A Rare Black Dude at the J. Paul Getty Museum

Every time I am in a country for the first time, I always try my best to visit a museum.  When me and Karen (one of my super travel buddies) are together on an out-of-the-country-adventure we would call it “the cultural day”.  Since it’s the day to appreciate high culture – some pieces of art of outstanding quality or historical importance – which in some ways feed our soul, we would somehow dress up a notch higher than the usual.

Of course my first-time visit to Los Angeles, California was no different from my other first-time visits to other countries.  It is because I and my super travel friends had a cultural day. We went to the one of the most visited museums in USA, the renowned and reputed J. Paul Getty Museum.

j. paul getty museum, los angeles, california
j. paul getty museum, los angeles, california
karen & joesel going up the hill via tram on a "cultural day"
karen & joesel going up the hill via tram on a “cultural day”
some fashion posing on a cultural day at the getty
feeding our soul with some fine art at the getty
(count how many bellies are there in this photo)

As I feed my soul from the captivating pieces of art, the one piece that moved me more than any other is the 1758 black stone sculpture entitled “Bust of a Man” made by an English dude named Francis Harwood.

Apart from the innate beauty of the bust, it struck me how unusual it was to see a sculpted figure of a gorgeous black man at that point of Western art history.  It would definitely be rare to see a man of African descent depicted as a person during the time it was sculpted because black Africans then (as I understand) were considered objects of slavery. 

I stood next to this man for quite a long time and instinctively absorb what it transmits and evokes.

me and the rare black dude
me and the rare black dude
bust of a man by francis harwood
bust of a man by francis harwood

What moved me is that the depicted features of the face conveys adversities, past terrors and destitutions.  But the neck and the massive muscle features of the chest sends messages of poise, strength and self-reliance.  While the strong jaw and up-turned head conveys conviction, audacity and nobility with an almost squire and patrician bearing.  A valiant vision perhaps of numerous centuries that it would take before equality would turn from wish to reality.

O di ba… ang itim pero dramatik…

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