The Stolen Child in Second Life

The Itakos Project, The Stolen Child – CybeleMoon

CybeleMoon (Hana Hoobinoo) is renowned for her fabulous mixed-media art. It carries within it a richness of tone, a mixing and balance of light and shade, a depth of symbolism and – most poignantly – a wonderful framing of narrative that makes any exhibition of her work in Second Life utterly unmissable.

All of this richness, depth and framing is on display in full force at The Itakos Project, curated by Akin Alonzo, where Cybele presents The Stolen Child, a series of 15 images presented within a glade-like setting caught in the enfolding arms of ancient ruins, which has been specially built for the exhibit by Akim. Reached via the teleport door in the main foyer of the gallery, this setting is not merely a backdrop for Cybele’s art, it is part of the overall theme of the exhibition, designed through its form and lighting to increase the feeling of immersion in in the story the exhibition presents.

The Itakos Project, The Stolen Child – CybeleMoon

This story is not offered as a linear tale; rather, there is a central strand of theme running through both setting and images. This strand leads us through Cybele’s images, linking them indirectly and without necessary order (although one is suggested, somewhat by the circular placement of the pieces) as they form windows, if you will, into the underlying proposition of the exhibition; a proposition a proposition Cybele explains thus:

Fairies are not benevolent creatures at all, attracted by the strength and vitality of mankind, they kidnap children and especially newborns, or seduce (for the purpose of kidnapping) beautiful girls and boys.

She continues by noting the myth of the fairy lies routed in a times past need to rationalise the death of a child, be it at birth or with a short span of months or years thereafter: that the fairies had stolen the child away from a otherwise sad destiny. Within this weaving of fable, there was also menace: children with autism, depression, or other mental health issues were at times considered to have lost their souls as a result of eating fairy food.

The Itakos Project, The Stolen Child – CybeleMoon

Thus through Cybele’s art were are presented with a series of poignant scene sit within the framework of the dome of a night’s sky – the time when fairies might be abroad more than during the hours of daylight – and within a symbolic ring of ancient walls and arches. The latter carries with it a echo of the fairy ring of mushrooms that act as doorways to the fairy realms, or the idea of the faery castle hidden from mortal eyes by the form of a hill, and into which abducted children might be taken should they not take care.

That central strand running through the images – and the exhibition as a whole – takes the form of The Stolen Child, written in 1886 by by William Butler Yeats, who was also captivated by the entire mythology of faeries in Irish mythology. Through the words of his poem, we witness the bewitching song of the faerie folk, calling to children, tempting them away…

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

The Itakos Project, The Stolen Child – CybeleMoon

Cybele takes lines and words contained within the poem as titles for each of her pieces. Thus, each image forms that window I mentioned above, a glimpse into a scene, one that is often double-edged. On the one hand, it may seem innocent and rich in joy or tranquillity: young folk running through a meadow; a view across rolling hills at twilight while sheep graze; the innocence of blowing into a dandelion. On the other, the titles of the pieces hint at the darker element of fae intent: the stealing away of children, of leaving mothers bereft, to deny the young that chance to see sheep grazing at twilight or know the comforts of home and hearth, their young lives having been swept away with the promise of dances by moonlight in places forbidden by their ever-anxious parents.

To further accompany the exhibition, Cybele also provides a short story, together with additional images, that can be found on her (always enchanting) website. Also presented with the story and images is an audio recording of the marvellous Loreena McKennitt, who put the words of The Stolen Child to music. I’ll leave you with a video of the song from one of Ms. McKennitt’s live performances, and the note that this is a truly engaging and evocative exhibition; rich in narrative and atmosphere, and absolutely not to be missed.

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  • The Itakos Project (ATL, rated Moderate) – remember to take the teleport door in the gallery’s foyer to reach the exhibition!

Focus Gallery in Second Life

Focus Magazine Gallery

I recently received a couple of invitations to visit the new Focus Magazine Gallery, one from CybeleMoon, who is their inaugural Featured Artist exhibiting in the main gallery, and also from Angela Thespian, Editor of Focus Magazine.

The main gallery occupies the upper floor of one wing of a multi-purpose building located within a sky platform designed to resemble a city-space. With the use of projected lighting, it is an ideal environment for displaying 2D – and is especially finely suited to CybeleMoon’s (Hana Hoobinoo) marvellous art-as-stories, the bright, modern lines of the gallery with the muted cream tones perfectly compliment the dark tones and depth of light of Cybele’s art.

