Art: A Language Understood by all Nations

Art is an unspoken language. It has the ability to convey emotion and meaning that is understood and interpreted by all human beings, each in their own unique way. Art is an outlet for the soul, an escape from the mundane, and is one of the foundations to nurture the human connection.

My two days in Oslo, Norway, have been an incredible experience. In contrast to Copenhagen, Oslo has a more laid-back city atmosphere: intertwined with nature, Oslo is less busy, less noisy, and very peaceful. It’s modern appearance is striking and artistic, yet made intimate through its furnishing. While walking the city streets, I passed many outdoor dining areas with candle-lit tables, heat lamps, and seating adorned with fluffy pillows and sheepskin hides.

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(Just a glimpse of the many trendy diners in Oslo. Photo credit goes to my lovely roommate, Carly Seefeldt).

The people are kind and the city is charming: I wish I had more than just two short days to spend here. I know that when I leave, I will deeply miss Oslo.

During my two days in Oslo, I was fortunate to visit two major art museums within the city: the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Norway.

 (Walking up towards Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, located right on the water).

My whole life, I have walked an artistic path: it is one of my defining traits. As a child, I would paint on the bark of the trees in my backyard, cover every inch of concrete around my house with chalk, and fill coloring books and sketch books to the very last page. My mother, an artist herself, would often sit and color in the coloring books with me, guiding me and teaching me techniques. While in high school, I was a member of the marching band and the symphony, as well as a student in my school’s two-year advanced placement art program. Now, as a college student, I have chosen to  embrace my artistic side into my career and complete a minor in Studio Art: it is an indescribably wonderful feeling to wake up each day and work towards something I am so deeply passionate about.

(One of my favorite watercolor paintings I completed in high school. Many people says it looks like a self portrait, but when I painted this I didn’t base her off any existing person, I just imagined her in my mind).

My love and passion for art has been nurtured within me since I was young; because of this, when I learned we would be visiting two major art museums, I was thrilled.

Seeing works by artists such as Claude Monet, Pablo Piscasso, Edvard Munch, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol, was an experience that made chills spread across my body. Having studied these artists throughout my high school and college education, only seeing images in books or online, it was almost unreal to be truly present infront of their original works, created with their own hands.

(The Scream, Edvard Munch, 1893)
(Poor Couple in a Café, Pablo Picasso, 1903)

(Prints from his Campbell Soup Series, Andy Warhol, 1962)

I stood infront of each work, observing the organic texture and dimension of the brush stokes hidden within each painting: this was something never visible through a mere image online.

Art is a form of communication: it speaks to all of us in different and unique ways without having to utter a single word. Being in a foreign country has put me in the unique position of trying to function in a world where I cannot always understand the language or the writing (and to be honest, its actually pretty fun!).

Art continually shows me that it is powerful enough to break barriers and connect all human beings together, regardless of their primary language.(An interactive chalk board inside Norway’s National Gallery, asking people to write their statement with chalk. If you look closely you can see some of my classmate’s names and “Go Pack Go” in the bottom right corner).

As I walked through the museums I was surrounded by people who spoke a variety of different languages. Although I could not easily communicate with every person inside, there was a power within the museum’s walls that could.

Art is that power.

(“Live with open eyes and mind” is my statement).
Oslo, thank you for sharing your wonderful art with me.

Until next time,

Ashley

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