Many things in life are easy, but art is harn CJ Cooper


Although it is hard to capture on camera, this canvas depicting an alligator has an amazing depth when you look at it in person. The artist draws the majority of the gator's body using light strokes but uses heavy strokes of paint when drawing the head to the point where the dried paint has significant depth, making the head quite literally pop out of the canvas. This hyper-realism resonated with my mental image of an actual gator, who are typically seen with all but their head submerged below the water. Just like in real life, this painting conveys the mystery of an alligator in the wild. The noticeable yellow lines near the head of the gator in the painting also invoke the sense of progress, as I felt that this gator was slowing making its way forward towards its next meal or its next spot in the sun. For me, the technique the artist used to emulate an alligator in the flesh struck a cord, and I couldn't help but stand there smiling in wonderment in front of this painting.


During my visit to the Harn I particularly enjoyed the African Collection and Spotlight: Latin America, primarily for the way in which the two different styles of art were presented in tandem. The exposure that this design cultivates was one I was thoroughly please with, as the two different cultures represented, Africa and Latin America, had vastly different artworks composing the exhibits. Walking through and going from the tribal outfits and masks found in Africa directly into the paintings inspired by the struggles of slavery was a beautiful contrast. I found myself walking back and forth between the two wings to continually make the varied art styles collide. As I did that, I felt a newfound appreciation for the diversity of art and the wonderfully different styles birthed half a world apart.


When I first looked at this piece, I didn't quite know what I felt or what to think. The sculpture is very busy but upon reading about Ganesh, who the sculpture depicts, I began to find my own meaning within the piece. For me, solving problems is all about overcoming obstacles and persevering through challenging circumstances and that's what I immediately associated with the sculptor upon reading about Ganesh. This piece is very intricate, with many different parts that must be crafted one at a time in order to come together and form the final sculpture. The longer I looked the more I saw the struggles this artist would have had to go through to bring his creation to life: selecting the proper material, choosing the best elements to represent their god, carving out the tiny details without diminishing the value present elsewhere in the sculpture. At the end all I felt was a tremendous respect for the person that made this piece and a sense of pride that a fellow person could create something so wonderful despite the adversity they would need to go through to do it.

Art and the good life

When viewing this piece is it easy to see that it's related to slavery and the terrible lives many people had to live because of it. While I'm sure many people only get that sort of idea from this piece, for me the most apparent thought present in this work in one of progress and unity. The man is moving forward as he goes about his job, trying to put slavery and the negative aspects of his life behind him. He's also moving towards us, the viewers, which I feel is something the artist intended. The artist wanted this slave to be moving towards the people who see that work, so they recognize that the worker is trying to come to us and be with us as equals despite the horrendous things his fellow man has done to him in his past. And because of that simple thing the good life I see in this is one of hope. Hope for a better future in which to live in. Hope that one day the people around you will offer their arms reaching downwards to bring you closer to them rather than their feet trampling you down and away. The naive, childlike hope that has the power to change the world.

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