Good Life Tour of the Harn By Vivek Tolani

Medium of Art

As a Hindu I have visited many temples across the United States and India. I have seen so many beautiful statues in the many temples, so my appreciation for the hand crafted statutes has decreased over time. I would not analyze or observe the statue with effort but instead I would give it a quick scan and close my eyes quickly to pray. However, viewing a statue of Indian deities in the Harn museum helped me to understand and appreciate the sculpture more. I slowly analyzed it and looked at all the details the artist had incorporated into the statue. I read the description and took notes unlike all the other statues I have seen at temples. The technique that I found to be striking was that the artist had so many individual pieces of art around the main center piece of Shiva and Uma. All the individual pieces of art that are around the center piece connect to each other, so the entire statue consists of individually connected stories. The statue communicated to me the story of Lord Shiva and Goddess Uma. It reminded me of the story of how Goddess Uma and Mahesh were married and how Mother Parvati had to go through two lives and years of meditation to finally be able to marry Lord Shiva. I would not have analyzed this if I did not see this statue at the Harn Museum, I would have given it a quick glance if I saw it at the temple because of the huge crowds at temples and because you are surrounded by so many sculptures you cannot give such importance to each and every one. The art work definitely made me miss visiting temples with my family. Temples play such an important role in my life because not only do I pray in temples but I also get a chance to meet the rest of the Indian community and have lunch together in the temple lunch room.

Uma-Mahesvara sculpture

Design of the Museum

I found the fact that the museum also had a garden very appealing. The garden had descriptions and interesting readings incorporated with it. I found it very unique because in all the other museums I have ever visited there were no gardens. It was just an indoor experience, but the Harn felt so complete because it had an indoor and outdoor experience. The greenery reminded me of my own backyard back at home because we have over 25 trees in our backyard because we prefer to grow our own fruit so it brought back childhood memories of watching the trees grow. I also found it appealing how the museum separated the art work into different categories of where the art originated from and then separated the different cultures into different sections. I found my thoughts to be more organized and I found that I had a better memory of the artwork because of this categorization. I wish more museums had this sort of arrangement because it also ensures that the museum has art work from different regions of the globe instead of just having work from one or two regions. It made the art work more diversified and interesting.

Outdoor part of the museum

Art and Core Values

The sculpture is titled “The Dancing Ganesh”. Not only did it appeal to my core values but it also made me feel the emotion of love. The core value the statue reminded me of was thankfulness. Lord Ganesh is the remover of obstacles and he clears the path for us so that we can successfully pursue our goals and move forward in life. I have never seen a statue of Lord Ganesh dancing even though I had been to so many temples. In all the statues I have seen he is either sitting or standing. The visual representation of Lord Ganesh actually tilting and dancing is so unique that it evoked even more thankfulness in me that I got to see such a unique statue. The statue reminded me of my home. family, religion, community, and culture because Lord Ganesh is also a symbol of good luck and is usually present at the front of homes and temples. The statue itself also evoked a feeling of warmth and love inside of me because it had been about 3 months since I had seen a Ganesh statue and it reminded me that even though I was missing everyone back home the blessings of Lord Ganesh would always be present with me even in Gainesville. The visual representation of the mouse made me cherish the statue even more because usually artists forget to depict the mouse and only have Lord Ganesh sculpted. The mouse symbolizes the mind and you can either have the mind running around and being filled with useless thoughts and desires, or you can keep it under control like Lord Ganesh and then attain wisdom and self-realization

Dancing Ganesh

Art and the Good Life

The sculpture that helped to evoke the theme of the good life was called Zandvoort. The sculpture inspired me and helped me think of what I want to achieve. The sculpture is supposed to resemble a race track and the vibrant colors represent the adrenaline rush of the racing experience. Ever since I was a small child I wanted to learn how to drive a car and even before it was legal for me to start learning I convinced my father to teach me how to drive a car, change the tires, and analyzed the different parts of the car when it wasn’t being driven. My love for cars increased over the years and I decided on mechanical engineering as my field of study so that I can one day make cars after completely studying the different parts of a car. This sculpture reminds me of my dream to make cars for a huge car company and hopefully make different types of cars such as flying cars and electric cars. This work evokes the theme of fighting for the good life. This work represents my fight to successfully graduate and be capable enough to get hired to make cars. I believe this painting also makes me appreciate the ability to fight for the good life and even attend college. I am thankful that I even have the opportunity to receive an education and be able to fight and take exams and struggle through difficult classes

Zandvoort painting/scultpure


Tolani, Vivek. Vivek 2017. Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art Gainesville 15 Jan 2017

Harns Theatre. 2008. H, Gainesville, Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida. 15 Jan 2017.Web


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