Art App Last Exhibition Essay

Submitted By VictoriaMariaGon
Words: 1234
Pages: 5

The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell
I had the opportunity to view one of the most acclaimed collections in the National Museum of African Arts. Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell are the relevant themes addressed in Dante Alighier’s 14th century epic poem, The Divine Comedy. Forty of the best-known and emerging artists from 18 African nations and the African diaspora explore diverse issues of politics, heritage, history, identity, love, faith, and form through their own recollection of heaven, purgatory, and hell. In the exhibition of heaven the artist reveal that visions of paradise are complex, contradictory, and often, quite beautiful. Purgatory’s diverse pieces address themes of immigration, impermanence, corruption, and healing. Lastly the hell exhibition envisions things that might constitute a place called hell. Works in this exhibition challenge war, environmental degradation, literary horrors, and personal fears. What does paradise mean to you? In Guy Tillim’s Mouaraa Moorea his piece of paradise is captured in the photograph of a landscape. This 2010 photography landscape depicts Mount Mouaroa of French Polynesia. In this landscape, horizontal lines of the grass help give a sense of space. The lines delineate sections of the landscape, which recede into smoked filled space. They also imply continuation of the landscape beyond the picture plane to the left. The diagonal line created by the tree conveys the feeling of movement and speed. The leaves on the tree simulate the organic shapes of nature. The smoky background brings depth and focus to the tree in the fore front. In this photograph the artist captures both the seriousness and the joy of the scenery. The green of the tree’s contrast with the grey smoke. The bright color of green is associated with positive energy and heightened emotion. While the dull color of grey create a sedate or serious mood. In the next display of the Heaven exhibition Purgatory is like the color red, the color of bloodshed in the giving and taking of life. It is the state of longing, a place in between. This message is conveyed in the works of Aida Mulumeh The 99 Series and Hassan Musa Les Cles du Paradis. In “The 99 Series,” Aida Mulumeh evokes the ancient important history of body paint among African peoples while also anticipating a contemporary gaze that may ponder the politics of a whitened Black body with red hands that enclose the form. The woman’s hands, and the mysterious third hand, almost appear disembodied as the fingers grasp across the chalky A preponderance of vertical black and white lines in the dress of the Ethiopian women, connotes strength, courage, and authority. There is also vertical black dots going down the middle of her face and chest. The black dots stand out on the women’s white chalked covered skin creating a contrast of colors. The dots form a sense of symmetrical balance to the composition. The visual weight of the color red in the hands of the women insistently drew my eye. Both her hands were placed in the middle of her body bringing an implied center of gravity which makes the composition feel balanced. In Hassan Musa Les Cles du Paradis his assembled fabric of ink captures a maid bent over sweeping the floor. The white blouse of the maid surrounded by red, yellow, and orange creates a dramatic focal area against the earth tone of her skirt and background. The horizontal line made by the broom held by the maid gives this composition a symmetrical frame. The diagonal line that the maids arm creates also gives a sense of motion. The over lapping duplication of the maid in the back gives the assembled fabric a sense of depth. The oval arch at the top of the piece encompasses expressive lines that creates vanishing point that leads to the maid in the back. The two maids are evenly proportioned to each other even though one is placed behind the other. This artwork is composed of shapes because it is two-dimensional. Most of the shapes are…