Medium of the Art/Technique of the Artist
Old Man's Cloth by El Anatsul (2003)
I must admit, I wouldn't exactly call myself an art enthusiast. Nevertheless I am very grateful for this experience. On my own accord, I wouldn't haven even contemplated setting foot in an art museum. However, I was pleasantly surprised, that I actually enjoyed myself and found the artworks fascinating. With regards to the medium of the art or technique of the artist, Old Man's Cloth was a spectacular example of a unique medium. Utilising a certain medium allows the artist to not only express himself/herself in an a particular way, but also to represent their history, culture, lifestyle etc. Anatsul created his own personal interpretation of the famous Kente cloth, widely known in Africa. By using wrappers native to Africa, as well as other items that represent the European colonisation of his homeland, Anatsul artistically blends two different cultures. This piece of art gave me the impression, that the artist has a deep connection to his homeland, but that he also embraces the European influence. This artwork made me feel a sense of admiring for the artist. I found it fascinating how he applied his own twist on an ancient tradition.
Design of the Museum
Dan people, Côte d'Ivoire, Face mask (gunyege)
My favourite wing in the museum was the African art section. I found this wing incredibly fascinating and alluring. I spent most of my time during my visit in this wing, because I wanted to learn and immerse myself in a culture very different from my own. Overall, the design of the wing itself couldn't have been better. The pristine white walls and luminescent lighting provided a stark contrast to the art on display. Having such as clear canvas (i.e. the walls) helped illuminate the variety in all the art pieces. Some of the art pieces were composed of only dark colours, whereas others featured all colours of the rainbow. The several television screens, explaining the art and displaying traditional dancing, were also a nice perk. This exhibit made me feel intense fascination and curiosity, since I love learning about different cultures.
Art and Core Values
Seated Bodhisattva, Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910)
Art has many different powers. It can render one to tears of sorrow or exuberant joy. It can make us delve into deep contemplation or make a connection with our own lifes. Art can illicit all kinds of emotions and they are distinct for every person. Art also has the power to reflect our core values. A core value of mine is to be compassionate others. The art piece depicted above also exhibits compassion. A bodhisattava is a merciful Buddhist who refrains from seeking enlightenment himself, in favour of helping others. While it is important to help others, show kindness, and gratitude, it is also vital to find a balance. I found it astounding how an individual can devote their life for others while ignoring their own needs and wishes. This artwork helped me better understand that harmony in ones life is necessary in order to live a meaningful but also fulfilling life.
Art and the Good Life
Falling Landscape 4, by Evon Streetman (1994)
Switch-back Path, by Jerry Cutler (1995)
I choose these two artworks to convey the Good Life theme of seeking. Both of these artworks with depict nature scenes, are excellent examples of seeking for meaning. As a society we are engrossed with desiring and achieving more. We are constantly surrounded my materialism and vices. We spend our entire lives seeking for something better, whether that is a higher education or a new flashy sports car. Often in such a materialistic society, we fail to notice the simpler things in life. Instead of worrying about what others perceive of you, we should instead focus on a simpler life, not consumed by judgment and petty ideals. We as the human race must try to reach out to nature, in order not to succumb to greed, gluttony, desire, and so forth. The good life is subjective. It is different for every individual. That is why I think it is important, that we should all take time by ourself and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, to connect with nature. The good life does not have to be something glamourous, but it can be something as simple as watching the sun rise in the morning and set at night.