Headgear has long played is significant role within societies around the world, particularly in terms of denoting spirituality or royalty. This is potentially for two reasons. The first is that, as the highest point on the human body, the head is the best point from which to indicate authority, and so elaborate or distinctive headgear the best means to signal said authority. The second is that, being the part of the body with the proximity to the heavens, and thus potentially the first point of contact with the divine or spirits descending from on high, the top of the head is considered, and thus should be covered as a sign of modesty and deference.
More widely, hats, headwear, traditional headdress, and so on, having long been a means of expression throughout societies and communities the world over. They can indicate everything from broader religious adherence to social status / profession, societal adherence (it is not that long ago that in many western societies it was considered uncouth for anyone of educated means – male or female – to appear in public without a hat, and one only has to travel back a little further to reach a time when women were expect to wear a hat, indoors and out), or basic social status. In this, just think of the worker’s flat cap, the British bowler, the Stetson, the fedora, the fez, and allow they evoke.
Some of these ideas are explored within the January / February 2023 art exhibition occupying at the ground level gallery at NovaOwl Gallery, curated and operated by ULi Jansma, Ceakay Ballyhoo & Owl Dragonash, featuring as it does the work of Caly Applewhyte.
Self-taught with Photoshop, Caly entered Second Life in 2010 with – as she describes it herself – “no specific goal”, but while exploring the grid, she found an outlet in Second Life photography. As her interest grew, so did a parallel interest in both her own avatar and the ability to use this virtual domain as a means to explore emotions, feelings and ideas, generally through the use of minimalist settings intended to bring the intended focus, the essential theme and emotion, of each piece to the fore.
Within Crowns, Caly offers a series of beautifully minimalist set of pictures exploring the expressive nature of headdress, particularly in terms of spirituality (although there is also a hint of royalty about them as well). Each is highly individual in both form and the style of headdress, one to the next, yet all carry within them core recognition of the implied authority, faith and prowess of the wearer. Not, note that the wearer is necessarily gifted with these abilities – just that their headdress encourages us to view them as such.
In keeping with much of Caly’s work, Crowns does not require a lot to be written about it – each piece clearly and evocatively speaks for itself, with all of them collectively offering a narrative which is easy to follow. As such, I recommend Crowns should be viewed rather than written about – and I’ll leave you with the SLurl once more to allow you to do so.
- Caly Applewhyte at NovaOwl (Novatron, rated General)