbers. Drinking actually increased during prohibition, and was commonly practised in illegal bars and nightclubs referred to as “speakeasies”, which were the culmination of all things live jazz, dance, and alcohol. Deaths related to alcohol spiked, and many people demonstrated immense resourcefulness in their attempts to hide their booze. People would hide liquor in flasks, false books and hollowed out canes. Even in Speakeasies, customers would drink their hard liquor out of teacups to create a false facade of innocence-in case there were raided by the police.

Another negative side effect of criminalizing alcohol was the underground market it created, one which was specifically controlled by mobsters. Gangsters held most of speakeasies, threatening to run neighbourhood saloons out of business.

Additionally, speakeasies were one of the first instances where people of different races could intermingle (even though the 1920’s were still an incredibly racist time).

The Rise of Jazz Music

The illustration on the sheet music cover shows the silhouette of a man playing the banjo and a woman playing the guitar dancing on top of a jelly roll. The text of the cover art reads, "Full of Originality. The 'Jelly Roll' Blues (Fox-Trot) by Ferd Morton, author of 'The 'Jelly Roll' Blues' Song."
“The Jelly Roll Blues” was one of the first jazz songs to reach widespread popularity

If you were to walk down any street or any speakeasy the sound of jazz music could likely be heard.The 1920’s were the birth of the genre of jazz music, created by black musicians. After the war, many musicians immigrated from New Orleans to other major cities, which helped diversity the jazz genre into different sub-genres. With the help of advancement in recording technologies, as well as its immense popularity in speakeasies, jazz music would shape and define the period to the point where  is aptly referred to as the “jazz age”. From this time we see the work of many amazing black musicians such as  Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, and Joe “King” Oliver. Big-band jazz. Additionally jazz music fostered many female artists such, such as Bessie Smith, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday.

Jazz music embolden all the values of the jazz age favoured by the younger generations. As a result, participating in jazz culture was seen as part of the rebellion of the time. Older white generations often it as indicative of “loose morals”.

The Golden Age of Radio

Additionally, the jazz age featured the Golden Age of Radio, a period which began in the early 1920’s
and endured through the 40’s, providing news, as well as entertainment to the public. Radio was perhaps one of them most common forms of media that was accessible to all (after all it was free to listen to if you had access to one).

The first radio broadcast of  of KDKA in the United States marked in the beginning of the radio craze, and the creation of many other programs. A variety of different programs were broadcasted, such music, comedy, drama, education, preaching, news or poetry or story reading, initially they most amateur productions.

Additionally the popularity of radio also helped spread the popularity of jazz music, as they would regularly broadcast music played in illegal speakeasies to those who could not attend them, reaching a wider audience. Radio programs which featured jazz music from amateur musicians were immensely popular and referred to as “potter palms”.

However, musicians were not all given the same treatment. Similarly, Black musicians such as Louis Armstrong were given significantly less radio time in general compared to white musicians.

An Emerging Role for Women

Image result for photos from the 1920's
1920’s women showing everyday wear

As mentioned previously if we see the war and its devastation as at catalyst for change which impacted almost every facet of life, and one of the first things to go was the “norm of western middle-class femininity” which was brought on by Flappers girls.

Image result for photos from the 1920's
Women demonstrating higher end 1920’s fashion
Flappers or Flapper girls as they were colloquially referred to were a group of young women, who challenged the norm and proudly displayed their animosity for it. This movement included a variety of behaviours, and morals, dressing in an androgynous maner, chopping off their long locks (bobs haircuts, sometimes styled with finger waves, were very popular) and wearing shorter skirts, chopping off their long locks (bobs haircuts, sometimes styled with finger waves, were very popular). Specifically dresses with dropped waistlines which created a boxy figure, and binding was another common way to achieve androgyny.
Additionally, Flappers disregarded societal norms for woman by wearing “excessive” makeup, smoking, drink, driving cars, and speaking casually about sex.

Moreover, some women began to carve out their place in society, for example, many white women earned the right to vote during this time, and began to have a. The Jazz and blues scene in particularly fostered many female musicians, especially black women such as Ella Fitzgerald, Smith, and  Billie Holiday.

However it is as important to acknowledge the changes that the war caused as it it to what it didn’t. Not all women enjoyed the same benefits the Jazz age brought. For example, while many white woman received the right to vote, the same would not be afforded to other minorities. Additionally, many of the black women who were amazing jazz musicians would not receive recognition for their work until the 30’s and 40’s (a combination of misogyny and racism)

What Did Women Wear in the 1920s? 20s Clothing Trends

Sources for Pictures (in order)

Lecture Summary
This week we discussed the years between 1915 and 1925, which encompasses world war one and post war. Specifically we saw how poster design evolved with the purpose they were created with. Perhaps the most prominent example of this was poster design as propaganda for World War 1 , and the Russian Revolution. American world war one posters invoked a sense of patriotism, and created an romanticized image.On the other hand, Russian posters were intentionally aggressive, utilizing colour to represent ideas (red for communism and white for the tsar) and using black to create an impact to reflect the message. Russian Russian Constructivism (which was created on the foundation of Suprematism, a movement which employed geometric shapes to create harmony and beauty, not a message) was part of the poster design during the Russian Revolution.