An avatar’s story in Second Life

i.avatar - Dathúil Gallery
i.avatar – Dathúil Gallery

Opening at 13:00 SLT on Sunday, January 3rd, is the first in the 2016 season of exhibitions at the ever marvellous Dathúil Gallery, operated by Max Butoh and Lυcy (LucyDiam0nd), and it is a another fascinating show.

i.avatar presents 34 images by Io Bechir which might be described as avatar studies – but this would also fall far short of the mark; i.avatar is a deeply autobiographical piece, the story of Io’s experiences as an avatar and a person in Second Life.

i.avatar - Dathúil Gallery
i.avatar – Dathúil Gallery

“My hope is to communicate my impressions with regard to my experiences here over the past three years,” Io states in her exhibition notes.

“During this time period I fell in love. I met some amazing and wonderful friends. I suffered a broken heart. I came to realise my own strength. I took up sailing. I found my voice as an artist, and discovered new ways to express my Self in this limitless space of ethereal light and imagination. Probably, many of the same experiences you have had.”

So it is, for example, that the images are placed almost as chapters within a book. To one side of the ground floor of the gallery, for example, is a series of images of Imogen, of whom Io notes, “If you know me for a time you will eventually encounter Imogen. She represents a slightly different facet of my personality. You’ll probably notice small changes in me when I’m manifesting in this form.”

i.avatar – Dathúil Gallery

Facing these from across the gallery are a set of images, representing a time when Io was facing the end of a relationship, the darker tones and framing reflective of the emotions  she doubtless encountered during that period.

And this is where the power of these images lie; these are not pictures posed for the benefit of an audience; they are images created to express deeply personal feelings, responses, needs, and emotions.  They are a very personal exposure of Self and the discovery of who “Io Bechir” really is within; hence why, perhaps many of the images are of Io unclothed – a physical reflection of her baring her soul.

i.avatar - Dathúil Gallery
i.avatar – Dathúil Gallery

I never fail to be stunned at the quality of the art displayed at Dathúil; each and every month seems to build upon and exceed the last in terms of my response to the art displayed here, and I’m constantly left in awe of the skill Lucy and Max exhibit in selecting the artists they display here. However, with Io, who is presenting her work here as her first solo exhibition, I have to confess I feel they’ve achieved something very special; the autobiographical narrative in the selected pieces is quite extraordinary;  I’m sure you will find so as well. And don’t miss Io’s Flickr stream.

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