Focus Magazine Gallery: CybeleMoon

The exhibition accompanies a feature article on Cybele in the June issue of Focus Magazine that makes for excellent reading for those not familiar with Cybele herself, offering rich insight into the influences on her life and art. It goes a long was to explaining why I am a confirmed admirer of Cybele’s work; while her art far outstrips anything I could hope to achieve, we nevertheless share common themes of interest: Celtic mythology, the attraction of certain landscapes: misty glens, high moorland fens, remote tors and the beauty of light caught between the branches of trees; the muse of music – notably Ennio Morricone (perhaps the single most gifted composer of the 20th century), James Newton Howard and Klaus Badlet.

But it is her art, first and foremost that attracts me; the richness of tone, the mixing and balance of light and shade, the symbolism and – most poignantly – the depth of narrative. As such – and as I’ve often said, her art is not to be missed, and at Focus, she presents a broad portfolio of her work that offers a superb introduction for those not familiar with her work, and an engaging  makes a visit more than worthwhile.

Focus Magazine Gallery: Naema

Tucked into a corner across the central area of the platform (which was in a state of flux when I visited, being a green park the first couple of times I dropped in earlier in the week, then sprouting a drive-in movie theatre when I dropped in on Saturday – a sign that this is an evolving setting) is the FAIR gallery – for Focus Artists In Residence programme. Split between two floors, this offers four exhibition spaces which for June feature the art of Naema (mojosb5c), Red Fire (RobinLeia), Tig (tigggg) and Angela herself.

All four present art focused on avatar studies, but the work is so richly various in style and approach that the visitor doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the volume of pieces on offer. These are four artists who individually have a depth of style that is attractive to the eye, and I found it somewhat refreshing to see a gallery featuring male self-portraits as an Artist In Residence exhibit; not that this doesn’t happen – just that it seems at times to be rare.

Focus Magazine Gallery: Red Fire

But I confess it was perhaps Red Fire’s work that most deeply attracted me. Incorporating that subtle balance of light and dark, often carrying a fantasy / fantastical theme, and with that all-important narrative subtext, I found Red’s art utterly captivating.

With strong roots in the arts community through the magazine and it sin-world group – Too Sexy For This Group (TSFTG) -, and with the perspective of using the main gallery space to offer additional focus on their featured artist for each issue, of the magazine, Focus Magazine Gallery promises to make for a fascinating – no pun intended – focus for future visits.

Focus Magazine Gallery: Tig

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Waifs and Lala in Second Life

Lalalala Gallery: CybeleMoon: Waifs

I received an invitation from CybeleMoon (Hana Hoobinoo) to drop in to a boutique exhibition of her work at the Lalalala Gallery complex owned and curated by Lala Lightfoot. An invitation that allowed me to both visit CybeleMoon’s work – which is something I’m always only too happy to do, being a confirmed fan of her work – and pop in to see Lala’s current exhibition and see preparations in hand for a new exhibition.

Waifs, located in the North Gallery provides a gathering of Cybele’s art focusing on children, and carries with it a definite Parisian theme. It mixes physical world and virtual world images in another captivating display of art with a story, helped among by Edit Piaf via the easel-mounted media board.

Lalalala Gallery: CybeleMoon: Waifs

Those familiar with Cybele’s work will likely recognise a fair few of the images on offer. However, this doesn’t lessen the impact on seeing them here, particularly when framed by their groupings: Place de la Sorbonne, Boulevard Montmartre, Rue Poissonnière. These provide a uniquely Parisian feel to the set of images on each of the walls, and are centred on at least one of Cybele’s pieces in-world art, which perhaps binds images and place names together.

Take Rue Poissonnière (“Fishmonger’s Road”), for example, or Boulevard Montmartre. Both offer images of young children – the waifs of the exhibition’s title. The former brings to mind the route fish would take to the market of Les Halles from Boulogne and other ports, with Cybele painting The Siren’s Call offers and image of a little girl dreaming, perhaps of taking flight like the gulls overhead, or of diving into the waters and becoming a mermaid, free to escape the troubles of land life. With Gigi sitting among the images of Boulevard Montmartre, there is an echo of the Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur (admittedly, there are no domes on the house to assist in the suggestion – but the echo is there). This, together with the image of the Eiffel Tower roots the surrounding images in thoughts of the artists who once painted the street life of the district, and he views it offers across Paris, maintaining the Parisian thread through the exhibition.

