When I first met Baba Shabu, over half a century ago, he invited me to an art exhibition. I was excited, but I was also intimidated because I knew nothing about viewing visual arts. Looking back, it was one of the most important first steps I ever took. After reading this article, you can go to your next exhibition knowing how to get the most enjoyment out of it.
Most art lovers suggest that you begin by walking slowly through the entire exhibition noting pieces that catch your eye. And that is a good idea. After all, enjoying visual art pieces begins with the eye. Your eyes will carry you back to the pieces you liked most. The second view gives you a chance to spend more time looking carefully at your favorites.
All the arts; whether visual, musical, dance or others, are special because they “speak” to each of us on a personal level. Most people have experienced this personal connection with music. However, your connection to a musical piece may be a bit different from what you will experience with the visual arts because we are naturally connected to a certain kind of music. We easily connect to music we’ve heard from babyhood. It’s familiar. On the other hand, most of us are not familiar with and haven’t been exposed to visual art works until adulthood. It may take a while to get used to this new experience. So being patient with yourself will certainly reward you. Who knows? A piece of art may “speak” to you at your next art exhibition!
You may feel attracted to the colors, the shapes, or the textures of a piece. The image or images may make you feel a certain, pleasing way. Or you may not be able to pin point why you have a special attraction to a particular piece – a “feeling”. And you may come to realize that seeing this beauty every day will contribute to building a healthier environment for you or someone you love.
Your next art exhibition may surprise you in many ways. Here in Liberia, you may very likely meet the artist – especially if you attend the opening of the exhibition. The artist will be happy to hear your comments and your questions – even about how to install, care for, and preserve the art work.
Baba and I hope to get to meet you at your next exhibition. We hope you truly enjoy it!