In our society, we hardly ever take time to think about the process of manufacturing our clothes. This is in part because the human aspect of manufacturing has been largely eliminated, therefore removing the personal connection that can be formed by creating your own. This mask's intricacies were astounding and impressed me the closer I looked, with each individual cowrie shell being carefully placed within the design. Although from a picture the mask still seems impressive, the true value of the tedious handiwork that was put into creating this piece can only be appreciated up close. Even though masks such as this are not typically found in the society that I live in, it made me feel a greater appreciation for how far we have developed as a society and the hard work that is put into making everyday items such as clothes.
As I meandered through the galleries of the Harn, I came upon this exhibit. Throughout the entire museum you are met with artificial light, air conditioning, and sparse natural light, but then this exhibit changes the entire feel. In the museum you feel almost closed off, wanting to engage with the art but being too scared to get near in fear of an alarm or security guard. In this outdoor exhibit, you are flooded with natural light, outdoor atmosphere, and a serene surrounding of plants and running water. While in the museum I felt the need to analyze everything, focusing on each detail of the works I found, but while in this exhibit I felt as if I need not focus on anything at all but to simply enjoy my surroundings. The layout of this section allows for visitors to be immersed in the art without even realizing it. I found it to be a calming escape from the indoor environment.
Ever since I was little I have valued hard work. In my mind, New York City has always been a physical embodiment of hard work. Americans and immigrants alike have always flocked to the City that Never Sleeps in order to achieve something greater than themselves through hard work. People come to this city in hopes of making a name for themselves, with many coming with just the clothes on their back and a dream in their mind. The smoke lingering in the painting makes me feel as though the city is bustling with these very workers, acting as cogs in a machine greater than themselves. I have always tried to put forth a strong effort in what I want to accomplish, because I feel as though with hard work you can overcome nearly any barrier
This piece is entirely made of known liquor labels, but in the style of traditional kente cloths. The artist described his work as showing the traditional methods of his people but implementing them through materials from the colonial powers. I viewed this piece as a way of Celebrating the Good Life, as the fusion of cultures is portrayed using labels from expensive liquors that would usually indicate some form of celebration. The merging of cultures is both a satisfying and saddening realization in this case, as the colonialism can indicate a total change in living environment. However, I choose to believe that the artist's representation through liquor stands as a means to celebrate the integration of cultures together. Located at the entrance to the Harn, it almost represents what we visit the museum for, to immerse ourselves in different cultures. To me, this connection allowed for me to see that in order to celebrate the Good Life, we must first find the positive aspects in our every day lives, just as the artist did through liquor labels.