On Friday, I went out to a community theatre show with the title above, and halfway through it, I thought how peaceful the world would be if everyone went to events like this and listened to all these different points of view with an open heart and open mind. The show was an all female cast who talked about their insecurities, their objectification, and their racial experiences. Performed with comedy methods, they tackled these issues and shared their personal stories without antagonizing anyone in the audience, and left everyone to go home with something to think about, or at least be a little more aware.
The San Francisco Bay Area is huge, but I’ve never known San Francisco as well as I do now. Growing up in the South Bay, my parents would simply take us and guests to Chinatown and the Golden Gate Bridge. In school, they would take us on field trips to the Exploratorium or the California Academy of Sciences. I never really learned how to understand and appreciate art history. Until I went to the Legion of Honor in San Francisco Richmond District, moving pictures in anime, graphic novels, video games, movies, and TV were all I really cared for in terms of art. But after my visit yesterday, I realized how incredibly dramatic these static pictures, sculptures, and carvings can be, and how much story they can convey.
Yesterday’s visit to the Legion of Honor allowed me the chance to see an unearthed mosaic from the city of Lod, Israel. The mosaic was incredibly preserved, and showed scenes of animals and fish hunting each other, existing together. It was incredible to think that people had once walked over this piece centuries ago that we are now cordoned off from touching.
Another piece was of a cabinet with a city landscape scene that was carved with so much depth and from a perspective where everything looked like it was in 3D. A 3D scene that you could touch.
The piece that caught my eye the most was Holy Week in Seville. The scene was a crowd of people, looking up and listening to a Franciscan brother speak. Every person’s face in the crowd was detailed, and you could see expressions in their faces: eyes furrowed as they listened, some looking like they were bored, another looking right at the painter himself, smiling, flirting. These artists must have had a photographic memory and I envy it!
John the Baptist’s severed head was clearly a prevalent theme during the Renaissance. Herod’s wife had made a request for his head on a platter after he accused her of being morally corrupt. I remember reading the story in the Bible, when I read it for fun as a kid. I guess it was as gory as it goes back in the day.
Visiting the Legion of Honor made me understand more of what it meant to be of a Western civilization. My life is centered around so much Asian influence that I can probably say that it’s part of the reason why I’m turned me off to my own Catholic upbringing. I’ve given up so much of that Catholic background in order to be more Asian that visiting the Legion of Honor and seeing these Bible stories re-imagined on canvas reminded me that I did grow up Catholic, searching for the most interesting parts of the Bible, familiarizing myself with the history and parables of Jesus’ and before Jesus’ time that I would not have been interested in learning elsewhere, and I felt glad I had done that.