A Dickens of an art display in Second Life

The Dickens Project: Invitational Art Show – CybleMoon and Silas Merlin

The Dickens Project 2020 Edition enters Christmas week with two art exhibitions for visitors to appreciate. Each is located in a different part of the Project’s Victorian townscape, offering those who visit the opportunity to explore the streets and discover more of what the Project has to offer this year.

Located in the church sitting to one side of Dickens Square, the Project’s main landing point, is the Open Art Exhibition, featuring artists who accepted the Project’s invitation to display one or two pieces of art that have created on a Victorian Christmas / Dickensian theme.

The Dickens Project: Open Art Show – VanessaJane68 and Jezzamine2108

In  all, seven artists responded to the invitation, and between them they offer an engaging series of images on the themes. The artists are: Jessamine2108, VanessaJane66, Stevie Morane Basevi, Dawn Greymyst, Banshee Heartsong, Evelyn Held and Vita Theas.

Together their images capture the spirit of The  Dickens Project Past (e.g. Evelyn Held: A View From Dickens Harbour Lighthouse, Jessamine2108: Dickens Harbour), images with a decidedly Victorian feel (VanessaJane68 with Christmas Hall and Tower Lane; Dawn Greymyst: Holiday Preparation), and others with a clear Dickens influence (e.g. Vita Theas: Kids, Evelyn Held, Magic of Christmas Past).

The Dickens Project: The open Art Show – Evelyn Held

All of the pieces are evocative of the period they represent and the Dickens Project theme.

Off to the east side of the town, and between the clock tower and the harbour, sits a warehouse that is home to the Invitational Art Show. Open since the event started (the Open Art exhibition having opened its doors on Friday, December 18th), the participating artists for this exhibition comprise CyebelMoon, Iris Okiddo, Silas Merlin and … Yours Truly. Again, the overarching theme is of reflecting, Dickens, Victorian England and the Dickens project.

The Dickens Project: Invitational Art Show – CybeleMoon

Both Cybele and Iris offer evocative (as always!) pieces, that richly reflect these themes. Within Cybele’s pieces,  entitled Winter Solitudes are a set of marvellous captures of past Dickens Project scenes, beautifully processed such that each encompasses its own story that captures both the romance of Victorian Christmases, and the settings found through The Dickens Project.

Iris, meanwhile, presents her own take on A Christmas Carol, presenting eight images  in which she takes on the role of Ebeniris Scrooge and offers her interpretation of some of the damous scenes from the story. Thus we see her sitting miserly in her cold house, walking with the Ghost of Christmas Present, revisiting her lonely past, glimpsing a possible future, embracing a happier, brighter future (with, I think I’m correct in saying, Skippy Beresford getting a co-starring role), and more; all of the images again richly presented for our enjoyment.

The Dickens Project: Invitational Art Show – Iris Okiddo

Silas offers sculptures both indirectly and directly connected to the Victorian / Dickensian era, including barefooted street urchins, Oliver Twist, and a bust of Charles Babbage. For my part, I’ve offered a series looking back over The Dickens Project builds between 2015 and 2020.

Two engaging exhibitions in a setting that offers much to see and do – see my preview of this year’s Edition of the Project for more on the event.

The Dickens Project: Invitational Arts show – Silas Merlin

Links and SLurls

Note that The Dickens Project regions are rated Moderate. Note that SLurls will be available for use from 07:00 SLT on Friday, December 4th.

A little Swedish inspiration in Second Life

Snoweeta, December 2020

Sitting within a homestead region deep in snow, lays Snoweeta, a charming winter build that is engaging in its simplicity of presentation. Designed by Kaja Ashland, it offers people a little hint of Sweden, specifically taking as its inspiration the southern most county (or län) of Skåne; a place that is a relatively new county within Sweden, having been formed in 1997 – although it is named for the much older historical province of Skåne, from which it takes its coat of arms.

Whether or not Kaja has based the setting on an actual location within Skåne is open to her to tell. However, while it appears to sit on the road linking the small Baltic townships of Ystad and Simrishamn, it is perhaps not where this snowbound setting might actually be that is important, but rather the stories waiting to be found beneath the pale evening sky.

Snoweeta, December 2020

Central to these tales is the farm house sitting at the end of the long drive leading away from the road, the lane forming the region’s landing point. Lit from within, the house offers a sense of warmth and welcome, with the dining table set for dinner – but is it a family dinner, or are visitors anticipated for a gathering of friends? And who uses the garage alongside the main house, converted as it is into a cosy snug, warmed by a log stove? Is it a little work space for readying plants for the garden when spring arrives, or a teenager’s place to get away from Mum and Dad for a while?

Beyond the house are more vignettes around which stories might be woven: just how did the tractor, a vehicle designed for operating over rough ground and muddy fields come to be bogged down whilst returning to the farm? And who is responsible for the boars gathered under the false shelter of the bare tree caught in its own little snowstorm? Are they a part of the farm or wild residents of the area?

Snoweeta, December 2020

Those who prefer not to contemplate such question can instead snuggle up on the benches in the farm’s garden or inside the house or the cosy garage. Or, if preferred, a walk can be taken over the snowy field to where a low hill offers a retreat for trees within the farmlands, its top crowned by a little camp site. Here, a boiling kettle suspended over the flames of a fire, invites people to stop awhile and sup, while down the far slope of the hill is a frozen pond, prompting questions of skating and outdoor fun – although I wouldn’t recommend trying; the pond is beyond the edge of the region.

How far this place might be from either Ystad or Simrishamn is unclear, but the presence of a police car parked on the road’s shoulder (again, beyond the region’s edge) leaves one wondering what has happened to attract the attention of law enforcement – and whether the occupants of the patrol car are sitting in its relative warmth awaiting the arrival of Henning Mankell’s dour-faced Inspector Kurt Wallander,  who might yet be driving his Volvo down the road from Ystad, where he both lives and works.

Snoweeta, December 2020

Simple and attractive in its design, Snoweeta offers an attractively different winter-themed visit.

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