Intercultural Communication in the Arts Matthew J. Plunkett

The Harn Museum’s African Collection includes works that illuminate the diversity and historical depth of Sub-Saharan African art. The collection has representative objects from many ethnic groups within West, Central, South and East Africa, with a particular focus on West African Art.

This piece displays how leaders were traditionally viewed. It is interesting to examine the roles that the traditional leader played compared to the present. In the past, these leaders viewed themselves as gods and distanced themselves from their followers. In todays society, for the most part good leaders are those that serve their people.

African masks should be seen as part of a ceremonial costume. They are used in religious and social events to represent the spirits of ancestors or to control the good and evil forces in the community.

They come to life, possessed by their spirit in the performance of the dance, and are enhanced by both the music and atmosphere of the occasion. Some combine human and animal features to unite man with his natural environment. This bond with nature is of great importance to the African and through the ages masks have always been used to express this relationship

This picture displays how the women in this cultural dress. It was a great opportunity learning about how the West African culture is so unique. Through these colorful photo's I have been able to gain a understanding of how their culture expresses themselves and the differences in their values. I tried to put myself in their shoes and imagined what my life would be like, but it is very challenging. Although, we are similar in some ways, our way of life is very different. Being able to reflect on this has been the most rewarding aspect of the project to me.
This piece was not a part of the West African exhibit, however it spoke to me. It seems as if this hole is never ending, but in actuality it is roughly 2 feet. To me it shows perspective. At times things can seem difficult or very distant but if you take a step back and view the current situation, it can be at finger tips length. I believe that it is important to liberate ourselves from our everyday thinking and try to view our problems from different perspectives to realize a new set of solutions.

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Matthew Plunkett
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