Tag Archives: #SpurlockMuseum

The Spirit Survives: storytelling from Winter Tales Program (make-up)

On February 22nd, the event “The Winter Tales Program: The Spirit Survives” was held at the A. R. Knight Auditorium of the Spurlock Museum. The Winter Tales Program is a series of events honoring the culture and practices of the Native Americans.

Written by: Yushan Guo

The stage before Dovie Thomason started her storytelling
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An Internal Journey: Music from Mozambique (makeup event)

On February 1st, Nyttu Chongo, a young musician from Mozambique, along with Jason Finkelman, gave a one-hour wonderful concert of music from Mozambique in the auditorium of the Spurlock Museum.

Written by: Yushan Guo

To perform music from Mozambique, the performers employed lots of traditional musical instruments, such as timbila, djembe, kankubwe, and so on. Each of them has a unique and arresting sound. The stage was designed in a very simple fashion. And there were no dazzling lighting effects, just the two performers playing music. In this way, the audiences would fully indulge themselves in the beauty of the music itself.

This photo was taken 2 minutes before the concert began. You can see that there are many exquisite traditional musical instruments.

After a brief period of greetings and introductions, Nyttu and Jason soon began to perform the first song. Nyttu called this song “Peace”, saying that this is the song that helped him searching for the inner self. The instrument he played was an m’bira, an instrument that looked like a thumb piano and produced a very light and crisp sound that sounded like tiny murmurs of a brook. The instrument that Jason played was kankubwe, a large bow-like instrument that produced a relatively heavier sound. I might not understand the specific cultural values behind this song. However, the two performers worked with each other in such a perfect fashion that the song was not only mentally soothing but also brought everyone in the auditorium to a deeper state of a peaceful mind.

After a short talk between Nyttu and Jason as a short intermission, Nyttu picked up a different instrument. They started to perform a song that was relatively more rhythmic than the last one. As an audience, I have to admit that I have little experience with the world music genre. The kinds of music I listen to the most are progressive rock and progressive metal. However, I was surprised to detect that several common elements exist between this music and the music that I usually listen to. The most obvious one is the use of flexible rhythmic patterns. This truly caught my focused attention. Speaking broadly, it was the free and creative expression of Nyttu’s music that truly captured me.

Nyttu Chongo and Jason Finkelman playing music.

In the very last part of this concert, Nyttu changed his instrument into a timbila, which looked sort of like a xylophone but was slightly larger. And Jason changed his instrument into a djembe. The last song they performed was quite a rhythmical and upbeat one. The music was very contagious that lots of the audiences could not help nodding their heads, clapping their hands or tapping their feet along with the beat. After Nyttu’s fervid invitation, some audiences went from their seats to the stage and started to dance along with the song. It was beautiful to see that people from different age or ethnic groups were amazed by the energy of the music. Finally, the concert ended in a bright and cheerful atmosphere. Nyttu and Jason worked perfectly to deliver a concert that captured the audiences and brought them into an internal journey to seek the self deep within their minds.

This was the very last part of the concert. Some audiences were dancing along with the music.

For more information regarding this event or the Spurlock Museum, please visit: https://www.spurlock.illinois.edu/events/event.php?ID=1760

Follow the Steps of FAA 110 onto the Tour of Arts

Written by Nicole Miao

FAA 110 is a course about exploring arts and creativity. When I enrolled in this course at first, I was just trying to learn something new about arts and humanities. What I didn’t expect was that FAA 110 far exceeded my expectations. It gave me not only lots of opportunities to enjoy the show for free, but also like-minded friends and a direct channel to art.

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Dazzling in Drag

Written By Danielle Herrera

The new Drag Queen exhibit at Spurlock Museum catches everyone’s eye through brilliant colored fabrics and and show-stopping ensembles .

