Through the waves to the unknown

Oceania. Thousands of islands spread across the ocean covering a third of the world’s surface. I admit it’s usually as far away from my thoughts as it is in a physical distance.
I got intrigued by those faraway lands after watching Moana (great movie, seriously). I did a bit of internet search but little came out of it. So I forgot about it and just enjoyed the movie for its songs and animation.

Then, I met a friend for some coffee and gossip, and somehow the topic came up again. She said she had a museum card that allowed her to take one person with her to the exhibition Oceania at the Royal Academy of Arts. Such an opportunity, to see an amazing exhibition and don’t pay a penny, doesn’t come often so I jumped at it.
A short guide to the exhibition tells you that Oceania has been inhabited over 30,000 years ago. I can’t imagine how many stories, myths, legends, traditions or beliefs could be created in such a time. That’s why I think the exhibition felt a bit small for me. But I take into account that Oceania has been “discovered” by Europeans only 250 years ago.

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Ocean, sailing and navigating was a strong part of the Islanders culture. Especially the canoes, which were often featured in legends or even creation and death stories. They were often ornamentally carved, like the one in the cover photo of this post.

My regret regarding this exhibition is that they don’t explain much about the belief systems on the islands. I know, I know, it would be an immeasurable amount of work, but after seeing this two-headed dude I want to know what his role in the society and traditions was. And all I got was “Ti’i, God’s image with two heads”. Ok, but who is Ti’i? If you know, let me know.
Farther in the exhibition I found a sword I think that reminded me of Maui’s hook (from Moana).

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I had great fun tracing objects that I recognized or that resembled things showed in the movie. Honestly, watch it before or after seeing the exhibition. Great fun.
What I also learned was that most of the exhibits weren’t stolen from the local people, as it is usually the case. The culture of giving was highly important in the Islanders life. The making of gifts and handing them were full-blown ceremonies.

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At the end of your tour, I recommend spending some time to watch a movie about the meeting between the Europeans and the local people. I didn’t get so much from it but it’s nice to watch and it’s made like the camera was just moving along the coast of an island catching random situations. Not an everyday view.

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Thanks for visiting me and my adventures here! If you’ve seen the exhibition or know any other fascinating things that I shouldn’t miss out, let me know in the comments!
All best,
SW
Bonus: A song from Moana!

Welcome to the Cube

High ceiling. White walls. Dark floors. Empty spaces.

You enter the cube and you feel small. Yet, you feel at home. The White Cube gallery is open to all.

Grab the guide at the reception desk and wander around.

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You are now in the Memory Palace. History and identity flow from room to room, from piece to piece, from person to person. Memory is what shapes and creates us. It is individual and it is collective.

Here, memory is caught. In a painting, sculpture, photograph. Artists give you their memories so that you can unlock yours. They give you their ideas and feelings. They create for you. It is intuitive. It is emotional. What you get is mostly up to you.

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Modern art is not something you can learn or fully understand. There is no common pattern our brains can identify. Each piece is individual. Each work unique. Modern art is equality. You don’t have to look a certain way, paint a certain way, think a certain way. Any object can become a piece of art if you only give it the power, the thought, the idea.

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Sometimes I wonder if I get modern art the way I should. On the other hand, there is no ‘should’ here. It is what it is. It is a part of the artist but it is also a part of me. I wish I knew exactly what to think and feel with each of the artworks. However, I know, I trust, and I believe that I have this knowledge within me. I just haven’t reached it yet. It will come, this understanding. Tomorrow, next year, or in the end. It always finds its way, as everything in life.

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What are your feelings about modern art? Which gallery should I visit next? Let me know below!

A day off

Every once in a while you need to take a true day off. With no guilt of procrastination, no to-do list, and no worries!

The weather has blessed us with a sunny and hot day. I looked at my Must See list in the morning and decided to take a trip to the Design Museum and finally have a proper tea.

The collection in the Design Museum turned out to be quite small, however, I was pleasantly surprised by it. Mostly because my mind got stuck on a thought that it will all be about fashion, but it is something entirely different! The exhibition lets you take a look at the plans and history of designing road signs, the London Underground system, electronics and some interior designs.

An opportunity for a nice picture occurred, so here I am trying to become an exhibit.

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After the museum came time for tea. We found a splendid little place Candella Tea Room with freshly baked scones and marvelous tea (Lavender Earl Grey is to die for). First time in my life I put milk in my tea and, honestly, I can’t complain.

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Look at this gorgeous teaware!

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The day got so hot that the only thing left to do was to get to Hyde Park and cool down by the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. I absolutely adore this place. It is always full of laughter and play. During hot days it can be a bit of a challenge to find a spot to sit down on the edge of the fountain, but you can always just walk around. Oh, the blissful cold, cold water!

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London, how great you are!

 

Meeting new people

When you are new in town, and that’s what I still consider myself regarding London, one of the first things you want to do is to get to know some people you can maybe later call friends. Thanks to technology it is now easier than ever. I can’t count all the apps and websites that offer help with networking. The one I use is MeetUp. You can browse through thousands of groups and choose a ‘meetup’ according to your interests, your location, and your schedule. The one problem that I’m constantly struggling with here is to actually show up. It is so easy to get overwhelmed by all the things you want to do, all the places you want to go. At first, I clicked ‘Attend’ to at least 4 meetings in a week only to later discover that there was no way I could make it to all of them. So, with a guilty conscience, I quit Meetup for a good couple of month to avoid further failures.

It changed yesterday when I got my anxious and introvert butt out of the house and joined a photography centered meetup. Don’t worry I dragged my friend along, so I didn’t change my mind last minute.

I had a great time. I couldn’t fully participate in all the technical and professional talks about gear and light and composition, but I talked with people about travels, got some tips from a model about how to work during a photoshoot, and caught up a little about how to properly use my camera.

Nearly everyone brought their cameras and it was fascinating to listen and observe how each of them was different from the rest and how each of them was suited to its owner’s needs. Since there were plenty of cameras laying a few photos were inevitable. My friend has got to be our model and the centerpiece of the photographs. Here is my favourite one (taken by me, yay!). 

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My editing skills are non-existent, so the photo is raw, but I am learning, so just wait!

If you have any tips as to how I could improve, let me know! And do try MeetUp if you ever feel like meeting new people.

Take care,

Sophia

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