Summertime is the time in which, when we are young, we gather precious memories of long holidays free from the supposed tyranny of school; times when we can run outside and play, build and create places of wonder through our imaginations, aided perhaps by toys such as building blocks or similar – or even the simple expanse of a piece of paper and a box full of tempting crayons.
The latter are particularly powerful as tools of the imagination, allowing young minds and hands create the most fantastical, colourful worlds, filled with the most bizarre or wondrous creatures and animals from upright elephants to giant ball-like and very happy spiders to aliens apparently visiting from another world. The worlds we create using them can become a source of pride and a set of memories that, as we grow ever older and put such things behind us, summertime offers us again raising a smile and a sense of joy as they are recalled.
Because sometimes – as Cica Ghost reminds us through her June / July 2022 installation, all we need is a little splash of colour to gift us with a sense of joy.
Capturing the sense of fun exhibited with Garden (see: Happiness in Cica’s Garden in Second Life), this installation – called, for the record, Coloured Images – invites us to take a trip back to those younger times when our imaginations lay unfettered, and a new world lay in the promise of a blank sheet of paper and coloured sticks (or indeed, in the bricks or pieces of a toy building set).
Backed by a dark sky spotted with blobs and snowflakes of colour substituting for stars, the installation presents itself as a series of brightly coloured buildings – some complete, others not; some with bits and pieces of painted materials scattered around as if awaiting their turn to be used.
These buildings mostly stand on bases that suggest piece of card painted by hand to give the impression of surrounding gardens and footpaths, while walls carry painted images of creatures smiling happily and windows and great doorways edged as if with flooring petals. With strangely hued and coloured plants adding to the mix, and floors and different levels linked by simply-formed stairways, the entire setting is rich in its sense of imaginative invention and carefree innocence.
Within it, the animals and creatures are not just two-dimensional; they also exist as 3D characters waiting to be found. Some again look to have been painted by young hands that care little for “realism” such as the need for browns, white and black to predominate the coats of cows, or that caterpillars should for the most part be green. Instead, there is a further joyous riot of colour among all the creatures – from aforementioned upright elephant and multi-legged alien through to snakes, caterpillars, cows and more – that is exuberant in the sense of freedom it exudes.
As always with Cica’s installations, there are multiple sit points and dance animators waiting to be found (including one sit point right at the landing area – just look to one of the walls!), giving Coloured Images a further sense of fun as one explores.
- Coloured images by Cica Ghost (Reflections, rated Moderate)