Tour of the Harn By: Emily Watts

Medium of the Art
Elusive Spirits: African Masquerades

One particular artwork that stuck out to me when I visited the Harn Museum of Art was the costume from the Elusive Spirits: African Masquerades exhibit (pictured above). This exhibit showed many ceremonial costumes and masks from West Africa that are used in ritual performances related to the spiritual world. The masks were beautiful, but the complete costume ensemble is what caught my attention the most. The intricate details of the cloth, the individual strands of the tassels, the threads within the patterns, just to give a few examples, could not be captured by a mere photo. I can only imagine the amount of time in creating this artwork that covered an individual from head to toe. The effort put into creating this outfit is translated all the way across the globe as it is on display in Gainesville, Florida. I think clothing is a medium of art that people forget about. When people think about art, they primarily think about paintings or sculptures, but art can be worn too, as seen here. This clothing is a beautiful art piece that signifies the importance of the ceremonies in West Africa.

Design of the Museum
David A. Cofrin Asian Wing

One wing of the Harn that utilized its space the best was the David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing. When you first walk up to the Asian Art Wing, there were ceramics on display in cases next to the doorway to the exhibit. Once you walk into the glass doors, you first see the large glass windows that look out to the Asian garden. Then you see larger art works are on display in the middle of the room and the smaller pieces were scattered around the outer part of the room. As you look at the smaller art pieces, they lead you around the edge of the room, until you reach the door that takes you to the garden. Once you walk outside, the pathway takes you through the garden, over the bridge next to the waterfall, back inside through another door. You can continue your lap around the exhibit, which leads you to a room designated just for “The Arts of Korea”. The design of this wing of the museum was brilliantly constructed because it leads the visitor through the exhibit and allows all the pieces to be seen. The artworks are set up so it is easy to move to the next piece, on to the next piece, on to the next piece. I didn’t realize that I was done with the exhibit until I looked up and realized that I had seen all the pieces in the exhibit. Some of the other exhibits in the Harn were set up so it was easy to miss or skip over some artworks, but not this one.

Art and Core Values
Latin America

This particular art piece was in the Latin American exhibit in the Harn. This piece depicts a loving family, and family is something I value very much. The sculpture shows two parents surrounding a child, as if they are protecting the child. This invokes a feeling of appreciation for my own parents. Sometimes, I admit, I take my parents for granted. I forget how many opportunities they have given me like traveling, education, and just life experiences in general. I forget that they would do anything to protect me, like the parents in this sculpture. This piece reminds me that my parents have always been there for me, and will always be there for me no matter what. The piece makes me realize why I value family so much, as it reminds me how family will always protect each other. This piece goes past just the parent-child relationship and into the sibling-sibling relationship. I know that if my brother or sister need me for anything I am there, and the feeling is reciprocated. This piece reinforces my belief in the importance of family.

Art and the Good Life
Intra-Action: Women Artist from the Harn

The pieces above highlight the need for minority equality by addressing women and people of race's lack of accolade and praise in popular culture. This piece is a call to action and demands for minorities to have equal opportunities as men (more specifically white men) through the use humor. This relates to the good life because it fights for the good life for minorities, but mostly women. This embodies the theme of equality, something imperative to the good life. This makes me appreciate equality since it is fighting for my good life, as I am a minority and a woman. It gives me hope for my future, that I will be treated equally to men. It adds to my understanding of the theme by showing that this inequality that women face is present in all fields of work, not just the STEM fields like people would expect. It makes me realize that women are suffering obstacles that men aren't everywhere in our culture, even popular culture. That, I believe, is where people should start to eradicate this inequality; once it is in popular culture for men and women to be treated equally, it will become normalized and spread everywhere else.

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