Now open at the Men in Focus Gallery, curated by JMB Balogh is the 2019 Men in Motion exhibition, sponsored by the Men in Motion dance troupe. The exhibition is specifically in support of the Movember Foundation, and furthers the gallery’s aim to both promote and feature photography at work or play in SL by male artists.
I was offered the opportunity to preview the Gallery’s opening event in November 2018, which also featured a Men in Motion exhibition (see Previewing Men in Focus in Second Life) – and I offer both Jo and the Men in Motion team my tardiness in getting to this year’s Men in Motion exhibition a little on the late side given the 2019 Movember fund-raiser by Men in Motion officially runs from November 1st through to November 11th – although the exhibition at the gallery will, I believe, run for longer.
While the gallery’s primary focus is on 2D art, as with 2018, this year’s Men in Motion draws on artists working in both 2D and 3D art:
- 2D artists: Migan Forder, KidJoe Resident, Aco Watanabe and Ashraf Rathmullah, along with Men In Motion members Fafnir Kiranov, Antonio Avtovio, Sebastian Bourne and Alex Avion, who have their art displayed on the upper two levels of the gallery.
- 3D artists: Mistero Hifeng, Toysoldier Thor, Haveit Neox and Silas Merlin.
I confess that the four invited artists are all men whose work I have not knowingly encountered before, so my visit to this exhibition was educational; and I have to say, their work is both stunning and powerful. All have the ability to tell a story with their images, and quite marvellously so.
I was immediately captivated by KidJoe’s pieces along the back wall of the gallery’s ground floor, notably In the Dark, which is both rich in its expression and narrative and – very personally, brought to mind the Priors of Stargate SG-1, despite the robes being the wrong colour. However, perhaps the most evocative image among KidJoe’s works offered here is The Terror was called jack, which is just startling in its depth and life.
Aco Wantanabe and Migan Forder, both invite us to join them on their adventures through Second Life – and I was again particularly drawn to three of Migan’s pieces – Just Breath, Last Man Standing and Destiny – due to the incredible richness of narrative all three enfold. Aco’s work, meanwhile, wonderful mixes Japanese themes and fantasy in studies of a young mane travelling through Second Life
Above them, Ashraf Rathmullah presents an enticing mix of what might be regarded as more “traditional” – but nonetheless attention grabbing – avatar studies mixed with narrative pieces to off a richly mixed display of art that both stands on its own and leads nicely into the Men in Motion displays on the floors above.
The 3D artists’ work is neatly spaced between the different floors of the gallery, allowing it to be enjoyed alongside 2D art. Some of the pieces will likely be familiar to those who particularly enjoy Mistero’s and Silas’s work (we actually have The artist in a bubble on display at home). While Toysoldier offers some quirky characters guaranteed to raise a smile, while Haveit’s is always captivating to witness.
About the Movember Foundation
The Movember Foundation is a multinational charity raising awareness of, and money for, men’s health and welfare, with a focus on cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. Its titular and widely known campaign is Movember, which encourages men to grow moustaches during the month of November. The foundation partners annually with the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride to also raise money for men’s health.
Founded in 2003, in Melbourne, Australia by Adam Garone, Travis Garone, Luke Slattery, and Justin Coghlan, the organisation attained registered charity status in 2006, and as of 2014, has raised over US $580m in charitable donations used to fund more than 800 programmes focusing on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health, men’s health awareness and healthy lifestyles. It is active in 21 countries and has a global workforce of 130 people. In addition, Movember coincides with International Men’s Day (November 19th), which among its aims, shares the goal of promoting the health and well-being of men and boys.