Anisha K. '21

For my final project, I chose to make a projection of remakes of artworks we learned about throughout the year. I chose artworks that had symbolism specific to hands and created silhouettes and backgrounds for the 5 works I chose. I used my prior knowledge and experience with Photoshop to recreate these images and make them into new works of art. I then created a homemade projector with shoe boxes, a magnifying glass and some tape and then uploaded my artwork to my phone to be projected through my shoebox projector. This work was inspired by Kara Walker's Darkytown Rebellion which used silhouettes and color through a projector to display her work and ideas. In my work, the use of silhouettes in place of detailed figures is meant to emphasize anonymity. I want the viewer to think the artwork could represent or apply to anyone, regardless of race, sex, class or any other categories that could be highlighted or implied from making the scene detailed and individualized. The focus of hands also emphasizes that the scene could be of anyone because their bodies or external objects cannot influence the viewer. I chose rainbow backgrounds to support my theme of inclusivity as the rainbow has all the colors.

My first image is of God creating Adam by Michelangelo from the Sistine Chapel. The silhouette of the hands takes away from what makes this scene so significant. The hands alone show someone helping another but the significance of God and importance of men is diminished. Today, more people than ever are not religious and the traditional roles of women are being questioned. In this religious scene, the powerful figures are men. My recreation embodies this piece in a modern context. Life and hope can come from anyone and be given to anyone.

My second piece is the Arnolfini Portrait by Jan Van Eyck. In the original, the husband is showing support for his wife by carrying her hand. With my recreation, I wanted to show that either partner in the relationship could support the other. The anonymity also makes the viewer wonder what the context is and who the people are. This is meant to convey that anyone can support anyone and there should be no boundaries holding someone back.

The third work is the only one with a white background. Vermeer’s Woman Holding a Balance symbolizes being evaluated and balanced. The mysterious hand, scale and white background represent a clean slate, purity and balance. Originally, the painting had religious context, but taking that away shows that someone can be pure and clean without being religious.

The next work I chose was inspired by Todai-ji in Japan. I created my own digital mandala with colors that represented unity and peace in Tibetan and Buddhist culture. This array of colors speaks to my theme as well as the Buddha. I placed a recreation I made of the Buddha’s hand in the center of the mandala as a symbol of peace, creation and center, letting the viewer know again, this power can lie in them and in anyone.

The last piece I chose was inspired by the Ndop sculpture from the Democratic Republic of Congo. On one of the sculptures, a severed hand is depicted on top of a drum that was often covered in geometric designs and patterns. Geometric patterns were often custom on these sculptures, and so I digitally recreated my own background inspired by this tradition. I again used a rainbow color palate to follow my theme of inclusivity. The severed hand was a symbol that made the Ndop unique, and I used it to symbolize the opposite; this could be a common hand belonging to anyone.

I wanted to recreate each of these very different works to show how today, as the world and people are changing, so is the significance and symbols in sacred art. While some art separated people and highlighted differences, I wanted my take to highlight the importance of unity and how we can work to stop alienating people.