Noble people and beautiful places remembered in Second Life

Nico Vichan: American Nobility - Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015
Nico Vichan: American Nobility – Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015

I’ve long admired and enjoyed the art and photography of both Nino Vichan and WuWai Chun. so given both currently have exhibitions being hosted at the Sabra Art Gallery, operated and curated by Kylie Sabra, I took the opportunity to hop over and tour both.

American Nobility, Nino’s exhibit, is a beautiful and powerful series of images of Native Americans, offering both a homage to their history and something of a reminder of their harsh treatment.

Nico Vichan: American Nobility - Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015
Nico Vichan: American Nobility – Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015

Walk through the two chambers displaying Nino’s work, and you’ll meet proud and dignified individuals, previously captured in images from a bygone era, and here given a new lease of life by Nino. Some you may recognise, such as Sitting Bull, in a familiar pose with his peace pipe in one hand. Other may not be so familiar, such as Running Rabbit, immortalised in a 1900 black-and-white postcard for the edification of “civilised” people. All have, however, been captured in images  – mostly monochrome or sepia, and have here been given new life through Nino’s eyes and hands.

“This exhibition,” Nino states, “presents the contrast between the dignity and spirituality of the indigenous people of the North American continent and the genocide of these and other indigenous people throughout the world.”

Nico Vichan: American Nobility - Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015
Nico Vichan: American Nobility – Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015

All of these images are striking in their own way; but the all have one thing very much in common: the look in their eyes.

It is often said the the eyes are the windows of the soul; and in these images, Nino has powerfully captured this There is a deep dignity evident in the eyes of his subjects – very powerfully so. In fact, Nino told him it was the eyes of his subjects, as captured in images by others, which drew him to portray them himself.

Such is the life Nino has breathed into these images that it is almost impossible not to find yourself drawn to the eyes as well; there is very definitely a sense of nobility and wisdom to be found within them. I challenge anyone not to stand before his interpretation of Wife of Madoc Henry – Klamath (seen in the image headlining this article) and not be captivated by her eyes. And when you’ve done so, go back and look again at each of the paintings in turn.

And don’t be surprised if you hear the distant whisperings of the Great Spirit.

WuWai Chun: Places - Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015
WuWai Chun: Places – Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015

Places is WuWai Chun’s latest collection of images captured from around Second Life and presented in her own unique and utterly captivating style.

“There are many beautiful places in second life,” WuWai says. “Some of the places in the pictures no longer exist, others have changed. The pictures are an expression of my perspective and mood of the places. Just as art is in the eye of the beholder, the creations of the SL-builders can be perceived from a personal and own point of view. I did this with the help of the windlight settings in the Firestorm viewer as well as the possibilities of image processing.”

WuWai Chun: Places - Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015
WuWai Chun: Places – Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015

The result is a beautiful series of images that capture some famous (and perhaps not-so-famous) sites from within Second Life, offered in a remarkable range of styles and finishes – so much so, that one could be forgiven for thinking the exhibit features the work of more than one artist.

These are images that evoke strong feelings of wanting and longing – wanting to visit those we’ve not previously witnessed and are still available, and longing to see again those we have visited in the past, but which are now no more.

Proceeds from the sale of any copies of WuWai’s images will be donated to Feed A Smile, the in-world charity arm of Live and Learn in Kenya (LLK), making this exhibit doubly worthwhile visiting. And don’t forget you can also find WuWai’s work on her Flickr feed.

WuWai Chun: Places - Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015
WuWai Chun: Places – Sabra Art Gallery, May 2015

And while there, do please visit the other sections of the Sabra Art Gallery, all are very worthwhile seeing; and consider making a donation to help towards meeting on-going running costs.

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