Good Life Tour of the Harn Museum Anahi Vega



A display that stood out to me was the Asian ceramic collection located near the Asian Water Garden on the North side of the building. I am currently taking Art Appreciation and am studying about Islamic Art from 300 CE to 1000 CE. I was able to see and read more about the relics from all over Europe, India, China, Japan, Indonesia, and Mesoamerica. What caught my eye the most were these Hindu statues of gods. It was fascinating to see the art right in front of me instead of pictures in my textbook. One in particular was a sculpture of Ganesh, the elephant headed Hindu god, said to be the son of Shiva. I have often seen photos of Ganesh but have never understood his purpose. According to the plaque displayed next to the statue, Ganesh is the god of good fortune in Hinduism. He is often portrayed with a pot belly and multiple arms that hold significant religious items. The Ganesh looked like it was crafted with stone. What I found so striking was the careful detail the artist incorporated into the jewelry worn by Ganesh. The statue made me feel more open to other religions considering I am use to Christian based relics.


African masks and costumes

An exhibit that caught my eye due to the arrangement of the display was the African masks and costumes collection. One in particular was set up in a small hallway and had a projector screen playing a film of an African tribe performing a traditional dance. What I found interesting was there was a mirror on the opposite wall. When I first turned towards the mirror I was caught by surprise because it gave the illusion of being in the film.

There were also multiple mini televisions around the displays of masks that showed other tribes from all over Africa performing their traditional dances. Another collection used lighting to exaggerate the bright white fabric in the costumes in display. The dark room also changed the atmosphere's mood to mysterious and eye catching. There were also LED lights underneath the costumes making the white pop brighter in the dark room.


There were a few paintings in the Latin collection that reminded me of my core values, particularly about family. It is something that is absolutely emphasized in Latin heritage. I grew up being taught family is everything. Many of the paintings I speculated on were from Mexican artists that I felt a special connection to since I am Mexican American. They reminded me of home and my many family visits to Mexico. Some styles of art I recognized, such as the ink printed images of coffee farm workers, knowing I must of seen them in my one of my tia's or abuela's house. Others I have even participated in traditional celebration, such as the festival of El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). It made me feel good knowing that my culture is being taught and shared with others, after everything that has been said about immigrants and Mexicans. Seeing the Latin displayed made me feel proud of who I am and the place I came from.

El Dia de los Muertos


In lecture we have studied Frida Khalo, so I was especially intrigued to see the display of her portraits at the Harn Museum. In my opinion, Spanish-Mexican artist Frida Khalo has conveyed beautifully in terms of embodying what the Good Life looks like. She is famously known for her peculiar appearance, a full unibrow, colorful clothes, expressive jewelry, and up-do hairstyles. Then and even today, her appearance would have not been considered "beautiful" to society. Nonetheless, Frida Khalo was able to break social norms and live a Good Life regardless of what people thought of her. The way she dressed herself was also especially significant to her version of the Good Life. In almost all of the portraits of Frida Khalo, she is dressed in a Techuana style dresses. Furthermore, I found that most of her art are self portraits and have a much deeper meaning than her outer appearance. Take The Two Fridas, for example. The Two Fridas portrays two different representations of herself before and after her heart was broken by her husband at the time, Diego Rivera. When I first saw the huge portrait of Frida (as shown in the picture above), I was breath taken. She was showered in confidence and radiating this nobliblity. The way she smiled and positioned reminds me of the statue of the Buddha of when he reaches enlightenment, his version of the Good Life.

the Two Fridas


Created with images by alans1948 - "harn-02624"

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