The Harn Museum By Zakariya Hassouneh

The Medium of the Art

"Elusive Spirits: African Masquerades" (no artist was listed) at the Harn Museum.

This art work is a mask similar to those used in Africa throughout history and may still be used today. The mask itself is used to embody spirits and give humans a connection to their spiritual beings. These masks were used in many traditions from religion to dances and they attempted to give events a deeper spiritual connection. Each mask was made for a different purpose such as death, life, social gatherings, or other events. I specifically enjoyed this piece of art because of the medium that was used. I very much enjoy art that has been used in peoples lives. This piece of art is a really 3-D mask that was used in African ceremonies. Art such as this carries a feel of true history since it is a real world item. That is not to say canvas art does not carry history but a medium such as a mask that has been worn by people during their special ceremonies allows us a special insight that we may not get from a typical canvas art. I especially found it interesting that they did not use a human like being for the mask but rather some form of ancient animal or spirit. This tells me it was meant to separate the human and spiritual aspect of a person. The mask made me feel as if i were there during the African ceremony watching an event of life or death, seeing history being made.

Design of the Museum

Open area of the museum viewing garden and waterfall

As I was walking throughout the museum I felt as everything had been modified to create a setting to center the art but which in itself was also art. I first walked into the wing of the museum above and noticed the large rock piece that was from Japan, but I also felt something that I did not feel through out the rest of the museum. The entire room was designed with this open relaxed calm setting that allowed you to focus on the art. If you look deeper though you begin to notice that the room itself is art. Outside those large panel glass windows lies a garden with a waterfall running through out it. The hard wood floors made a special noise as the heels of your shoes hit with every step, and the lighting made you feel as if the sun was just in the perfect spot. All these characteristics and more allowed for you to walk through the exhibit with nothing on your mind but art. The wing itself was themed with Asian art and it was noticeable not just from the art that was in the room but from the room itself with its open unseparated exhibit.

Art and core values

Wooden Saint Virgin Mary: Nuestra Senora de Monserrate by Zollo Cajigas

The above art work by Cajigas is a depiction of the Virgin Mary. Cajigas was known for his sculptures and art of the Christian Saints that were used for personal religious practices. Cajigas was from Puerto Rico which is known for its strong history or Catholicism, so it is quite normal to see art works of religious items. This art struck my core values because it dealt with religion, there is a cross on the top of the wooden art and the statues is a depiction of the Virgin Mary. For many people around the world a way they relate to history and their ancestors is with religion. Religion is something that many people hold very closely and it tends to be a core value in determining how people live their lives. I may not be christian but a core value to me is still religion, it connects me to other members of my faith and dictates a large part of my life. I not only This is not something that is uncommon rather it is very common and in older times people used religion to guide their lives even more strongly. This wooden art will be a reminder through out history that religion has been a core value of peoples lives, even if it may not be such a large part of our futures lives.

Art and the good life

Oil on canvas: Jefferson Market Courthouse by Francis Criss

This Oil on canvas is a painting of the Jefferson Market Courthouse in New York City. To me this piece speaks of calmness and quietness in a somewhat otherwise world. The red color of the courthouse causes it to stick out from the rest of the scenery. It somewhat has a voice of its own in a very loud setting where all the other voices just blend in. The reason this piece spoke out an idea of good life to me was simply because it stood out. To me the idea of a good life is to do something special with your life, not to be average but to be the best at something or at least be so passionate about something your work speaks for itself. To me that is exactly what this courthouse is doing. It is standing out, it is different, it does not blend in with the hustle and bustle of the everyday New York City life. It is not just the color of the building that causes it to stand out but rather the use of straight lines and special design of the windows and doors. Its clock towers over other near by buildings casting a shadow on them. This building is more than a building it is an idea, a belief that anyone can stand out. Anyone can make their life a good life no matter what noise is around them. This painting is one of my favorite paintings that i saw today because it reminded me why i am here at UF, to stand out and pursue my good life, to be the best doctor ever seen and hopefully make a change in the world that will help others.


All photos taken by myself

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