Set Your Life on Fire – Virtual Exhibition

This intimate exhibition previews the lockdown collaboration between myself and Cape Town based environmentalist and model Meagen Swain (meagencourtneyswain@gmail.com). We want to show that in spite of the psychological impact of the dire state of the world – highlighted during the Coronavirus epidemic – it is possible to produce art spiritually inspired by the words of Rumi:

“Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you.

Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.

Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.”

In early 2020 South Africa was in a hard lockdown and we could not travel, so our first collaboration was all done online. Meagen sending selfies of poses and I returned drafts of ideas that superimposed her on to multiple overlays of stars, textures from nature, and waterfalls. Our first actual photo shoots came in October 2020 – when I was free to travel to Cape Town – with a second visit a year later. We had shoots in the beautiful natural environments of Sandy Bay Beach and Silvermine Nature Reserve. By now I had also developed a series of mandalas (again from natural phenomena) and fractals using Chaotica and Frax because I wanted to overlay universal forms of harmony and energy – as well as nature – on, around and within the her nude body.

Meagen’s posing style is incredibly expressive – whether emerging out of the sea, tossing her hair, or arching towards the skies and I’ve taken cues from the shapes she makes to select the overlays. I use solarisation extensively – a technique that produces negative colour images – to find the vivid colours suited to a life on fire. Mirroring is another technique I’ve showcased in all of my exhibitions on the Fringe at the National Arts Festival: here’s one from the new exhibition.

Born With Wings - Set Your Life on Fire Exhibition
Born With Wings

if you’d like to visit there’s a preview of our virtual exhibition. We will continue using Oarbt software for a larger and more elaborate show highlighting both our work together and my other photography. I’m planning this to run during South Africa’s National Arts Festival from 23 June to 3 July 2022.

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