Art Paper

The final paper is a combination of your personal museum experience, the formal analysis, and the contextual analysis. You can use edited portions of your first two papers in your final paper.The final paper will focus on one aspect of the artwork and will include a coherent thesis statement. The remainder of the paper will discuss the artwork in terms of this main idea. Your paper should include an original interpretation of the artwork.Consider what the different elements of the artwork mean and why.Thesis StatementYour paper will focus on a particular aspect of the artwork and will be explained in ONE SENTENCE, known as the thesis statement. The thesis statement is the last sentence in the first paragraph (introduction paragraph) and will tie together all of the different parts of your paper. Underline your thesis statement in the final paper. OrganizationUse the following outline as a template for writing your paper. You can slightly modify the outline below to fit your experience of the museum.Paragraph 1. Introduction. Last sentence in this paragraph is your thesis and is underlined.Paragraph 2. Your museum experienceParagraph 3. Formal analysis of your artworkParagraph 4. Contextual analysis of your artworkParagraph 5. Personal ResponseParagraph 6. ConclusionImages. Include the image(s) of your artwork and the label here. If you discuss other artworks in your paper then include an image of them also. Label each image: Figure X. Artist, Title, Date.Bibliography. Any source that you read during your research will be included here. Sources are in order by author’s last name. FormattingThe paper will be 900 to 1500 words (approximately 3 to 5 pages) with one-inch borders. The page count does not include images and bibliography. The font is 12-point Times New Roman. The text is double-spaced with only one space between the paragraphs; only one space after a period. Include footnotes and a bibliography exactly like the contextual analysis paper. A picture of the artwork should be placed before the bibliography but after the body of text.PS: ALL THE NECESSARY DOCUMENTS ARE ATTACHED, INCLUDING ALL THE PREVIOUS DOCS I SUBMITTED TO THE PROF. THE PAPER HAS TO BE INSPIRED FROM THEM.
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1
Bertin Tamegnon
Art 101
Wednesday 6pm-9:40pm
02/21/2018
A Visit to the National Museum of African Art
2
Responses to the Observation Prompts
1- Museum Experience
The museum seems similar to the buildings around with a more antique style. The exterior is
eye-catchy with its look and the emphasized mention of “NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN
ART”. One part of the building is painted in red and black, which is personally familiar, as being
the main colors of houses, temples, and monuments in Africa. This design definitely relates to
the reality of Africa, and therefore gives a hint on what might be inside: a variety of African
cultural expression. The entrance was somehow difficult to locate as there is no “main” entrance
as it is usually with buildings nowadays. The opportunity was given to me to speak to people
(students and tourists) from diverse background. I noted people from Morocco, Ghana, Nigeria,
Ethiopia, China, and the United States. The place was really quiet, with very friendly guides. The
building is structured in 4 levels. The ground-level, which is referred to as the street level, is the
entrance to the museum and the place where healing arts objects are exposed. The other 3 levels
are sublevels. This is extremely remarkable, since it reminds me of how Kings in Africa would
create underground tunnels to travel from a point A to a point B, at the discretion of the enemies.
Sublevel 1 is called the Invocations level. Sublevel 2 is called the Visionary level. Finally,
sublevel 3 is called the Currents level. Here, water flow in Africa is exhibited. The Artwork I
chose to observe was placed at the very middle of the room where it was. Located in the sublevel
3
2, it occupies a large area. It was definitely the most eye-catchy of the room, due to its scale.
Close to it, was some other sculpture of less size.
2- First Impression
At a first glance, I just saw a big circle, made with random tools. Then, by looking closer, I
realized that it was in fact the sculpture of a huge snake.
3- Form
The artwork was made of plastic and other random tools such as rope. The surface was somehow
rough, maybe due to the use of some paints. The main colors present was black, red, and dark
green with very intense value. The composition was of Rotational symmetry, since the shape of
the artwork was clearly circular. The artwork was very big, immense, gigantic, letting the work
be easily noticeable. This exaggeration indicates the importance of the work, or the meaning.
4-/5- Context & In-Depth
The artwork was made by Romuald Hazoumè in 2007, at Porto-Novo, capital of actual Republic
of Benin (ex-Kingdom of Dahomey). The work is named “Rainbow Serpent” (Dan-AyidoHouedo), which explains the diversity in color and the circular shape. It was made with mixed
media and found objects. The author is best known for transforming jerry cans used to carry
gasoline into mask-like forms. Using random tools to create artwork in very common in African
4
art. This shows the creativity in African art, and the proof that anything can be used to a very
determined end. This is not just a simple work of art. It actually holds more than one meaning,
which indicate the size of the work. The author, Hazoumè use jerry cans to fashion the
monumental form of a rainbow serpent swallowing its tail. This symbol is a powerful
idealization of fertility, prosperity, and the eternal cycle of life for the Fon and Yoruba peoples of
Benin (ex-Kingdom of Dahomey), and Nigeria. The meaning of this artwork goes even more
belong that. By using jerry cans and other random tools to make this gigantic artwork, Hazoumè
seeks to draw attention to the consequences of oil extraction, the horrors of the transatlantic
slave, and the continued abuses found in unequal global trade relations. The message in a
glance: Using resources in abundance without thinking angers the gods, and creates a monster
which destroy us in return.
6- Personal Response
I selected this artwork because I felt familiar to it. I am from Republic of Benin (ex- Kingdom of
Dahomey), and those realities are common to me. Also, the size of the art really intrigued not
only me, but also other people in the museum into knowing more.