Lalalala Gallery: LaLa Lightfoot

The rest of the gallery complex comprises two exhibition spaces, one of which was being prepared for a further exhibition by Lala, and other of which features a collection of her paintings, and Lala’s studio space, a cosy social space.

A physical world artist, Lala offers a number of her painting through the exhibition space, all of which  – again at the time of my visit – were on a floral theme. Most (all?) appear to be pastel images, rich in colour and presented in an uncluttered style. The new exhibition appears to be focused on digital art, and I look forward to returning to Thistle in the future to visit it.

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A Spring Awakening at Ce Soir in Second Life

Ce Soir Spring Awakenings – TerraMerhyem

Open now through until May 2019 at Ce Soir Arts is the Spring Awakenings art exhibition, which includes 2D and 3D art together with poetry and a series of live events in the spoken word.

As spring dawns, it’s time to turn our attention to the beauty of nature – and the beauty of the human spirit. We – in the northern hemisphere – are coming through the last dreary days of winter, moving slowly into the freshness of spring! Winter is beautiful: snow sparkling in the moonlight, sweet red cardinals taking refuge in snowy firs, and the warmth of home enveloping us as we come in from the cold. But spring! And awakenings!

 Ce Soir co-owners, Mireille and Ǣon Jenvieve-Woodford

Ce Soir Spring Awakenings – TaraAers and BJojo Songlark

The art exhibition is extensive, spread throughout several of Ce Soir’s buildings and in the surrounding gardens, making it an ideal opportunity to not only appreciate the art on display, but to explore gallery and grounds.

The participating artists for the exhibition, as listed in the guide note card are: Ǣon Jenvieve-Woodford, Amy Inawe, CybeleMoon, Daze Landar, Fae Varriale, Isabel Hermano, Jolie Parfort, Jojo Songlark, JudiLynn India, Mathilde Vhargon, Michael Romani, Mireille Jenvieve-Woodford,  Morgue McMillan-Shoreland, Paula Cloudpainter, Pieni, Rage Darkstone, Randy Firebrand, Russell Eponym, Secret Rage, Silas Merlin, TaraAers, TerraMerhyem, Virginia, Xanthe and Xirana Oximoxi.

Such a diverse group of artists marks this as one of the broadest themed exhibitions I’ve visited in a while in terms of individual interpretations of the the theme, with names both familiar and new to me. It’s always a delight seeing the work of CybeleMoon, JudiLynn India, Michael Romani and Silas Merlin, but it was an absolute delight to discover the beautiful images of Second Life birds by Jolie Partfort and sculptures by TerraMerhyem. Each artists appears to be presenting at least two pieces of art, and some may be interactive and require touching – check the notices often to be found in each display area.

Ce Soir Spring Awakenings – Jolie Parfort

Three landing points are given for the exhibition, so rather than embedding SLurls here in the text, I’ve included them at the end of this article.

The spoken word events feature Ǣon Jenvieve-Woodford, Aoife Lorefield, Bryn Taleweaver, Caledonia Skytower, Dubhna Rhiadra, Mireille Jenvieve-Woodford, Morgue McMillan-Shoreland, Russell Eponym and Stranger Nightfire. These are side to be taking place through until Sunday, April 14th, but to be honest and outside of the opening event, I failed to find a schedule either at the exhibition or on the Ce Soir website; group membership may be required to receive word on dates and times.

Ce Soir Spring Awakenings – Ǣon Jenvieve-Woodford

Richly diverse, located throughout the fantasy inspired Ce Soir landscape, Spring Awakenings is a joyous – and quite joyful – celebration of art.

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Ce Soir is rated Moderate.

People, places and oriental eroticism in Second Life

Liquid Sky: CybeleMoon

There are two very different exhibitions we recently visited. Each is being held within boutique galleries , and both are very different to one another, involving the of work of two very talented Second Life artists.

The first is People and Places, portraits by CybeleMoon, which is presented at the Liquid Sky Gallery, curated by Cassandra Ushimawa. It features, as indicated by the title, the remarkable photography of CybeleMoon (Hana Hoobinoo), featuring some fourteen marvellous photographs of people and places.

Liquid Sky: CybeleMoon

Those who read this blog regularly will know I’m an unabashed admirer of Cybele’s work; as I’ve previously noted, she is without doubt one of the most expressive fantasy artists in Second Life. However, for this exhibition, she presents a series of photographs all of which appear to have been taken in the physical world (although Remains of the Day might have admittedly originated in Second Life).

