Wednesday, September 17, 2008

African Art Gallery Talk at the College of Wooster

Today I had the pleasure of attending a free gallery talk at the College of Wooster Art Museum. It was such a treat. I miss being immersed in that environment. It's funny how differently I look at things now than how I did when I was studying art history for a minor. Then it was pure knowledge, critical, and academic. I have a gut reaction now, responding in such a personal way. Something like African Art, (most of the objects were from the 20th century) can be just as inspiring to me now as Basquiat, or Kandinsky. I think I have a more open mind.

More about what I found interesting and inspiring:

Masks. Lots and lots of masks. Their complexity as functional/audio-visual/spiritual/cultural objects in African society. Unlike any Western material good. Amazing. They are beautiful simply from an aesthetic standpoint (I particularly was drawn to the geometric/abstract ones), but they hold so much more symbolism, representing life, death, gender duality, on and on... Here are some images from the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Art:

"'If you pick a good tree, you get a push.' – This Akan proverb describes how making good choices attracts the support of others." (from the College of Wooster Art Museum Web site.) That really struck home for me, right now in my life, after making such a life-changing decision and continually worrying that I made a bad decision. What hit me, rather like a ton of bricks, was that I believe I did pick a good tree because I've been getting that push from so many people and circumstances. What a nice moment.

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