My Trip to the Harn Art Museum By sarah strothmaN

Being a long time artist myself, I was very excited to visit the Harn Art Musuem, as I had not yet been to it while attending the University of Florida. I stayed a total of about 2 hours at the Harn, and I was not disappointed. I was amazed just at the variety of artwork that was kept at the Harn from all over the world! This was truly and unforgettable experience, and I have documented some of the highlights throughout this spark story.

Photographs depicting the Female Royal Ancetsor Masks of the Kuba people

One of my favorite art pieces from my entire tour would have to be the Female Royal Ancestor Masks of the Kuba People, pictured above. Thee Masks were extremely intricate, and it was evident that the artist took a great deal of time to create these functional pieces of work. If I were to simply see a picture of this piece, I would never be able to fully comprehend its beauty and delicacy. Seeing the piece in person allowed me to identify the exact media which was used in its creation, which in this case was wood, animal hair, pigment, beads, and cowrie shells. The artwork itself made me feel a deep sense of cultural appreciation for the Kuba people, and the intricacy in which they place upon their ritual Masks.

Photographs showing the elegant design of the museum

A wing of the museum that I found to be particularly complementary to the artwork it held would have to be the wing where the sculptures and pottery of south east Asia were on display. The use of the same neutral tone of hardwood throughout the entire exhibit (the exhibit crossed into different rooms) helped to unite the artwork, even though each piece had a different origin. Also, the use of a traditional Japanese garden within the main exhibition room provided a serene setting to put on display the most ancient form of art, nature itself. This particular exhibit made me feel extremely relaxed and at peace, and I spent the majority of my time at the museum perusing this section of exhibits.

Photographs of the "Florida Landscape" painting by William Morris Hunt

This piece in particular named, "Florida Landscape" by William Morris Hunt spoke to my soul. I am a true Floridian at heart, born and raised in Florida, and I share a deep love for the state. When I was a young child my parents used to take our family to stay at a cabin on the St. John's River for Thanksgiving every year, and Hunt's painting is a beautiful recreation of just that, a river scene on the St. John's. Upon seeing this piece hanging in the Harn, I was flooded with feelings of reminiscence and happy memories of spending every Thanksgiving morning seeing just what Hunt had painted, which was the sun beginning to set in the late afternoon.

Photographs depicting the Water Spirit Mask created by Ekpeye People in Nigeria

I chose this piece for the Good Life section, because it represents cultural traditions and human connections, all under the Good Life theme of celebrating. The artwork pictured is called a Water Spirit Mask, and it was created by the Ekpeye people of Nigeria. The Mask is used in celebratory rituals throughout the community, and in the photograph provided the men are proudly showing off their masks in a group setting, suggesting the pride associated with adorning a Mask such as this. This piece made me smile when I saw it, because of all the serious and stern pieces of artwork present in the Harn, this one seemed to be more light hearted and playful, which is much like life. Very serious, very stern, but when you find something that makes you happy you must make the most of it in a celebratory fashion.

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