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The Spirit Blooms Timidly opened three weeks ago at Ribong Gallery in Mieum. It’s a creative and unique exhibit that is well worth a long visit, or several visits to take it all in. 

“THE SPIRIT BLOOMS TIMIDLY is Art Oluja’s latest collection of artwork. This exhibition merges several personally inspiring concepts, beginning with a passage by George Santayana: ‘the world is not respectable; it is mortal, tormented, confused, deluded forever; but it is shot through with beauty, with love, with glints of courage and laughter; and in these, the spirit blooms timidly, and struggles to the light amid the thorns’.”

At the landing, there’s notecarded information about the artist, and the exhibit. There’s also a gift of art. Turning around, you’ll see you’re encouraged to jump into the multi-level gallery space.

“Light-hearted optical illusions, hypnotic mandalas, and vibrant dandelions are some of the elements that blossom within this collection. The show reflects the artist’s perception that ‘nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect’.”

Photographs don’t do justice to the exhibit, and I’ve been having quite a bit of challenges with my viewer and internet connection lately. The pieces are of a large scale and many can be entered by avatars; they are all visually stunning.

Fortunately, flying is enabled. This allows viewing of the art from different angles. There are stairs and seating available, and you can dance inside some of the large, floating pieces.

“To view and listen to the media in the exhibit, please make sure you have your viewer set to allow automatically playing media, and toggle your play media button ON when you arrive. Media is embedded in some wall panels and in some of the artworks.”

I enjoyed finding a coherent, narrative journey for myself in this exhibit, and I shared it with the artist, who’s approachable, and also a friend. The exhibit is in no way prescriptive; enjoy it as you will.

Some of the Cylents are shown above. “A ‘Cylent’ [Cyber + Lenticular = Cylent] is a technique that Art Oluja developed in-world. It is a hand-made process that merges virtual photography with Lenticular Motion printing, and she describes them as being ‘like those fun little animated cards I got in cereal boxes as a kid :)’ They are non scripted objects so you can enjoy them lag-free.”

The above photo gives a suggestion of the scale of the pieces, and you can get a glimpse of the 3D art underneath.

Ribong Gallery is curated by Santoshima. I first discovered it earlier this year while visiting the neighboring Art of Being Gallery, and very much enjoyed immersing in the exhibit at that time.

“ABOUT THE GALLERY: Ribong Gallery is a flexible space within the meta-world of Second Life, whose intention is to host a rolling series of thought-provoking contemporary arts exhibitions featuring the artworks of SL artists. The name Ribong is derived from the Ladakhi name for the Tibetan Woolly Hare, and is a reminder of impermanence, flux, and bounding joy within a world of endless forms most beautiful. We hope you will subscribe for future exhibits (the subscription panel in the lobby entrance), and we are grateful for your support of this gallery and of SL artists.”