The Harn Museum of Art is my favorite place to visit on campus. The cultural enrichment within the walls of the museum is infinite. New exhibits and long standing exhibits reveal past, present, and future cultural identities and allow people to emotionally connect with the hardships and celebrations of others in their works.
Medium of the Art / Technique of the Artist: Traces (2007) by Viyé Diba immediately captured my attention by its texture. The mixed media piece incorporates local cloth and discarded materials from the streets of Dakar. His arrangement of the cloth reveals West African culture. What was so unique to me is the stories behind the material all places together on this one canvas. Diba created his piece after visiting the aftermath of genocide in Rwanda. This artwork contains the debris of the destruction of communities and of humanity, yet the colors are somewhat monotonous. To me, the colors behind the scratches of texture are so powerful, because it depicts the lost of humanity and the numbness regarding such a chaotic, violent scene.
Design of the Museum: The Asian Exhibit in the back corner of the museum was beautiful. The large doorway was outlined by a dark, rich wood wall, making the smooth shapes in the room come to life. The exhibit was lined with vases and pottery holding nothing but rich history and culture. Large sculptures in the middle of the room grab your eye, but as you glance around the walls, small details come to life, painting pictures of difference cultures from Korean to Indian. One portion that particularly grasped my attention was the The Sandra G. Salesman Collection: Wit and Wonder of Kogo Incense Boxes. These little boxes hold ceremonial histories and truths dating back to the 1500s. I loved that small pieces yet large stories outline the room and exemplified Asian history. There were also smaller rooms within the exhibit dedicated to specific cultures.
Art and Core Values: The Woman's Wedding Ensemble of the Amazigh People sparked my interest. As a Christian, weddings are a large part of my culture as two people join to become one flesh under God's law. This piece is so interesting to me, because it portrays something I firmly believe in but in another culture. I find that to be so powerful because through my appreciation of weddings in my culture, I am able to learn about and appreciate weddings of other cultures. This dress is so different from the wedding dress that I imagine, yet it is so beautiful in that it so unique to the Amazigh People. My favorite part is that this dress is worn on the third day of the wedding to welcome the family home. That is so beautiful in that this dress opens the heart of the new relationship and displays the foundation. Similarly, Christian weddings signify the start of a new family and journey while still incorporating the roots of families.
Art and the Good Life: The image displayed in the cover photo of the presentation is a sculpture called II-06-94 by Nancy Graves. The sculpture incorporates so many aspects of American culture from music to astronomy to botany. To me, it highlights the good-life theme of celebrating as it displays the many parts that make up our culture. I also think it shows the pioneering of American culture through the bronze metal. Nancy Graves does a great job of celebrating the light and dark sides of culture all intertwined with the industries and science behind the successes of our society.