At the Harn I was able to observe El Anatsui's "Old Man's Cloth". The piece was large and had multiple layers of woven metal that were the bottle caps of liquor bottles introduced to Africa by colonists. It seemed rough in texture from what I could see. Seeing it in person enabled me to really understand the immenseness and intricate design that this piece exuded. In person, the piece's presentation demanded respect, but also told a story. The woven technique that represented kente cloth really struck me. The sheer size and complex layers of so many different metals had me in awe. It also had a beautiful side that told a story of multiple meanings. Waste, consumption, togetherness, it was all there. The artwork made me feel small, but also large. I felt like I was one of the bottle caps in the many layers of artwork, but the beauty of it was that each bottle cap made up the greatness that was the cloth. It can be compared to my place within the community that is the University of Florida. When observed by myself, I may seem small, but when I'm with my university, we are a large and powerful unit of success and innovation.
Design of the Museum
The wing I chose for this portion was the Asian wing. Overall, the design as a whole was perfect in every way. The natural lighting from outside gave the room a traditional, rustic feel that made the experience just feel more natural. I felt as if I were in an Asian country, not a museum. Each piece of art was spread out towards the walls. Combined with the wood flooring, the use of space made the wing itself feel vast while keeping each piece relatively close by. The art itself was arranged by region. One section was south Asia, one was north, and another was west. It gave the exhibit a deep sense of organization that made it easy to observe the themes and styles of the different regions within Asia. I can look at a Buddha statue from India on one side of the room while taking in the quaint Japanese garden at the other. It created choice and variety without creating confusion which I loved. The exhibit made me feel at peace. The calm wood floors, the openness of the room, and the quaint, quiet water garden created a relaxation like no other that enabled me to truly appreciate the art that surrounded me. It was a wonderful experience.
Art and Core Values
For this portion I observed Boardman Robinson's "Excavation". I chose this piece because it resonated with my core values of hard work and success. The picture embodies the industrious working class and the modern American city. I can relate to the workers portrayed in the painting because they have a fire within them, a drive to work hard to create a better future. My whole life has revolved around the idea that hard work pays off, and the painting represents that showing how the workers helped build modern America through rigor and elbow grease. The piece made me feel proud as it reminded me of my work ethic and how it translated to getting accepted to the university of my choice and gaining recognition for my achievements. It solidified my belief that working hard can help individuals achieve amazing things and partake in monumental events such has the evolution of the American city. It gives me hope that I will one day be a part of something just as great and make a name for myself.
Art and the Good Life
I chose Sebastiao Salgado's "Cast of Thousands" for my final portion. I believe Sebastiao perfectly captures the desperation of those searching for what they believe to be the Good Life. It portrays the theme that wealth is attributed to the Good Life. The vast gold mine is teeming with thousands of individuals trying to strike it rich. To these people, the Good Life is escaping poverty and being able to support their loved ones. By possibly mining themselves into a fortune, they believe that they can create a better life, the Good Life for their families and themselves. They are willing to work day and night in terrible conditions to achieve their goals because to them, their family's well-being and their opportunity at achieving the Good Life are the most important things. I can now appreciate the theme more seeing real life accounts of individuals who have dedicated themselves to achieving the Good Life this way. Adding realism to the theme granted it new meaning for me, and I am happy I was able to experience this moment of small enlightenment. Now I can compare my definition of the Good Life to the one depicted in this work and take another step towards my personal "Good Life".