Good Life Tour of the Harn Mallika Bhatta - IUF1000 Section 0843

Irving J. Goffman Garden by designer Aaron Lee Wiener; Untitled (Yvette Kiln Wrecker), 1996 Stoneware by David Greenbaum (American, born 1952)

Medium of the Art / Technique of the Artist: Many art pieces do not appear the same to the audience in person versus online or in a picture. To get the full experience of viewing an art piece, one must see it in person. One artwork I saw in the Harn was the Goffman Garden with the Stoneware. The Garden incorporates Florida's landscape using natural stone and various plants. Seeing a garden in person is definitely different from seeing it in a picture. I could better understand the small details of the plants and the structure of the pottery letting me better appreciate the work. The Stoneware vessel has a unique medium that can be very difficult to structure and make, especially the tiny details of border design and engravings. One can see and feel the greenery of the beautiful plants better in person as well. I found the garden to be very striking as it looked very calm and relaxing. It reminded me of a place for stress-relieving meditation. I appreciate the artist's unique inspiration of identifying a garden as a piece of art. The overall art communicated to me about peace. It is a great de-stressor and made me feel very relaxed. This medium/technique of art definitely contributed to my enjoyment of the museum.

Okakagbe Masquerade Costume, Cotton, 2003, by Lawrence Ajanaku (Nigerian, 1928-2014)

Design of the Museum: One can enjoy a visit to the museum by observing and appreciating the design of the building and the way the exhibits are presented. The Harn is categorized by regions of the world, so it makes the audience feel like they are going around the world. I like how the rooms are very open and spacious where you can see most of the art at once in a certain wing. The great lighting throughout the museum makes it easier to identify details of the arts. The outdoor gardens give a unique experience of appreciating art as well. One particular exhibit I found appealing is the Africa section. I found this section appealing because of the variety of art that was presented, such as videos of dances, costumes, paintings, photographs, etc. Specifically the video of African dances of Okakagbe masquerade performance was appealing with colorful and spiritual costumes. The dim lighting and big space in the video area gives a clear vision of the dance. I also learned how useful arts can be even in medicine. This interdisciplinary aspect is fascinating. The arrangement of art in bright lighting and open space helped give me a better vision of African culture and very colorful art. The overall aspects of the museum's design definitely enhanced and guided my experience.

Dancing Ganesh, India, 13th Century, Black Stone

Art and Core Values: When art is personal, it brings various emotions in the viewers. Different pieces of art have different effects of people. Many times, art appeals to one's core values letting us understand and accept our emotions including love, hate, fear, desire, happiness, sorrow, etc. One artwork that appealed to my core values is the Dancing Ganesh from India. Ganesha is one of the Hindu gods representing divinity. He is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Ganesh is the solver of problems, presenter of blessings, remover of obstacles, and lord of new beginnings. Each part of his body has specific symbolism. This particular sculpture captures great detail using stone and portrays the difficulty of dance skills, which I also enjoy. During various religious functions and rituals, Lord Ganesha is usually the first to be prayed to and seen at the entrance of temples. This artwork appealed to my core values by showing me the complex meanings and diverse symbolism in my religion of Hinduism. It reminded me of what I believe in. It evoked my emotions of good fortune as well. The visual representation of sculpted stone helped me better understand the minuscule details that have great meaning. The whole gallery of art from India featured many three-dimensional traditional and antique pieces. The works in this section communicate ideas about life practices and spiritual pursuits. They are often found in sacred spaces to convey meaning without the use of words. All the Hindu artworks in this exhibit helped me better understand and instilled the values of Hinduism which I believe and cherish.

Three Girls Holding Hands, Sertao da Paraiba, Brazil, 1981 (printed 1991), Gelatin Silver Paint by Sebastiao Salgado (Brazilian, born 1944)

Art and the Good Life: Many artists use these various forms of visual representations to stimulate thoughts about human conditions around the world. They challenge us to recognize various injustices and inspire us to change how we think or act about them. Arts, including stories, music, performances, etc. help us think about What is the Good Life, what do we want to achieve in life, what do we want to protect, who do we want to help, what impact do we want to make on the world, etc. One artwork that spoke to me about the good life was "Three Girls Holding Hands" from Latin America. This artwork shows people, specifically children, coping with the effects of poverty, industrialization, and political oppression. This particular picture is in Paraiba, an agricultural state in Northeast Brazil, where the people suffer from frequent droughts causing migrations. I believe this artwork evokes the theme of good life because it shows unity through difficulties and to believe that everything will be okay. The Good Life theme that is depicted in this art is achievement and unity as the children are achieving to cope through their issues together. I hope that people who see this artwork will be impacted by the problems and suffering conditions that people face around the world and will try to act in a way to help them. The sense of unity is communicated by the children holding hands. This piece of art adds to my understanding of obstacles that many, including children, face around the world. I appreciate that there are some people who are trying to convey these messages of the good life themes through various art forms. Various Good Life themes definitely resonated through numerous artworks that I saw at the Harn Museum of Art.

Created By
Mallika Bhatta


Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, Florida

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