Buffalo – Emma Beier



         During Project Week, I participated in Fighting For Our Lives: Surviving a Modern Day Plague. In my group, we examined the AIDS epidemic through the perspective of doctors and survivors. As part of our study, we visited the Art AIDS America exhibition, which consisted of pieces surrounding HIV. During our tour, we saw multiple works that illustrated buffalo. When asked about these pieces, our tour guide told us that artists use buffalo as a symbol for AIDS victims. He explained that similar to buffalo, who were hunted to near extinction in the 1800s without protection, AIDS patients during the epidemic were left to die with little support from the government. When I heard this, I was really moved. I felt that the symbolism made a powerful statement. Around this time, our class started the 100 Project. After visiting the exhibit, I decided to create a buffalo head with hospital wristbands attached as the hair to further the relationship between the AIDS epidemic and my piece.

           After watching YouTube videos, I began shaping pieces of newspaper to create the general form of the buffalo’s head. First, I folded a stack of papers into a diamond to create the bust of the buffalo. From there, I crushed newspapers into a large oval that would serve as the upper and middle third of the animal’s face. I then attached the oval to the middle of the diamond. Next, I rolled a stack of newspaper into the shape of the buffalo’s nose and mouth and secured the papers to the oval. Once doing so, I added crumpled balls of newspaper around the oval to make the buffalo appear larger. From there, I coated the head with a few rolls of wet plaster gauze to secure the newspaper into place and develop a smoother surface. I then folded two pieces of tin foil into the shape of horns and attached them using wet plaster gauze. The horns were the most difficult feature to create and required many alterations and much attention. Next, Ms. Kerrigan and I added detail to the buffalo’s face using plaster, enlarging the forehead and nose, as well as developing the eye sockets, nostrils, and lips. After letting the plaster dry overnight, I began trimming the hospital wristbands and attaching them under the buffalo’s nose and mouth with hot glue. I then glued scraps of the wristbands I cut around the horns to create a simple and smooth appearance. From there, I assembled the wristbands and attached them with hot glue to the back of the buffalo’s neck and head with the identification label facing out. Next, I created a crimped pattern along a few wristbands and glued them to the nose. Additionally, I trimmed some of the identification tags into smaller pieces and glued them around the nostrils and mouth of the buffalo. Lastly, to finish the project, I curled wristbands into small circles and secured them to the forehead.When determining how to use the identification bands, I always referred to an image of a real buffalo, with the hope of accurately recreating the texture of the buffalo’s hair.

           Although I have found all of our projects challenging, I have always chosen to create pieces that were within my comfort level. However, I felt so strongly about my inspiration for the 100 Project, that I decided to take a risk and push myself. While I built the buffalo head, I encountered many obstacles when materials were not working as I had hoped. Despite these challenges and with the help of Ms. Kerrigan, I ultimately created a sculpture that I was proud of. Through this project, I came to realize that pushing myself is not something I should be afraid of but is something I should be excited to do. In the future, I hope to continue to try projects that force me to put in the extra effort and overcome challenges. #Project Week #Buffalo #Wristbands #100 Project #Plaster Sculpture

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