The story of a woman traveling to find herself is a literary cliché. It usually starts with the woman, successful but unfulfilled and in an emotionally unsatisfying relationship, who breaks off from everything to travel. In her exotic journey, she discovers true love and experiences spiritual (and gustatory) awakening.
I cannot say that my Miami travels have done that much. It was, however, incredibly refreshing to travel down South and experience the beautiful sunshine and clean water, especially having lived in cloudy Cleveland for so long.
Miami is an incredibly photogenic city; and I am very glad that I brought Marcus along to document it all. Because the large volume of photographs taken, I will be splitting the trip into multiple posts.
I was incredibly lucky to have traveled with some wonderful friends, who were super flexible to changes in our schedule, and adventurous enough to go to (sometimes shady) places with me.
On our first full day, we visited Villa Vizcaya – the home of industrialist James Deering – in the beautiful Coconut Grove. I took a few snaps of the interior, which is of a mix of Asian, European, and American furnishings. We spent most of our time outdoors, in the Italian Renaissance-styled Garden, where we had some mini-photoshoots.
Writer’s note: (1) Check out this interesting article on privlit, specifically Eat, Pray, Love, here. (2) We visited the Cuban later that day, as well, and was lucky enough to bask in the art of Luis Cruz Azaceta. (3) We also watched Cargo by Kareem J. Mortimer, which, in short, was an incredibly memorable film that takes place against the backdrop of a refugee crisis. (4) A full itinerary can be found below.
I cannot believe there are only 5 days left of 2016 – and I definitely cannot believe that it’s been 23 days since I last posted. (Not such a great track record for a new endeavor, now is it?) I’ve accumulated some photos in the three-week period I’ve spent with Marcus, my trusty Pentax KS2. While I’ve been uploading select photos onto Project 365, here are some of the outtakes form this month-long period that didn’t quite make it to any blog posts.
Before I left Cleveland for winter break, I took some time off after finals to visit the museums around campus. I stopped by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (CMNH) and Cleveland Museum of Art.
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is currently putting on a food exhibit called Our Global Kitchen (here); it centers around food and its cultural influences and impacts. It’s incredibly fascinating, and the museum did a great job building interactive and fun displays. There is also a food kitchen, hosted weekly in conjunction with Whole Foods Market.
I also visited the Cleveland Museum of Art, a place which I’ve photographed extensively already. Though, I must say, with 55,000 sqm of floor space, you’re always discovering new things. The Asian art galleries are my favorite, but I decided to venture to cover the whole gallery and see what new items were up on rotation.
I was not disappointed. I came across the Wade Family Tiffany Jewels (here) in Gallery 221. I also discovered Gallery 301, also known as the Collector’s Cabinet. It sits perched on the third floor, overlooking the Baroque gallery. The gallery space is incredibly tiny, but what it lacks in floor space it makes up for in peace and view.
Wade Park, the greenspace that surrounds the CMA and CMNH is always beautiful during the winter time. The lighting installations look great among the fresh snow we got in Cleveland during the time.
In addition to museum hopping, I spent a lot of time eating! I love photographing food, because the colors offer great contrast. My favorite is when there is movement; I think food is meant to be eaten so I love photographing food that’s half eaten or being eaten. What better way to show that food tastes good than by photographing people eating it, right?
I’ve got to give credit where credit is due, and I must say that Cleveland’s food scene is a solid A+. Most restaurants generally aren’t very expensive, and you get great food for what you pay for. I don’t think I’ve had a bad meal at a restaurant in the 3 years I’ve been in Cleveland.
Upon returning to NYC, I checked out the Ai Weiwei exhibit at Lisson Gallery (read more here). My favorite part is definitely the wallpaper off to the side of the gallery. After speaking with the gallery employee, I learned that Ai Weiwei left little description of the wallpaper, though from the motifs it is clear that he was inspired by recent events in Syria and his time spent with refugees in Greece.
Ai has a wonderful way of combining art with political activism. He famously said, “The purpose of art is the fight for freedom.” This installation is no different. The use of tree trunks collected from Southern China alludes to the Chinese diaspora in the 50’s and 60’s, as well as shows Ai’s tendency to mix the traditional with the modern and contemporary.
The exhibit itself is also a comment on modern society. From the Gallery Press Release, “The iron roots and tree trunks shown in New York are presented in a natural, untreated state, appearing at first glance as organic forms, yet upon closer inspection, reveal their artificiality. Not born of nature but made by human hands, the works, themselves contorted by the surrounding landscape, represent a society uprooted by industrialisation and modernisation, illustrating how progress can often come at the expense of cultural and societal well-being.” (here)
There is so much that can be explored in Ai’s exhibit, too much for this blog post, but perhaps I will write a review on it at a later date. For now, enjoy some more shots taken at the gallery.
All in all, it is great being home. I’m on day 5 of being home, most of which consists of lazing around in my sweet PJs.
In the event that I don’t post in the next week or so, have a happy new year and happy holidays!
Writer’s notes: (1) Ai Weiwei is a well-known Chinese artist and activist. You can learn more about him here. (2) I recently started watching Westworld, and I cannot recommend it enough. If you have access to HBO/HBO Go or have a way of getting access to it, check it out. Read more about Westworld here.