I was scrolling down our courses blog post feed in hopes of finding something that would catch my eye. Well, hold and behold, I have found it. Molly Mattison and her group wrote a piece titled “LIVE IN ART??” and as a self proclaimed art enthusiast and part time painter and sculptor when I’m not rambling out of my house trying to make it to class like any other college student, this title immediately caught my attention. I clicked on it and began reading. It was absolutely indulging. I find that there is a huge sense of satisfaction for me when someone manages to divulge into the importance of art. To me, art is everything and so before I begin, I would first like to introduce the following section from Mattison’s group post. It goes as follows:
There’s a trend in human history of using art to pass on impactful information. Art becomes a medium through which we can share knowledge, express reverence and even remind others of something that once was. Following the trend of civilizations past who used artforms like sculptures, carvings, pottery etc., the Great Tohoku Earthquake has resulted not only in long-lasting consequences, but also in art mediums which have captured the meaning of its experience to victims and witnesses.
Okay, now we can begin. The reason I decided to add that particular section of the blog post is because I find it captures the essence of how art functions and why it’s so important. Just like the group articulated, art is used to pass on information and create self expression. Ancient civilizations have used various mediums of art to create a story of some sort and create preservation. It’s their mark in the world. N.K Jeminsin introduces these sentiments throughout her work in the way she creates characters as representations of art. The most immediate example we can all think of is the creation of the stone eaters who literally look like stones (or sculptures). This all brings me back to a specific day in class when we looked at the sculptures by Charles Henri Joseph Cordier. The sculptures titled “African Venus” and “Said Abdullah” were highly respected in the 19th century “after the abolishment of slavery.” The bronze busts were based off of a young African model named Seïd Enkess who had been a former slave in France. So, where am I going with this? Well, not only did these sculptures embody and celebrate the perseverance of marginalized groups in the face of adversity and great injustice, but it also parallels to how Jemisin uses art as a way of reminding people of historical events, just as we saw throughout the development of the stonelore. (Also, the sculptures were made of bronze rather than white marble, ergo, making the sculptures darker in color and therefore closer to the authenticity of the actual person itself). I’m not entirely sure who pointed this out in class but it was a great comment!
This was probably one of my favorite in class discussions. Now as a little bonus I wanted to add some of my own personal paintings and sculptures that I have created in order to celebrate my ethnicity, my family history and as a way to express myself.
p.s: the sculptures are inspired by Olmec colossal heads. The stone heads are that of the Olmec civilization of the gulf coast of Mexico (1200 BCE-400 BCE). They are considered to be some of the most mysterious and debated artifacts from the ancient world because the stone used to create the massive heads were made from stone materials not found near the area. No one really knows how they managed to create such massive sculptures or how the got their hands on that particular rock material.