November 25th marked the opening of a new exhibition at the Kondor Art Centre, curated by Hermes Kondor, of a themed selection of images and words by Lika Cameo (LikaCameo) that is utterly extraordinary in its presentation of art, introspection / reflection and in its presentation style.
One Thousand Wings takes as its foundation, the major part of a quote from Virginia Woolf:
[Lock up your libraries if you like;] but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.
– Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
Within that essay – the result of two lectures she delivered in October 1928 to the women’s constituent colleges of Newnham and Girton at Cambridge University, England – Woolf sought to explore social injustices and comment on women’s lack of free expression that existed at the time. This quote is joined by a verse by artist Erin Hanson:
There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?
– Erin Hanson
While there are some core against various views Woolf expresses within that essay, Lika uses the quote from her essay, and the words by Hanson to explore what it means to freely express emotions in a century that has started to feel as if our freedoms are being increasingly being constrained by intolerance and when life has been constrained by a global pandemic, complete with a layering of what freedom means to her.
In doing this, Lika presents trios of avatar studies, all utilising the same pose and with a motif of wings, each piece finished individual to its partners. This approach leads to three images that, whilst all identical in terms of posing and motif, offer three pieces that offer a vastly different sense of depth, focus and emotions.
Accompanying them is a piece of prose / blank verse (by either Lika or possibly Zakk Bifrandt, it’s not entirely clear) that offers an outlook / sense of emotion or thought that works to both complement and compliment the images.
Complement, because the text can be taken as a whole with each version of the image and the trio as a whole, forming pairings with each image, working with the subtle differences in presentation and finish to tell a unique story of reflection / emotion. Compliment, because whether taken as pairings or as set of four panels, they together form a whole, works balancing image(s). Each set of images is further reflected in animated double-sided panels that offer a further, changing take on the sets.
As expressions of freedom, these image carry a powerful metaphor in the use of birds and butterflies to express the freedom of thought taking flight, as captured in Erin Hanson’s words. As reflections of emotion and release in a time when were are under pressure to conform or keep our feelings under wraps, this is an incredibly powerful series of images. More particularly they stand as insightful, emotive reminders that it is so easy to become trapped within ourselves – something that Lika expresses beautifully through her own words:
Often our thoughts tangle around the soul, forging our prisons, never grasping that we are always the key to our infinite free will.
As demonstrations of art and how to use lighting, colour, tone and other post-processing techniques to impart a range of emotional responses to a single image, One Thousand Wings is equally as powerful an exhibition; and while I’ve oft said this – it is an exhibition that should be seen and appreciated.
- Kondor Art Centre (Waka, rated Moderate)