My journey through the Harn was not without surprise. In fact, every turn left me in awe of the beauty before me. A dwelling support post, called an ehel, caught my eye in the way the artist utilizes a common object as a unique medium to convey a greater meaning. The post, made by an unknown Tuareg artist, lends a feeling of homeliness to the passerby. However, the historic cultural context behind its existence is the truly fascinating element of this work. The nomadic Tuareg used posts such as this one as part of portable tents. This simple object can be seen to parallel natural behavior in seeking and giving support, whether it be physical or emotional. The tiered design carved into the post shows prestige and brings to mind the classed social system which seems to be a cornerstone of animalistic tendency.
Taken at the Harn Museum of Art in the Sahel exhibit
Later in my search, I crossed paths with a display of the Buddha. The exhibit is structured as a corner room which brings a feeling of centeredness. The single Buddha statue in an octagonal display lying at the center of the room contributes to this feeling. A sense of warmth in the observer is also evoked through the faint lighting within the display frames, a comfortable couch in front of the center, and nearby garden just outside the walls of the room. Detailed explanations on plaques of the objects within this exhibit give the onlooker the context to more fully appreciate the work.
Taken at the Harn Museum of Art in the Buddha exhibit
The Frida Kahlo exhibit is remarkable. The most prominent piece of work to me in this section of the museum is a simple photo of Kahlo in bed with one of her dogs. She is seen embracing it in her arms in a show of love and compassion. On a deeper level, this work discusses the values of loyalty and family. These are two of the ideals I hold most dear to me. Above all else, I am loyal to my family and to myself. This piece on Frida also implies a thought of kindness, a trait everyone should strive for, through the mutual love shown between Kahlo and her dog in the form of a hug.
Taken in the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Harn Museum of Art. Artwork by Héctor García
A photo taken by Sebastião Salgado moved me to reflect on my feelings toward struggle. It features three young girls in the city of Juazeiro do Norte, Brazil, a place where many children of the time were orphaned or in some other way affected by civil war in the region. The striking image of these girls gives the viewer a sense of what the search for the "good life" entails. Salgado was fascinated by the children's resilience and their ability to celebrate life even after struggling through this dark time. This parallels our search for inner peace and happiness which ultimately amounts to the perseverance of the individual in overcoming the obstacles of life and finding meaning, celebrating existence itself.
Taken at the Harn Museum of Art. Artwork by Sebastião Salgado