A sanctuary with a touch of Indonesia in Second Life

Suaka, ValiumSL, July 2021 – click any image for full size

Vally Lavender opened the latest iteration of her ValiumSL region to group members at the weekend. Once again designed by Dandy Warhlol (Terry Fotherington), the region this time takes us on a trip to the far east focused on Indonesia, but with hints of the broader region as well as a twist of Africa.

I came across the phrase ‘sacred spaces’ today and realized it is what is being created at ValiumSL, as we speak.
Unfortunately, we all live in a real world that’s both astonishingly beautiful and horrifically cruel, and  having a  “sanctuary” can be as vital as breathing. I have found mine at Suaka and I hope you will feel a sense of peace when you visit here.

– Vally Lavender, describing the creation of the new ValiumsL region design

Suaka, ValiumSL, July 2021

The title of the region – Suaka – is the Indonesian word for sanctuary / haven (and also asylum  or harbourage).  Whichever way you opt to translate it, it amounts to a place of rest and respite. Hence why, in a change from the usual for the region, the setting will not be open the the general public, but remain available only to ValiumSL group members (joining fee L$395).

While I have no wish to see the setting overrun by visitors, given it is intended to be a place of sanctuary and rest, I have to say that it is as near a perfect blend of setting and idea I’ve witnessed.

Suaka, ValiumSL, July 2021

In terms of the design, the general layout is suggestive of a coastal area, a place where an island sits cupped within a shallow bay – shallow enough for an old coaster to have run itself aground and wind up a part of the local scenery. A number of large rock formations rise from the waters add a sense of the broader region – similar outliers and domed islands can be found in the Philippines and along the coasts of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand – all of which embody elements of  Buddhism and Hinduism – elements that can also be found within the setting.

The landing point may be set within a Japanese style structure, but it is a place that fits within the overall theme for the region exceptionally well, with the tribal bells, candles and lanterns very much suggesting a place of retreat and peace.  Similarly, whilst the elephants down on the beach to the north might be from the wrong continent, they nevertheless fit the setting perfectly and add to the sense of tranquillity to be found within it.

Suaka, ValiumSL, July 2021

To offer a step-by-step description of Suaka would be to miss the point: this is a place to be discovered through exploration, as the many settings and places it has to offer each present its own sense of retreat and peace. However, should you opt to visit, do please keep in mind that Vally has a private residence located in the south-west of the region, the surrounding curtains of rock designed to gently enforce the fact that it is not open to the public.

Dandy’s landscaping can be heavy on meshes and unique textures which can in turn have an impact on viewer performance when running with multiple bells and whistles enabled. However, they are always highly photogenic and engaging, making them well worth the time needed to explore and appreciate. And I have to say, with Suaka, he has, with Vally’s help, created something very special and more than worth the group joining fee.

Suaka, ValiumSL, July 2021

My thanks to Vally for the invitation to drop in and explore, and to Shawn for the extra landmark. 

SLurl Details

  • Suaka (ValiumSL, rated Moderate)

Sinners and Saints in Second Life

Sinful Retreat: Sinners and Saints

The Sinful Retreat Sinners and Saints exhibition opens at 12:00 noon SLT on Saturday July 10th, featuring the work of an incredible 50 artists across two regions through until September 2021.

First announced in February 2021 (see: Sinners and saints, a new arts challenge in Second Life), the exhibition is in many respects the spiritual offspring of the great Art Challenges sponsored and hosted by the University of Western Australia and their partners (both in-world and out-world), and organised by FreeWee Ling and Jayjay Zifanwe on behalf of UWA.

In the wake of the UWA Gratitude Art Show back in November which Chuck Clip curated alongside Mariposa Upshaw, we here at Sinful Retreat and Angels Rest decided to carry UWA’s torch onward into the future in the form of occasional themed art shows. Sinners & Saints Art Show is our first show which serves the dual purpose of carrying the aforementioned torch and celebrating the culmination of our first year in Second Life. 

– From the Sinful Retreat team

Sinful Retreat: Sinners and Saints – Morlita Quan

The challenge has been for 2D and 3D artists and poets and writers to submit two pieces, one depicting the side of light (or goodness, or saintliness or The Force, or whatever you might like to call it) and the other the side of “darkness” (or The Dark Side,  or sinfulness or wickedness – again, whatever you prefer to call it). In this, the organisers were keen to emphasize that despite the exhibition’s title, they were not asking artists to think  along purely Christian (or general religious) lines.

Sinful Retreat and Angels Rest are mirrors for each other, highlighting the dichotomy of light and dark in art and humanity as a whole. We thought it appropriate that our first show should reflect that … With submissions from 50 artists and poets from across the grid, and over 20 hours of performances by musicians and DJs, plus poetry and science fiction readings, this show is sure to encapsulate all of us and serve to start some interesting conversations. We cannot wait to gaze deep into the mirror with you.

– From the Sinful Retreat team

The result is an incredibly diverse range of art that is mixed – as noted above – with more than 20 hours of music throughout the event, together with live reading of prose and poetry. The canvas of participating artists could not be broader, featuring name both well-known, and those who many not be so familiar, as well as some those who enjoyed visiting the UWA challenges will likely frin familiar from those exhibitions as well.

Sinful Retreat: Sinners and Saints – Traci Ultsch (l) and Chuck Clip (r)

Just how broad a spectrum of art the theme of the event has provided can be seen in the fact that within the pieces offered, are works that might reflect the nature of human nature – that we can be led by turns by the inner voices of our better angels or our worse demons;  on the broader suffering we can inflect on one another through multiple means, all of which lead to so many displaced and lost people; how our selfishness has led to untenable climate and environmental damage – but has also awakened the need for us to do more to reverse that damage; and more, all mixed with more familiar offerings on the themes of saints / angels and sinning / demons. There are even cosmological pieces drawing on idea of yin and yang, universal balance, and creation and entropy awaiting discovery.

Readings and music will be provided throughout the event, as noted, and the activities for July are now available via the Sinful Retreat website – expect August and September’s activities to be posted at the start of each month.

Sinful Retreat: Sinners and Saints – Meilo Minotaur

Richly diverse, Sinners and Saints will open on July 10th, 2021 with a 3-hour event featuring singers SpiritLed (nnon-13:00 SLT), Semina (13:00-14:00 SLT), and Acoustic Energy (14:00-15:00 SLT).

When visiting, I’d suggest using the local EEP settings and strongly recommend you have Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) enabled in your viewer (Preferences → Graphics → make sure Advanced Lighting Model in checked).  Also note that following the end of the exhibition, selected pieces from Sinners and Satins will be displayed in rotation on Sinful Retreat and Angels Rest.

SLurl Details