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.