“An Experience: The Core Curriculum's Universe”
- In Literature Humanities we read fragments of Sappho’s poetry, pieces that are ultimately sad and rejoiceful of love and in Art Humanities we study Michelangelo’s Pieta. Pieta in Violet is a connection of Sappho’s sentiment and violet imagery with Michelangelo’s Pieta which expresses Mary’s deep sorrow over the death of Jesus ultimately because of the love she feels for him.
- Dante’s Inferno is a glimpse into eternal perdition. In the second ring of the seventh circle, we find those who have committed the sin of violence against oneself transformed into trees so they may never hurt themselves again. My family has a long history of mental illnesses, and my closest family member—my older sister—has personally struggled with multiple suicide attempts and this scene in Inferno could not help but resonate profoundly with me.
- I took Frontiers of Science during the fall, and I thought it was amazing to learn about the brain, ecology and other topics that I personally would have never studied on my own. I also took Art Humanities and learning about the art of the Sistine Chapel was a highlight. I saw a connection between our reading of the Bible in Literature Humanities, Frontiers of Science and Art Humanities through Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam. This piece has a brain instead of God reaching to Adam to implicitly show Michelangelo’s subtle intention and hint to our section of the Mind and Brain in Frontiers of Science. On the background there is a starry sky and formulas, paying tribute to the Astrophysics section we covered in Frontiers of Science.
- Macbeth in Red stress culture at Columbia: Macbeth is driven mad by the crown and his own paranoia. I decided to include Macbeth because I felt his experience after obtaining the crown drew an exaggerated parallel of the stress culture and competitiveness that I have experienced in Columbia. Ultimately, just like Macbeth’s paranoia is his downfall, the stress culture at Columbia is deteriorating its students more than helping them succeed.
- Picasso’s Guernica is perhaps my favorite Art Humanities piece. Guernica is a city that was severely affected by the Spanish Civil War, and Picasso’s masterpiece is one that speaks volumes about the atrocities of war. Similarly, in Literature Humanities we talked about The Iliad containing an anti-war theme. In this piece, which I called Ilion, I depict the Iliad using Picasso’s style in Guernica. In a careful review, you may spot Achilles holding Patroclus, the floating heads of the gods, Zeus’ eye, and much more.
- Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote was an amazing read which I loved deeply. Quixote’s attempt at romanticizing his own life with tales of knighthood reminded of Warhol’s often successful popularization of common items and of the taboo. In a piece, I called Shot Windmills (in tribute to Warhol’s own piece: Shot Marilyns) Quixote’s own altered view of reality is presented visually with Warhol’s style.
- Because of Art Humanities, I had the opportunity to visit many museums in which I could appreciate the multiple ways in which ancient Greek and Roman people would express themselves beyond the literature we read in Literature Humanities. I decided to display The Odyssey in such ancient art style, because, much like Odysseus who had a life-changing journey, my freshman college year is only the beginning of my own journey.
- The Christian religion was a very common theme in our Literature Humanities books, and as someone non-religious I loved John Milton’s Paradise Lost as well as Augustine’s journey in Confessions. Although they are completely different stories, they spoke a lot to me because of the different approaches they had of religion; especially because I grew up in a place where questioning religion and speaking about it so freely was sinful. I decided to connect both books in a picture depicting Satan, disguised as a snake, approaching a pear in recognition of Augustine’s life-changing experience with the pear tree.
- Ovid had many stories which were extremely gratifying to read. However, Daphne’s story stood out. Her story is easily one of sexual assault and consent. I was born and raised in Honduras, a country that has some of the highest gender-based violence rates in the world, but the importance of understanding consent did not reach me until starting my college career. Daphne’s story is one that represents the current climate and the importance of consent, something Apollo did not understand.
- Michel Montaigne’s essays are nothing but an attempt at a description of himself and his own thoughts. As my first year is ending, I have realized that since the beginning I have questioned more and given more consideration to who I am, who I want to be, and my place on Earth than I ever have before. Montaigne’s self-reflection is a reminder that it is okay to figure it out as you go or—in his case—as you write, so for this piece I created a self-portrait of myself in Montaigne’s clothes, reflecting the cover of the book.
In my favorite book, Eleanor—an astrophysicist—contacts an alien civilization that instructs humans to build a dodecahedron shaped ship. For some reason, the dodecahedron as described in Carl Sagan’s Contact stuck with me and so I went on to read about another guy who wrote about dodecahedrons: Plato. Plato talks about five platonic solids of perfect symmetry. The first four solids he describes symbolize the elements the Greeks thought made the world: earth, water, fire, and air. While the fifth solid is described as the element of the heavens—the shape of the universe. For the Core Scholars program, I have chosen to make a physical dodecahedron to present my core reflections. A dodecahedron has 12 regular pentagonal faces, my dodecahedron uses 2 faces as bases and the remaining 10 faces as a space to present my artistic interpretation of my core reflection. The piece itself is 10 inches tall and across; the pentagonal faces are approximately 4 inches each side. As a sculpture, I thought it would be most adequate to submit a video, I am not a great video editor though and please contact me if you would need to see it in real life. I will describe in the written work section of this submission what each face means because the descriptions do not fit here.
About the Scholar: Maria Teresa Tomé Armijo
Maria Teresa Tome (CC’22) was born and raised in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. She is a John Jay Scholar considering majoring in Computer Science with a concentration in Statistics. Teresa plays intramural volleyball in her spare time and is a member of Alianza, part of the Ferris Reel Film Society and the Association of Women in Math e-board.