This one was an unusual exhibition.
I was invited to ArtRooms by my friend Alice White, who was exhibiting a new collection of paintings from her residency at ZSL. I didn’t really read the invite properly and said I would go, just to see her!
When I got there I realised that this was going to be good fun. The organisers had ‘borrowed’ 60 or so rooms from the Hotel Melia’ White House, and given them to artists for them to install their work the way they wanted it. One room per artist. Guests were free to roam around the hotel corridors and go inside any room to talk to the artists and look at their work. I would pop my head inside briefly to see if the atmosphere inspired me, then go in to take a proper look. What I found really engaging was that I could just sit in a room and have a proper chat, ask questions or hear the story behind the painting, and also imagine what the painting might look like in my own bedroom (a marketing tactic?).
I saw a lot of art in two hours, much more than I would see during a normal gallery visit. All the artists were independent, so the range of works covered all sorts of forms for any taste.
I fell in love with a painting. It got me mesmerized and I could not understand why. It was an abstract, with contrasting colours and forms, similar to a collage but with a strong emotional element. I don’t normally like abstract paintings so I wanted to learn the story behind it. Nataniel Moiane started telling me about a trip to India were he made the painting, and the more he talked the more I could see all the elements in his painting making sense. My brain started putting all the pieces together and there they were: elephant trunks, birds, fish, the sun, right in front of me.
Nataniel is really shy but he told me lots of interesting things about his beloved Mozambique, his life in Barcelona and how sometimes he feels really homesick and this shows into his paintings. He also told me about Bow Arts Studios and the charitable work they do to support artists, which I now really want to go and visit!
Whilst leaving the exhibition I overheard someone in the corridor saying that it felt a bit like being in The Shining. Maybe it did a little, but fortunately I could not spot any dead twins or redrums, only excellent art.