If you live in DC, but you’re looking to leave behind the hustle and bustle of the city for a day, think about heading down to Richmond. Richmond is a town full of southern charm (Quite literally. They are home to the Confederate Museum) which offers a wide variety of culture. I spent the day at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. The museum is home to several beautiful art pieces from all across the globe. Two exhibits really caught my attention during my visit: the Himalayan Art exhibit and the Art Deco exhibit.
As I was walking through the Himalayan art exhibit, I was struck by the art portraying many of the same issues which occur today. Many of the issues that the people of India struggled with thousands of years ago, which they memorialized in their art, we continue to struggle with today. Several of the pieces I saw dealt with the emergence of Buddhism, and with it a new way of life in India. I also saw pieces that dealt with the changing role of women in a changing society. The issues of acceptance and the role of women in society are still issues that we face today. If you don’t believe me just listen to the debates that go on everyday on Capitol Hill such as immigration and Equal Pay for Equal Work. I thought it was interesting that these issues have transcended time and space and these issues were important enough to be made into art.
You may ask: what is Art Deco? It is a movement that started in France after World War I as a response to industrialism and the inhumanity of the First World War. The idea behind Art Deco is that each piece of your home ware should be handcrafted and completely unique. This movement strove to heal the wounds and shattered illusions brought about by World War I. This movement is a great reminder that art does not merely exist in an abstract bubble. It can be a response to the needs of society.
After my day at the museum, I headed over to the Strawberry Cafe where I indulged in a delicious wood fired pizza and some sweet tea.
And so ends my day in Richmond. Remember there’s lots more to do than what I did, and it’s just an hour and a half drive down I-95 from Washington DC.
Explore and Enjoy!