Predominantly black-and-white, although some are presented in soft tonal colours, and balanced between portraits and landscapes, these are pictures beautifully presented, each with its own story to tell – one or two quite literally, as touching them will offer a note card with an excerpt of a story. The portraits are utterly captivating in their depth of humanity and life, while the landscapes are marvellously evocative; the sheer wild beauty of the Ring of Brodgar is wonderfully caught in Cybele’s photos (see at the top of this article), for example, while Dublin is perfectly framed with Ha’ penny Bridge.

Liquid Sky: CybeleMoon

For its inaugural exhibition, Aggregate Gallery, curated and operated by Brinsen Davis, features an adult-oriented display of art by Megan Prumier, which might be considered NSFW.

Orient Excess also presents fourteen images, all of them avatar studies, the majority semi-nude and focused on the eroticism of milder Japanese shibari / kinbaku rope bondage. As such, this exhibition might not appeal to everyone – but there is no denying the artistic expressionism available with each of the images presented within it, both in terms of the sensuality of the bound figure (whom I presume is Megan), and the overall framing, focus and tonal quality of each image.

Aggregate Gallery: Megan Prumier

The oriental element of exhibition is also contained within the overall setting presented across the two floors of the gallery. These furnishings reflect the Japanese and D/s  / BDSM elements of the exhibition. In fact, they more than reflect: they are a part of it, adding further depth to both the setting and the theme. Shibari  / kinbaku is about aesthetics; thus by incorporating Japanese décor elements into  the exhibition, Megan is providing a further visual aesthetic to her work.

This makes for a fascinating exhibition, one that will remain open through until the end of February 2019.

Aggregate Gallery: Megan Prumier

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Tales of a Winter Sun in Second Life

Paris Metro Art Gallery: CybeleMoon – Tales of a Winter Sun

CybeleMoon (Hana Hoobinoo) is without doubt one of the most expressive fantasy artists in Second Life. Her art has a unique beauty that I consider to be unsurpassed in its depth and narrative; pieces that are hauntingly fascinating, encapsulating worlds of wonder and mystery or reflecting wonderment and innocence through portrait and study.

You can witness for yourself just how evocative and engaging her art is by visiting Tales of A Winter Sun, which officially opens at 12:00 noon SLT on Saturday, December 14th, 2018  at the Paris Metro Art Gallery. I was able to visit the exhibition ahead of the opening, and it truly is a delight.

Tales of a Winter Sun is actually something of a three-part exhibition. There is Cybele’s art, 20 images and a central mural type display; then there is a poem by Cybele, reflective of the art and of the season (available by clicking the information board at the lading point), and also a blog post she provides on her website.

Paris Metro Art Gallery: CybeleMoon – Tales of a Winter Sun

There is a time in the hushed solitudes of falling winter,
while the dreaming earth stirs softly beneath her frosted blanket,
where for a moment, we remember innocence and magic, and the incredible awe of being,
where hope is renewed in the lighting of candles and a star leads the way to Bethlehem,
Where grievances are put aside as we open our wounded hearts to receive the seeds of rebirth
Where my own dreams flow to the sacred music of haunted woodlands and enchanted children.
and old tales are retold with feasting and friends
where the lost are found and the poor are blessed
and where angels walk among us

– CybeleMoon

Reflective of the theme and the season, the 20 images offer us 20 twenty stories – some quite literally so, should you touch them – each beautifully encapsulated in a single moment.

Paris Metro Art Gallery: CybeleMoon – Tales of a Winter Sun

It is this feeling of capturing a moment that is particularly attractive about Cybele’s work. Her pieces are incredibly intricate in form and construction, the balance of light, colour, focus and theme utterly sublime; where looking at her art, I cannot help but see them in terms of an orchestra, different elements and layers, skilfully woven into a whole under the guiding hands of the conductor – or in this case the artist.

Yet, at the same time, there is a marvellous sense that each piece, far from being composed, has been captured in a fleeing moment, as if the mind has taken a snapshot of a dream or the eye a single moment of time played out before us in a world where wonder, innocence and beauty define all we see, and perhaps say and do.

Some might accuse me of waxing lyrical or of using hyperbole in writing like this – but unless you’ve seen Cybele’s work first-hand, it is hard to grasp just how rich, resonant and alive her art really is. As such, I urge you to go and witness Tales of a Winter Sun for yourself – you will not be disappointed.

In the meantime, and as she references it in her own blog post, I’ll leave you with an astonishing rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah by Rhema Marvanne, and recorded when she was just eight years old, and which sits as a perfect companion to the art Cybele presents in both the exhibition and her blog post.

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