Virtual Exhibition

It’s a strange day. The wind is howling down the dry, empty streets of Makhanda (aka Grahamstown). It feels like appropriate weather for the mixture of disappointment and excitement that I am feeling. The live National Arts Festival was to have opened today and we were gearing up to welcome visitors and all the fun of the festival that traditionally fills the streets of the town. Then, with the exponential rising of the third wave of the Corona Virus, all gatherings were cancelled a week ago and South Africa was placed at Alert Level 4.

The industrious and innovative National Arts Festival staff have pulled out all the stops and the Festival is now a virtual experience. Shows are being streamed online as I write. There are also, inter alia, exhibitions, videos, the young artists awards, a jazz festival, online workshops, theatre for young audiences. Click here for the full bouquet.

This means that my exhibition, which was to have been mounted at the Carinus Art Centre as part of the festival fringe, will be photographed and put up on the National Arts Festival (NAF) website (under The Fringe) where it can be seen as a virtual exhibition by anyone with an internet connection (and a computer or smartphone, of course.) As soon as it has been captured and put online I will post the link.

It is most generous of them to not only offer to professionally capture my work, but also to have provided an exhibition space in which to hang the exhibition. Thank you National Arts Festival team.

It’s been a busy week. With the help of The Woodworker and my good friend Karen Davies, we hung the exhibition on Tuesday morning. By Sunday I still had two quilts to finish (won’t tell you which ones they are!) and all the background work to do. It took all of Monday to get the quilts hang-ready and to finish off the incomplete pieces. I am not sure how a quilter who does not have a Woodworker would manage. With perfect precision he makes the lathes that are inserted into the quilt sleeves, so that the works hang straight and true. And a quilter also needs a good quilting friend with a good eye and a calm demeanour if she wants to mount an exhibition. Thank you more than twice over.

Before I add more photographs to give a closer view of the exhibition, here is a short musing on the word virtual. Not too many years back I would have said “virtual means almost, doesn’t it?” Not quite. Even before virtual came to mean online, it had an other worldly meaning. It’s closely connected to the word virtue. The Oxford English Dictionary entry says:

3. Capable of producing a certain effect or result, effective, potent, powerful… 4. That is so in essence or effect, although not recognised formally, actually, or by strict definition as such; almost absolute.

Rather confusing — as is the virtual world for the uninitiated. But is is also very exciting to live in this “almost absolute” time. Here follows a clockwise tour of the exhibition.

39 thoughts on “Virtual Exhibition

  1. How disappointing to miss the camaraderie and fun that goes along with a live show. I’m so sorry to hear this. On the other hand, I’m delighted that I get to see your exhibit! It looks just lovely. So many amazing pieces. Congratulations!


      1. Yes, there is that feeling of: look, there is coherence in my artistic vision, I am saying something, and every work reflects that in some way. (At least that is what I feel when I have set up my booth at art fairs over the years, each time, it is funny how the thought recurs each time). And I think each piece reinforces the ones around it. A ripple effect.


  2. I know the disappointment runs deep – but even in the empty gallery, you work shines Mariss. No doubt you will be asked to show again next year.
    BTW: I notice the lotus piece is making an appearance! Nice!
    Can’t wait to click the link to the virtual exhibition, I wait with much expectation.
    Oh and, thank you for introducing me to Guy Buttery. If not for clicking for the ‘full bouquet’ I never would have discovered his music!
    Stay safe, friend, word has it that South Africa’s surge is more deadly than ever…


    1. Oh that’s a lovely compliment — that the work shines, despite the incomplete lighting and my unprofessional photographs. Thank you. I am rather found of that lotus piece.
      I am so glad you found and like Guy Buttery’s music. We have seen him live quite a few times. I have also found that his music is good to stitch to (not in the auditorium (ha ha) but on my couch with a cd playing).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! This looks absolutely brilliant Mariss! In so many ways. What an incredible achievement, all the more so for the current circumstances. I hope its a huge success. Wish I could see them in the flesh.


  4. Ah…. stunning Mazzie! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Beautiful pieces, beautifully presented.

    All best for many virtual visitors 💛💛💛


  5. What a pity that the live exhibition was cancelled. I am going to have a look though when you get the link!
    We had a huge lifting of restrictions 2 weeks ago and over the past week the number of cases increased 10-fold… We’re probably looking at new restrictions soon. Super frustrating.


      1. Yup… it’ll go on for a while still I’m afraid. Too many countries with low vaccination rates and too many opportunities for new variants to pop up and wreck havoc. We were doing soooo well in The Netherlands until a week or so ago. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the globe in many different ways. So sorry your in person exhibit isn’t happening, but for someone like me who would never be able to see it in person, it’s good to be able to see it online. Not the same, though, I know. One can’t fully appreciate the details, especially the hand stitching! Beautiful! A lovely way to start my day!


  7. Exquisite and joyful work. Thank you so much for sharing, as I enjoyed seeing this. I’m sorry for the disappointment and for the surge, it is a shame when people have put in such much work. The exhibition definitely deserves a professional photographer as you have said.


  8. i like the ones on dark backgrounds with gold and flowers. So colourful with a lot of life/movement. And the dear little houses.


  9. I’m sorry, I’ve got behind again with bloggers and their posts – and yours in particular. I hate the idea that covid caused the festival to be cancelled but admire that the organisers managed to find a virtual way – love seeing your pieces on the walls that you’ve been able to create …


  10. Wow Mariss – amazing! I may have already commented but cannot find my comment. Your work is breathtaking! You could make the smaller pieces into prints and sell them! Wish I could have seen this amazing exhibit in person :-). You’ve done very well with your art since retiring (I remember your post a while back when you went to full time artist!)


    1. Oh thank you Tierney for your enthusiastic support and for remembering my decision to retire early and become a full-time artist. It was a bit of a boast and scary at the time, but I am so glad and grateful that I took the step. (Nudge nudge, wink wink — if you know what I mean!)

      Liked by 1 person

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