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CFAM: It’s Alive!

With an interactive bird exhibit, photo booth, and scavenger hunt, CFAM’s First Friday event was a night to remember

WILD AWAKENING  At their First Friday event, CFAM’s featured exhibition, Birds of Florida, recreated wildlife and exposed the importance of bird ecosystems.

The Cornell Fine Arts Museum presented the First Friday event on October 4. The exhibition featured Birds of Florida by Colombian artist, Diana Beltran Herrera as well as an exhibition known as Studio Malick, depicting the Malian photographer Malick Sidibe. This free, public exhibition and event was co-sponsored by the Latin American Student Association.

The event was entitled, Night at the Museum: When Art Comes Alive and had appealing promises of unique exhibitions and interactive activities. It certainly rose to the occasion, though I cannot say that the early, 4pm start time could really be considered a “night at the museum.” The art was lively, and though it didn’t literally come alive, it seemed to have a life and spirit of its own.

The interactive events included a scavenger hunt for all ages, a raffle, casual gallery talks and tours of the art works, a photo booth with various hats and props, and a DJ. The photo booth seemed popular with many of the guests. The music was lively, it wasn’t my personal preference, I’m a big fan of classical music at just about any art exhibition, but it complemented these particular exhibitions nicely. Free refreshments were also provided for those that needed an extra incentive to attend.

Birds of Florida was phenomenal. The artist, Diana Beltran Herrera, is interested in exploring and recreating wildlife, not as a scientist, but as an artist. She explains the importance of wild birds in the ecosystem, not just in Florida, but across the world. Herrera also emphasizes the poetry she sees in the wild birds’ movements and the gracefulness that is reflected in it. Her bio finished with some pensive thoughts, “Does the place where we live let us be what we are? And if so, when in our lives does that manifest itself?” It was a nice, thought-provoking way to introduce her artwork.

The art was lively, and though it didn’t literally come alive, it seemed to have a life and spirit of its own.

The way the birds were set up hanging in mid-air afforded them to have movement and a graceful quality, much like the poetic one Herrera describes. The birds seemed to come to life and were stunningly realistic. The quality and attention to detail in each bird was phenomenal. Their beauty was almost surreal while maintaining their life-like quality. When you looked up close and saw the sheer shine and glitter in some of their feathers, the birds were simply striking and reflected the artist’s impressive talent.

The exhibition Studio Malick, was unlike one I had ever seen. There was a huge quantity of photographs that offer a glimpse into the time of political transition and cultural liberation in Mali. These were true studies of human personality and character. It was almost like watching a documentary of these people right before your eyes – but they were photographs. It is truly amazing to see such talented photography that can bring the subjects in the photographs to life. This exhibition will be on display through early December, and I highly recommend taking the time to experience it.

The Cornell Fine Arts Museum is an opportunity that many students often never take advantage of; attending one of these events is not only memorable, but also artistically and culturally enriching. In addition to the featured exhibitions, there were other notable artists’ work on display, including Albrecht Dürer, Roy Lichtenstein, and a personal favorite, Paul Cezanne. Keep an eye out for the next “First Friday” or any other event that the Cornell Fine Arts Museum hosts, it will most certinaly not disappoint.

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