Tour of the Harn By: Jordan Saag

Above Background: Cianelli, Jason. Mother Earth. NA. Digital Mixed Media Painting. Cianelli Studios, United States.

Medium/Technique of the Artist

During my tour of the Hard museum, one piece of art that was particularly striking was the Bazin Cloth purchased from Mali sometime in the 20th century. This style of art is traditional in Mali, therefor the original artist is unknown. Being one of the most popular textiles in west Africa, Bazin is made from heavy, polished and dyed cotton and uses other dye resistant thread to create the unique designs shown in the picture above. Although it is not too clear in the picture, seeing the artwork in person made me realize the effort put into this fabric and the extraordinary amount of time it took to make it. In addition, the art itself is a celebration of modern day equality and the agrarian traditions of the past as the women who make them are revered by the community.

Design of the Museum

With regards to the architectural design of the museum, it wasn't one particular exhibit that caught my eye but the entire outside facade. The entrance itself was very welcoming with tall glass windows providing abundant natural light. In the distance, the intriguing black pyramid gives off a sense of mystery, creating a desire to see more of what the building has to offer. In addition, the abundant shrubbery and gardens around the building juxtaposes nature and art together, two concepts that often go hand in hand.

Art and Core Values

One of my favorite pieces I saw while on my tour of the Harn was the 1875 oil painting Florida Landscape by William Morris Hunt. The painting illustrates some of the beautiful landscape of the St. Johns river during sunset on a cloudy evening. The eerie wilderness of the landscape provides a glimpse of my home (currently on the St. Johns river) at a time before suburbia and the urban sprawl took over the majesty of nature. The painting also elicits fond memories of my childhood fishing on rivers and the immense fun I would have in a time before the stress of the real world consumed my life.

Art and the Good Life

Although the work is quite small, the Mexican sculpture Day of the Dead Figures is presents a theme essential in the search for the Good Life. The sculpture itself depicts a newly wed skeleton couple locked in embrace while standing on a pedestal. Personally, I believe the sculpture evokes the message that love lasts forever and one can lead a happy, good life if they can find someone to share that life with. It also portrays the common idea of love lasting forever, even through death. Specifically, this work of art allowed me to appreciate the theme of love and the Good Life, and spawned introspection into what I want to do with the rest of my life.

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