Cultural Excursion: National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History

Inside the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science
Inside the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science
Beautiful sculpture inside the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science
Beautiful sculpture inside the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science
The main entrance room at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science
The main entrance room at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science

As I mentioned in my last post, we got the opportunity to visit the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History in Chisinau yesterday.  The museum was quite large, and had some great exhibitions, but it also has little funding.  It is housed in a beautiful, old building.  The architecture was quite stunning but building is also in need of repair and such.

A topographical model of all of Moldova at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science
A topographical model of all of Moldova at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science
One of the beautiful murals at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science
One of the beautiful murals at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science, showing the flora and fauna of Moldova
The Deinotherium, commonly called "hoe tusker" was a prehistoric mammal resembling an elephant- this is the largest skeleton of a Deinotherium in the world, and was found in Moldova
The Deinotherium, commonly called “hoe tusker”, was a prehistoric mammal resembling an elephant- this is the largest skeleton of a Deinotherium in the world, and was found in Moldova
Painted image of the Deinotherium at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science
Painted image of the Deinotherium at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science

The museum had a pretty impressive collection related to natural history, which eventually led to the ethnography exhibits.  Essentially, as you wove your way through the museum, you first went through the natural history exhibits, and those led naturally to the ethnography exhibits.  There was a room of animals that once lived in Moldova but are now extinct, as well as an exhibit on the various types of soil that are found in Moldova.

A display in the ethnography section of the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science, showing a traditional casa mare (a special room in the house where the dowry was kept)
A display in the ethnography section of the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science, showing a traditional casa mare (a special room in the house where the dowry was kept)
An exhibit of a traditional Moldovan wedding at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science
An exhibit of a traditional Moldovan wedding at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science
An exhibit on the destruction of nature in Moldova caused by chemicals and pesticides, and showing mutated animals with two heads at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science
An exhibit on the destruction of nature in Moldova caused by chemicals and pesticides, and showing mutated animals with two heads at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science

There were also exhibits showing how people have lived in Moldova from the Middle Ages forward, with traditional textiles, early ceramics, building techniques, furniture that was found in homes at different points in history, an exhibit on early musicians, and much more!  There was a large exhibit showing a traditional Moldovan wedding, as well as how Soviet rule affected many of the traditional aspects of Moldovan life.

A mural in the dinosaur exhibition room at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science
A mural in the dinosaur exhibition room at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science
Another great mural at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science, showing animals living after the extinction of the dinosaurs but before human arrival
Another great mural at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science, showing animals living after the extinction of the dinosaurs but before human arrival
Another symbolic mural at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science
Another symbolic mural at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science

Something that I found particularly interesting were the amazing murals that accompanied almost every exhibit.  Although some were realistic, many were quite symbolic.

Wall #1 of the mural room at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science (showing the big bang and the creation of the earth)
Wall #1 of the mural room at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science (showing the big bang and the creation of the earth)
Wall #2 of the mural room at National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science (showing the natural environment before human arrival)
Wall #2 of the mural room at National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science (showing the natural environment before human arrival)
Wall #3 of the mural room at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science (showing humans and nature living in harmony)
Wall #3 of the mural room at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science (showing humans and nature living in harmony- Mother Nature is the ghost-like white figure in the middle)
Wall #4 of the mural room at National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science (showing the destruction of the earth by humans)
Wall #4 of the mural room at National Museum of Ethnography and Natural Science (showing the destruction of the earth by humans)

There was even one room that was just a huge mural on all four walls!  The mural showed the progression of the earth’s history from the big bang to humans destroying the nature.  It reminded me a lot of some of the landscape paintings I learned about in my American Art class this past winter.

I really enjoyed my first museum visit in Moldova.  It was really interesting to see the natural history of the country as well as the human history of the country!

Ceramics II

I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile now, but life’s been really busy.  I took Ceramics I (more pieces here) last year and loved it.  In the fall, I took Ceramics II and then this past winter, I took Ceramics III.  Out of all of the art forms I’ve tried so far, ceramics is my favorite.  It is very therapeutic for me and I love that I get something usable and functional out of it.  I made quite a few things, so I’m just going to share the things I made in Ceramics II today.

 

Small textured cup
Small textured cup
Small cup
Small cup
Small cup
Small cup
Small cup
Small cup
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Small cup

 

Small cup
Small cup
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Small cup

 

Medium-sized owl cup
Medium-sized owl cup
Large textured mug
Large textured mug
Small bowl (crack in bottom)
Small bowl (crack in bottom)
Small shallow bowl
Small shallow bowl

I have a few more things that I need to take photos up, and then I’ll share my Ceramics III stuff.