This past week I was able to visit one of Spurlock Museum’s new exhibits, “In Her Closet: How to make a Drag Queen.” When I walked into the museum, this exhibit was the first to call my attention, specifically because of its outrageous colors scattered everywhere. There was a runway located in the center of the space that held numerous mannequins dressed complete in wigs and drag attire. In addition, smaller cases featuring jewelry and borrowed items from actual drag queens are displayed along the walls. The overall feel of the room was vibrant and invigorating, which was most likely created to be a parallel to the energy given off by real-life drag queens.

A piece that I found myself studying was a replica of the costume worn by Ma. Arte Susya Purisima Tolentino. I was initially drawn to it because its style varied drastically from the other dresses displayed in the exhibit. Instead of being flashy or revealing, this mannequin was dressed extremely conservatively, covered head to toe in all white fabric. This attire seemed to contradict the more popular sparkly attire worn by drag queens; however, as I took a closer look at the description on the wall I came to realization as to why this dress was the way it was. Maria Arte Susya Purisima Tolentino, the drag queen who wore this dress, is of Filipino heritage just like me. For that reason, I was easily able to identify the traditional Filipino aspects that were incorporated within this dress, such as the classic butterfly sleeves and head wrap. And yet, the overall conservative aspect of this dress most likely stems from the fact the Filipinos are known to be extremely devout Catholics, and dressing appropriately was a necessary part of the church life. In general, I thought this piece was extremely interesting because I was able to draw information and connect my own heritage to the artist to be able to understand the work on a deeper level.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed visiting “Into Her Closet: How to Make a Drag Queen.” The pieces were all captivating and extremely entertaining to read more about, and I can confidently say that if I had the chance I would visit the exhibit again, even in my own free time. I loved the experience and I would definitely recommend this museum to anyone who would like to see first hand what this fascinating art form is all about.

For more information, go to https://www.spurlock.illinois.edu/exhibits/profiles/in-her-closet.html.

Punishment of Individuality [Make-Up]

Written by Raymond Diaz

The Dawn of the Individual: Laocoon’s Punishment

The marble statue of Laocoon’s Punishment

A Trojan Priest who sensed that the Trojan’s gift, the wooden horse, was something to be wary of. Voicing his concern to the people he pleaded with the people to listen to his doubts and not accept the gift, however, the Greek god Poseidon, who favored the Greeks, would not allow for this to occur and sent serpents to kill Laocoon and his sons. Seeing as the gods punished him, the Trojans preceded to then bring the gift in and ultimately led to the demise of the Trojans. The story is said to illustrate the voice of the individual who challenges the consensus, even so far as to oppose the gods.

The statue was made by creating a plaster cast marble copy of the Roman marble copy located in the Vatican Museum, which is a copy of the hellenistic bronze original that has been lost for many years. However, the various chizzlings and details used to express the movements in the figures is impressive, twisting the bodies into various poses to show the muscle movements of their struggle dealing with the serpents tangling around them. Their carved out expressions showing shock and fear as to what is happening because of their beliefs. The reason for marble being that many of the Roman sculptors used this form and the Vatican housing one of them to show a piece of history and try to bring you into that time.

It was brought here through plaster copy in order to bring a piece of history to the museum to help show the Roman era in time accompanied by the various other relics in the exhibit. The interactions shown with it have brought intrigue and curiosity as we see the results of one going against a god, but also examining it to bring it into our current time, seeing how individuality today can bring great ramifications, but also being encouraged to be an individual and form your own way in life.

[EXTRA CREDIT] A Sense of Period

Written by Nicole Miao

When I was browsing through the museum, I saw a lot of impressive works of art, such as sculptures of different figures in Europe, and costumes and decorations from Asia. I stopped when I saw a tobacco pot that was not eye-catching but reminded me of lots of stories about my grandfather.

Viewed the tobacco pot from the front
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Drop Dead Gorgeous Drag Queens (SPURLOCK EXTRA CREDIT)

(SPURLOCK EXTRA CREDIT) Various costumes from local Drag Queens were on display at the Spurlock Museum

Right as you walk into the Spurlock Museum your eyes are drawn to the glitz and glam of In Her Closet and it’s hard to turn away.

Written by Catherine Webber

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