Good Life: Tour of the Harn By: Grace hingtgen

Okakagbe masquerade performance in Ovao Nigeria, featuring costumes by Pius Ahigbe

Medium of the Art / Technique of the Artist: One of the most intriguing artworks I found in the Harn was a video by Jean Borgatti. The video portrayed a Okakagbe masquerade performance in Ovao, Nigeria. I was very surprised when I saw this piece because I always thought museums were just for paintings, pictures and sculptures; however I was happy to see this wasn’t the case. In watching this video, I was able to picture myself as a part of their celebration. It was much more captivating than a simple picture of their dance and gave the viewer a better understanding of the culture. The video and the way it was set up in the exhibit made me feel more appreciative of the Okakagbe people than I would've felt by simply watching the video online. I find interactive experiences to be much more relatable than other forms of art like paintings which is why this particular piece stood out to me.

The Asian Collection at the Harn Museum of Art

Design of the Museum: The Asian Collection in the Harn was particularly appealing to me because of the peaceful feeling it gave me when I entered the room. I don’t usually go to museums and don’t really feel comfortable in them, however this space was very comforting because it reminded me of how I used to love playing outside as a little kid. The placement of the main window allowed natural light to fill and brighten the room; the outdoor gardens made me feel like I was in a different country with the peaceful waterfall and various exotic plants. I also enjoyed how spacious the room felt. Other exhibits in the museum felt very boxy and confined, but the way this one was arranged made me feel relaxed. The unique layout also made it feel as if each piece of art had its own place. The pieces were not all cast on the wall like the other collections, but rather had their own place either on the main floor or in a case which made the artwork seem more important to me.

Archangel Raphael, George T. Lopez, mid-20th century

Art and Core Values: This sculpture, "Archangel Raphael", was one of the few pieces that really moved me when I first saw it. The angel appealed to my core values of faith and family, both of which have been integral parts of my life since I was a child. When I was little, my grandma gave me a doll that she called my "guardian angel". Even though it was merely a doll, I felt safe when I would hold it. Since the Archangel Raphael has traditionally been known as a healer and protector, it stirred memories of this doll in my head. This piece was therefore comforting to see and reminded me of the love I have for my grandma. Seeing this in the museum reminded me of the importance of keeping my core values close to me especially in my transition to college. This sculpture moved me to keep close in touch with my family and remain steadfast in my faith.

Scenographer's Mind VIII, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, 2002

Art and the Good Life: One of the themes we've discussed in this class is the conflict of individual vs. society in the fight for the good life. These prints demonstrate how a single mother was fighting for her and her child's good life. As a single mother, society places expectations on women to be able to raise their children in a safe and loving environment while at the same time earn enough money to provide the basic necessities. In the first print, her obligation to her child is represented as she takes care of the baby while at the same time trying to complete her architectural designs. In the second print, her individual desires are represented through the space in her mind that longs to imagine eccentric and unique architectural ideas. This piece is a representation of the struggle to juggle society's expectations and the duty to do what is right vs. our individual wants and desires to fulfill our dreams. This struggle is always present in our lives, and we- similar to the woman in the prints- must find the right balance in our fight for the good life.

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