Hand-Painted Wooden Box

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A couple of weeks ago, I finally got to go shopping in a place I could get some art supplies.  I was going through some stuff in my room a few weeks prior and had found a few small wooden boxes that I think I had gotten several years ago with the intention of painting them to use as gifts.  I found that I didn’t really have much acrylic craft paints left, so I decided to put off doing something with them until I could go shopping (the nearest town we can get crafting supplies is an hour away).

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For the first box, I decided to take a design I had seen in a wallpaper and free-hand it onto the box.  I first painted a base coat of the bottom color and then painted over it with a navy blue.  Although I am very happy with the end result, it was definitely a bit of a challenge- I probably should have chosen an easier pattern!  The whole box (I painted the top and all four sides) took me at least 5 hours to paint.

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The box is a perfect size for storing some small notebooks I have and I love the pop of color it adds to my bedroom!  And it was really nice to get back to creating and painting.

Art Update: Sculpture I

I took sculpture for the first time this year, and although it was challenging, I really enjoyed the chance to work more with my hands.

We started off with clay relief panels.  Our assignment was to create something that represented us using a body part (human or animal) and letters/numbers.  I decided to create a plaque that looks similar to what a rack of trophy antlers would be mounted on, then create mountains in the basic shape of an upside down ‘w’ in the background, which is reflected below the antlers (10) in a reservoir or large lake to create another ‘w’.  The antlers, mountains, and reservoir represent my hometown and upbringing, while the antlers were modeled after the 11-pointer (the 11th point was hidden from view) that my dad very proudly got 2 years ago.  The various ‘w’s represent my hometown, which starts with a ‘w’.  After it was fired, it was brushed with a metallic paint to look like copper.

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Our second assignment was in wood.  We were instructed to create something about 8×10″ in size that represented a memorial or commemoration.  I decided to create a plaque that showed my town’s track uniform and a relay baton to give to my track coach.  It is mahogany wood.

2014-05-12 12.07.40Our third assignment was to create something abstract out of stone.  To practice, we created small trinkets.  Mine was a heart.  For the actual assignment, I made a basic teardrop shape.

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Our final assignment was a found object sculpture.  We were supposed to create something “wearable” using found objects.  I made a dress (made to fit me) using plastic grocery and garbage bags.  The dress form is my body, made using duct tape, an old shirt, cardboard, wood, pvc piping, and lots of batting (we used this tutorial).  I used staples and a hot glue gun to attach everything.  This is probably my proudest work of art.  It was very time consuming to make, but I am soooo happy with the end result.  I also designed the dress.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI really did enjoy sculpture, but found it pretty tiresome and repetitive.  Tomorrow I’ll share my photos from Painting II!

 

Art Update: Painting I

I have posted some pictures of some of the art work I’ve done over the past school year, but I thought that now that I am done for the year, I could now do a series of posts of all of the artwork I did this year. I’d do just one big post, but that would be a ton of photos, so I’ll break it up by class, starting with Painting I.

I liked Painting I quite a bit, but didn’t like that painting didn’t come as easily to me as drawing and printmaking had.  I’m pretty happy with most of my finished paintings, so in the end I enjoyed it, but it was a bit of a struggle to stay motivated throughout the class.

Our first assignment was to choose a Manet flower painting and copy it, changing or adding one thing.  I chose to change the background color, which was much more difficult than I had originally thought it would be.

manet flowers

Our next assignment was to take three objects, create an interesting arrangement, take a photograph, and then use that photograph as the basis of our painting.  I chose to use my violin, my sketchbook, and a spool of thread, to symbolize the things that are often forgotten when I am productive in other areas of my life.  Those things that I no longer “have time for”.  It is titled “The Casualties of Productiveness”.

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Our third assignment was to choose a historic nude painting, crop it to our liking, then reproduce it, adding a tattoo of our choice.  I chose Bouguereau’s Biblis and added a feather tattoo, primarily because it seemed to fit the space I wanted to place the tattoo in the best.  I think this was my best painting all year.

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For our final assignment, we could paint anything we wished, but were encouraged to push the limits in terms of originality/content.  After much thought, I decided to do a political piece about eminent domain and the reservoirs in my area (which provide clean drinking water to millions of people living in New York City but have negatively affected my area and town on a very large scale).  I had written a 10-page research paper on the reservoirs and eminent domain my freshman year of college and it is something I care a lot about.  The image is of an abandoned house underwater, symbolizing the homes’, and thus the lives of the people who lived there, destruction.  There is a tattered American flag, which symbolizes the freedom taken away from the thousands of people forced to move and give up their livelihoods for “the greater good”, despite other options (if you’d like to learn more about New York City’s reservoirs, I encourage you to read Liquid Assets by Diane Galusha).

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And that’s it!  Next up: Sculpture I.