5
Proof of Attendance
Bertin Tamegnon
Contextual Analysis Paper
Art 101
Wednesday 6pm-9:40pm
04/11/2018
A Contextual Analysis of the Rainbow Serpent by Romuald Hazoumè
The Rainbow Serpent (Dan-Ayido-Houedo) was made by Romuald Hazoumè in 2007, at
Porto-Novo, capital of actual Republic of Benin (ex-Kingdom of Dahomey). The work is named
“Rainbow Serpent”, which gives a meaning to the diversity in color and the circular shape. It was
made with mixed media, jerry cans, and found objects. The author is best known for
transforming jerry cans used to carry gasoline into mask-like forms. Using random tools to create
artwork is very common in African art. This shows the creativity in African art and the proof that
anything can be used to a very determined end. This is not just a simple work of art. It actually
holds more than one meaning. 1The author, Hazoumè used jerry cans to fashion the monumental
form of a rainbow serpent swallowing its tail. This symbol is a powerful idealization of fertility,
prosperity, and the eternal cycle of life for the Fon and Yoruba peoples of Republic of Benin,
and Nigeria. The meaning of this artwork goes even more belong that. By using jerry cans and
other random tools to make this gigantic artwork, Hazoumè seeks to draw attention to the
consequences of oil extraction, the horrors of the transatlantic slave, and the continued abuses
found in unequal global trade relations.
1
Footnote Citation: “The circular image of the rainbow serpent swallowing its tail is a powerful symbol among
Fon and Yoruba peoples in Benin and Nigeria, where it refers to spiritual forces and positive ideas about fertility,
prosperity, and the eternal cycle of life.” Smithsonian National Museum of African Art,
https://africa.si.edu/collections/view/objects/asitem/3556/18/
accessed April 8, 2018,
Bertin Tamegnon
Contextual Analysis Paper
Art 101
Wednesday 6pm-9:40pm
04/11/2018
2
The artwork carries many different colors, predominated by black and red. In African
‘cultures, red generally means strength, mourning, and danger. This reflects, the reality Romuald
is trying to communicate: a danger humans are exposing themselves to. Moreover, the color
black represents death, evil, illness, bad luck, mystery, and it also symbolizes age, maturity, and
masculinity in African ‘cultures.
Next, the circular shape of the rainbow serpent swallowing its tail is a powerful symbol
among Fon and Yoruba peoples in Benin and Nigeria, where it refers to spiritual forces and
positive ideas about fertility, prosperity, and the eternal cycle of life. However, The circular
shape depicts a loop, which is dangerous, since the artwork itself is a serpent swallowing its own
tail.
Finally, when perceived, the work communicates a sense of aggressiveness and terror. Its
monumental size presents a sense of power. Also, the scale, being larger than life, might interpret
how a huge, scary, and dangerous monster was created by humans, due to their actions.
In fact, the author addresses in his work the exploitation of human and natural resources,
which demonstrate the use of found object without modifications. This phenomenon affects
communities around the world and over time. Being from West Africa, a place where the
triangular trading system originated, Romuald tries to symbolize the horrors of the transatlantic
slave trade centuries ago and its economic equivalents today. This is about how people from
2
Gardner’s Art Through the Ages
Bertin Tamegnon
Contextual Analysis Paper
Art 101
Wednesday 6pm-9:40pm
04/11/2018
Benin rely on Nigeria for their petrol, which in turn is bad because of the way this trade is
performed, and how it destroys mother nature.
Work Referenced:
Figure 1. Romuald Hazoumè, The Rainbow Serpent (Dan-Ayido-Houedo), 2007.
Bibliography
“The circular image of the rainbow serpent swallowing its tail is a powerful symbol among Fon
and Yoruba peoples in Benin and Nigeria, where it refers to spiritual forces and positive ideas
about fertility, prosperity, and the eternal cycle of life.” Smithsonian National Museum of
African Art, accessed April 8, 2018,
https://africa.si.edu/collections/view/objects/asitem/3556/18/
Bertin Tamegnon
Formal Analysis Paper
Art 101
Wednesday 6pm-9:40pm
03/21/2018
A Formal Analysis of the Rainbow Serpent by Romuald Hazoumè
The Rainbow Serpent (Dan-Ayido-Houedo) by Romuald Hazoumè (2007) addresses the
exploitation of human and natural resources and how this affects communities around the world
and over time. Its scale, nature, shape, and the material used gives an overall impressive result. A
brief formal analysis of this sculpture reveals that the author uses scale, in-the-round sculpture,
shape, and material to capture the attention of the viewers and trigger a sense of wonder.
The artwork, about 148 inches wide and 177 inches tall is extremely gigantic. So
gigantic, that a full view of the artwork will require the viewer to stand far away from the work.
The scale of this overwhelming sculpture is larger than life. In addition, it is placed at the very
center of the room, forcing the viewer to be instantly attracted to it by its obviously giant size.
This procures the effect of an extra important sculpture with deep meanings.
The sculpture is presented in complete three-dimensional form, and free from any
background, standing on its own. This describes it as a in-the-round sculpture. It can be seen
from all sides, and gives the viewer many additional perspective to explore the artwork. Also, its
in-the-round nature gives the sense of reality to its viewer.
This artwork, being circular in nature, has a geometric shape. This gives a more toned
sense of rigidity, and shows a sense of continuous, never-ending movements.
Finally, this circular sculpture of a serpent swallowing its tail is made of mixed media
and found objects, including metal pipes. The exterior skin is made of plastic jerry cans joined
together in sections with copper wire. The complexity of the material used delivers a sense of
originality, and makes this artwork a unique in its kind.
Those diverse elements provide a very eye-catchy composition of rotational symmetry,
with a rough looking surface.
Work Referenced:
Figure 1. Romuald Hazoumè, The Rainbow Serpent (Dan-Ayido-Houedo), 2007.

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