The Harn Museum is an unexpected surprise located on the south side of the University of Florida's campus. Usually I am not one for the arts, but since I started college I have learned to diversify myself in all aspects of life including that of the arts. Never did I expect to find such a broad collection of art that showed me a glimpse into the daily lives of many people around the world. As a whole, the artwork in the Harn made me more appreciative of my culture as well as give me a better understanding of many other cultures.
Medium of Art
The medium of a certain piece of art can help the artist portray a point that could not be otherwise stated. In the picture above, the Ekpeye people of Nigeria create these giant headdresses and flaunt them around the village as a payment of respect back to the water spirits. They use the materials available to them including wood, metal, mirrors, and whatever paint they can find. This headdress includes a theme of the river with a boat that sits above both snakes and crocodiles. Additionally, a twist of modern life is incorporated with an airplane, a palm wine tapper, and a sewing machine. The piece of at immediately captured my attention in the museum because of its large size and complex design built mostly out of wood. Had this exhibit been solely a picture, the viewer would not have been able to visualize the full size of the headdress.
Design of the Museum
After transitioning from gallery to gallery, I turned the corner to find a very tranquil outdoor viewing area named the Paula and Marshall Criser Garden. This garden was located in the middle of a gallery which allowed you to take a break and reminisce on the artwork previously viewed. This simple garden only had a few small plants and a bronze statue, but its simplicity is what made is so relaxing.
Art and Core Values
The Tiangis Aerial Reflex by Melanie Smith made an immediate connection to my core values. This photograph was taken of the rural areas of Mexico City in hopes of highlighting the materialistic and liberalized aspect of society. I was able to relate immediately because I have always had a passion for giving back to rural areas. I went on a mission trip to Miami of all places, to a part of town that was so run down and impoverished that most Americans would have mistaken it for a third world country. This photograph brings out such sorrow in my life as I think about those people less fortune than myself. I hope this summer to give back to the people of Rio de Janeiro by teaching English to children in the slums.
Art and the Good Life
Excavation by Boardman Robinson is a painting that portrays the diligent working class in America in the 1920's. This immediately struck my mind as constructing the good life as these men appear to be sawing logs and building a wall. Unknown to these men, their whole life was about to change as the Great Depression followed soon after this painting was created. This goes to show that no matter how set we think our life is, there will always be trials and tribulations that get in our way. The key is to persevere through these trials so that we all may achieve the good life.