Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Finding myself in the walls of the V&A

September 2, 2009 · No Comments

dress, shoes and carpet

So maybe my culture is not represented here, but as I roamed the Victoria and Albert Museum I realized that some of my interests definitely are. I am a person who highly values artistic performances, self expression through the arts is really important to me, and the Victoria and Albert Museum does a fantastic job at incorporating multiple artistic forms into one beautifully organized building.

Some of the artistic presentations take the form, but are not limited to: sculpting, painting, photography, fashion, design, carpentry and even poetry. I started by observing the sculpture display, made my way through the Japanese and Chinese exhibits of preserved objects, then slowly encountered an interesting section on “Islamic Middle East.” At the “Islamic Middle East” section I was specifically intrigued by a huge carpet laid flat across the floor inside a glass box, it slightly lit for ten minutes on the hour and on he half hour to prevent the colors from fading.  This carpet goes by the name of “The Ardabil Carpet” (dated to 1539-40) and is one of the “finest” and “largest” islamic carpets in existence. I was most amazed by its size and the way it was displayed. The chosen form of display majestically asserted its importance. You can tell this carpet took an extensive amount of work to create and so I sat in front of it, and took a moment of my time to appreciate its intricacy.

With infinite excitement, I then proceeded to the fashion exhibit! I had heard about it from one of my peers who visited the museum a few days ago and I was really excited for what was in store. I’ve lived in NYC for about eight years of my life, so I can’t help but to be interested in fashion (as weird as that may sound). The dresses in this exhibit were like paintings, pieces of art work designed with precision, colored with care and story tellers of their own history. As I roamed, I stopped at a window displaying the evolution of the shoe. Suddenly, I thought back on something professor Qualls said at one of our most recent class discussions: “Progress can be good, but for who?” I was observing the evolution of the shoe, the progress of this everyday item, this extremely useful item that some of us filled our suitcases with. But who’s shoe is evolving? Who wore these fancy shoes, who’s progress was this? What about the people without shoes? I asked myself. From that moment on I knew my own questions would prevent me from enjoying the rest of this exhibit so I left this part of the museum. I stopped by the fairy tale furniture exhibit as well as the heaven and hell, quickly perused the small pathways until I realized that it was time for me to gather with the rest of my peers.

I entered the garden on my way out, where I was mesmerized by the peace I suddenly found there, although short-lasting it was very filling. As I reflected on the things I saw at this museum I realized that, slowly, I am finding the “me” in the streets of London. At the museum I found many of my interests and soon, as we do more learning and exploring I am confident that I will find more parts of who I am in the parts of London we have yet to explore.

Categories: Flow · Uncategorized

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below..

You must log in to post a comment.