A Tour of the Harn Anand Rajan
Medium of Art: One of the most striking pieces in the Harn was Ancestor Spirit Masquerade costume that was in the African collection gallery. The costume caught my eye because of the fine detail and intricacy of the cloth. I had never seen a costume so unique. The red pattern along with the elaborate headdress signaled the age and spiritual importance of the costume. The costume also communicated it was of great value. Due to my Indian background, I understood that elaborate traditional dress such as this one conveys it is of much value. The piece evoked a sense of curiosity. I immediately wanted to find out the purpose of the clothing and who would typically wear it. Though the descriptione gave some insight, I still found that I wanted to learn more.
Design of Museum: As I explored the Harn, the exhibit that drew my interest the most was the Korean Art gallery. Among the multiple reasons for why this exhibit was particularly striking, the arrangement of the art as well as the pieces themselves stood out from the rest of the exhibits. In the center of the exhibit was Korean Pottery along with other ancient Korean artifacts and the walls were filled with Korean Artwork. The deliberate arrangement was pleasing and created a nice contrast. The exhibit was not too cluttered as well. The space was used effectively to create a wholistic image of ancient Korean culture. Often times people forget that art in a culture is not limited to just paintings or drawings. Pottery, ceramics, and clothing are considered piece of art central to a culture. The combination of the pottery and artwork provides insight into the mysterious East Asian culture.
Art and Core Values: El Encuentro by Angel Botello was one of the most powerful pieces in the Harn. Though there were many excellent paintings in the exhibit, no other piece was able to elicit as strong of a personal reaction. The overlying message of pain and fear was apparent and could be felt by the observer. From the dark colors to the distorted faces, each detail symbolized the pain of slavery. The evoked emotion helped me better understand and underscore my core value to fight to overcome all obstacles. The Taino people, the figures depicted in the painting, had to fight for their well-being on a daily basis. Sorrow and fear will always be a reality, but we must still be able to seek the good life and overcome such realities.
The piece that encapsulated the seeking of the Good Life I am Not a Persian Carpet #2 by Aphrodite Navab. The photograph clearly establishes the social message the photographer is trying to send. Navab addresses the female stereotypes not only within Islam, but in the world. She is combating the objectification of women. By revealing her midriff she is committing a major taboo in Islam as well. Navab is protecting women and seeking to break down barriers. This is one of the major themes of Good Life, seeking to improve the human condition. This photograph adds to my own interest in seeking the good life by helping all.