Some aspects of this assignment were more difficult than almost any other I have undertaken OCA course, I think the difficulties were mostly related to the requirement to study and annotate works of art that I was unable to visit. I find it much more satisfying to be able to see the pieces at first hand rather than having to work from a photograph or other image. As I have noted in a couple of my annotations, colour reproduction can be critical to the analysis of an image yet, in some instances, can be very poor. Without being able to see the original, the student has no idea how accurate colour reproduction is, or in many cases, is not.
Nevertheless, I have enjoyed this part of the course and have learnt a great deal from it. My knowledge of Eastern arts and traditions, prior to this course, was extremely limited. I have now undertaken a lot more research and reading around the subjects and feel that I have added considerably to my knowledge of the topic.
One thing that was brought home to me in one of the annotations was the idea of “what is art”. I discussed this in my annotation of the Dan Mask. I found it stimulating to consider to what extent an aesthetic judgement can be made on an African mask when that item was produced, not for aesthetic appeal, but as part of a spiritual belief system. One can, from our Western eyes, pass judgement on the artistic merits of such a piece, but in this way are we not imposing our own value judgements onto an item that was made for entirely different purposes.
I think I am developing my critical and evaluation skills, particularly in the annotations, I feel much more comfortable in producing these now than I did at the start of the course. I hope that this is now evident in the quality of the work that I am producing.
I do enjoy a great deal discovering new things, researching in depth, and adding to my knowledge of the subject. I believe that the scope of my research for each of the areas in this assignment has been thorough and has widened my knowledge base considerably.