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What Images Can Represent

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

Rohan Banerjee is originally from Dallas, Texas, and is an engineering major with plans to graduate in May 2020. Go, Rohan! In his own words, he describes how he will look at art, in the future.

As a gallery attendant, I've had the incredible opportunity to introduce the artwork on display in the Christian-Green Gallery to visitors, and guide them to form their own opinions. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being able to discuss the themes explored in many of the pieces on display, and relate them to visitors’ own personal experiences. In addition, learning more about the art of the African Diaspora has given me a new perspective on art and history.

...learning more about the art of the African Diaspora has given me a new perspective on art and history.

Unfortunately, the social distancing measures brought about by Coronavirus have made it difficult to connect with gallery visitors in the same way. But I’ve been able to continue learning and interacting with the works through the weekly research essays. I appreciate these opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of the works. Also, as I’m not able to see my coworkers regularly, it is difficult to feel as connected to the whole staff team. But this is mitigated, somewhat, through our emails and Zoom calls.

I particularly miss We Live in Silence III by Kudzanai Chiruai, which is one of the works currently on display, and a part of the exhibition, In Their Own Form. Upon first seeing it, without even knowing much about it, I was drawn to the complexity of color in the piece and the way the images were positioned vertically within it. The bright colors of the foliage contrast with the more muted colors of the central figure, which really stands out against the black and white tribal images on the top. This work also speaks directly to the connection of the main figure’s ancestry to the physical land. After learning more about the artist and his background—particularly his upbringing in the violent and unstable post-Apartheid South Africa- I’ve gained an even deeper appreciation for what the images represent.

As an engineering major, prior to working at the Christian-Green Gallery, I hadn’t had much of an education in art. After working for this past year, I’ve learned how to look at an art piece and think about the artist's intentions with the choice of color, shading, and image. Also, learning more about an artist’s life usually frames the work in a different light and leads to new interpretations. Understanding these nuances adds a layer of complexity to the way I look at art, and will allow me to fully grasp the artist’s message when I look at art, in the future.

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