The Harn- through my eyes By: leann Browning

I had never been to the Harn museum before going for this assignment and was curious as to what it would be like. I like art and paintings but lets face it- some art museums are boring! The Harn however, was surprisingly not. It had a lot of different types of art available to view. PAintings, sculptures, artifacts, multimedia, even a little outdoor room the size of my bathroom was a part of the exhibit. I went with my friend kelly and it was really fun because we were able to discuss the art and compare/contrast our evaluations of them.

There was an artwork titled “Traces” that really caught my attention during my trip to the Harn Museum. From far away, or in a picture, it could look like it was a painting on a canvas, or even a sketch. But when you are close up, you see the texture of cloth and realize that there are woven pieces of cloth throughout the artwork. Without being in the museum, looking at that canvas, you couldn't understand the meaning. When I read the description and it talked about how the cloths were often scraps taken off the streets, used by people, I started to see the dirt on the cloths and wondered about the places it had traveled. The way Viye Diba Senegalese, the artist, gathered his medium from different sources and used them all to tell one story really spoke to me. I feel like it was a symbol of unity, literally bringing pieces from different places and weaving them together. The art made me feel grateful. The cloths comminuted poverty and hardships, and it made me feel grateful to live the life I do.

The Frida Kahlo exhibit was my favorite overall wing by far. The way it was put together was brilliant. The walls of the exhibit were curved, creating an illusion of twists and turns and sometimes creating an element of surprise by slightly blocking the next painting until you stood right in front of it. The Photographs were all placed in a line up against the wall which made it almost irresistible to not look at the next one once you've started, until you've looked at them all. It is not an easy job to look at them all. The amount of artwork that the museum had of Frida was very extensive and impressive. When you first look at the exhibit it's called “highlights from the photography collection” and directly behind it is a murale of Frida, with a large spotlight in the center of her. This little foreshadowing really intrigued me and made me interested in the exhibit before I even knew how good it was. The exhibit made me feel empowered as a women. I had done some research of Frida previous to my seeing this exhibit so I had some background knowledge and remeber reading somewhere that she was the most photographed woman of the 19th century. I found that so interesting at the time, but when I saw how many just this museum had in person, I realized the true magnitude of that statement.

There was a section of the Harm that featured paintings and photos of children in different scenarios. There were two artworks, one a painting and one a picture, of little girls holding hands. I have two sisters so immediately it brought me back to my sisters and my family and brought out my core value of love. There is nothing like a sister relationship and seeing the way these artists depicted these individual and personal relationships was really beautiful. The photograph titled “three girls holding hands” reminded me of my two sisters but there was a serious in the picture. Unlike the painting, “Ninos dos” these girls were not playing, they were straight faced and tightly holding one another's hands. Their expression said “don't mess with me or my sisters” and i could relate to that feelings immediately. It helped me better appreciate the relationship between my sisters and I and also to cherish it. These artists are celebrating these relationships by making them beautiful and immortal. It inspired me to celebrate them everyday.

There was a life size artwork of a man dressed in traditional masquerade outfit called “Fancy Dress Masquerades in Ghana”. The clothes were so colorful and visually appealing, I immediately thought ‘this guy is ready to party’. Being from Tampa, I celebrate Gasparilla every year, which has similarities to this and Mardi Gras. It reminded me of home and some good times with friends during those parades. I connected it to the Celebration module of the good life because I believe it is so important to celebrate. It’s so important to acknowledge one another's achievements, large or small, in order for us to encourage each other to grow as people. Celebrating is a way of bringing people together. Thousands of people come to gasparilla every year and i'm sure tens of thousands go to these large masquerades and mardi gras parades despite differences amongst them. I appreciate this artwork because it made me feel happy, seeing the bright colors and connecting it back with bright memories.

Created By
Leann Browning

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