Monday, February 14th, 2022 saw the opening of Crescent Moon, the latest exhibition Dido Haas is hosting at her Nitroglobus Roof Gallery in Second Life. Presenting the work of Adwehe, this is an exhibition that mixes 2D and 3D art together with a custom EEP setting for the gallery which really should be used (menu → World → Environment → make sure Use Shared Environment is set) if the exhibit is to be properly appreciated.
When the EEP is set, visitors will see that a crescent Moon dominates the sky along one arm of the Gallery; but this is no mere play on the title of the exhibition, there is a purpose in including this huge waxing crescent Moon and making it as much a visual element of the exhibition as any of the images and sculptures Adwehe has on display.
Perhaps the best way to sum up the theme of Crescent Moon would be to use a word that has become a common subject within the world of Second Life art: “identity”. However, this is also too simplistic a term when applied here; Crescent Moon is a multi-faceted exploration of interlocking themes: an exploration of self, identity, the relationship between human and avatar; questions of “godhood” and creation and artistic discovery.
As Adwehe notes, the Moon has a special attraction for humans down the ages and around the world. It has been a focus of worship, a reminder of our small place within the cosmos, encouraging our ancestors to see it as the seat of one deity or another. It is also something we only see thanks to the sunlight it reflects – reminding us the Sun is very much the source of life on Earth – whilst that reflected light causing us to see the world around us differently to how we perceive it by the direct light of day; a world both illuminated, yet distorted.
And like the Sun and Moon were once seen as seats of goods, so we can, in sitting behind our screens, become gods in our own right: we can create and destroy at will, whilst our avatars sit as the projection of “self”, but one perhaps distorted. They are not us but projections or who we are – or more correctly, what we want to present of ourselves – through the medium of photons – the same atoms of light that give us life – but organised into a form that is not truly “us”.
Thus we have the opportunity to explore, to experiment, be it through self-expression, through that ability to create with prim, texture, particle, and mesh – and for the artist to do both, through experiments at colour and art from, physical and digital, camera and canvas, Opportunities that both reflect on our inner natures and also to play back into ideas of creation, godhood and primality. All of this is richly explored within Crescent Moon. Within the images we have a captivating mix of painting and photography; they speak to the artist’s acknowledged experimentation with her work in preparing for this exhibition.
But there is something more within them as well. The colours used in many of them are primal in tone: red, blue, black, green; colours that appear to have been painted on Adwehe’s avatar as much as the canvas. This gives the colour images a primal element, something added to by the fact that the character in them – and most of the more monochrome images – is dancing, something that might be seen as an act of worship – or given the Moon’s association with the female gender, perhaps they might also be seen as a celebration of femininity and woman as the source of life. Through these primal / feminine themes, we have a further intertwining of ideas of identity, exploration of self and place both as modern explorers of coming to terms with a new digital realm, giving birth to new means of expression and creation, whilst also presenting an echo of our ancient ancestors as they faced a new and strange realm of the world we have long-since tamed – or is that conquered?
This expressiveness of art, dance, and exploration of our sense of self and place extends into the sculptures Adwehe also presents. With regards to these sculptures, I particularly like the way they both embody the themes of the exhibition and moods expressed by the images and even gently enfold JadeYu Fhang’s KHAOS, a regular piece Dido has on display at Nitroglobus, perfectly into Crescent Moon.
This is an exhibition that mixes so much into it: 2D and 3D art; primal body painting and modern abstractionism; contrasts of humanity and godhood; reflections of our modern mastery of the technology to create worlds of our own, and of our need to find comfort in what could be a strange and something frightening physical world through the worship of what appeared to be two great constants of life: the Sun and the Moon. It is also an exploration of self and mood as we join the artists in her experiments with light, colour, image and object.
- Nitroglobus Roof Gallery (Sunshine Homestead, rated: Moderate)