Today Ed and I went to an art and poetry exhibition in my home-town. I’m not usually into poetry, I’m personally more into novels, but this exhibition was one of the few exceptions,as the entire thing was based around Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Ovid’s Metamorphoses is a collection of stories and poems during the reign of Augustus and it talks about the creation of the Earth and other stories of change and transformation such as Apollo and Daphne, the tale of Hecuba (the Trojan woman who turned into a dog) and much more. I haven’t read the entirety of the work, but I do know the stories through research, so Ed and I chose to check it out.
We were originally planning on making it in time for the poetry reading at two o’ clock in the afternoon but we didn’t make it because we were hungry. It wasn’t too big of a deal though as we could just read the poetry ourselves. We turned up, perhaps around three o’ clock and we were welcomed by a very small exhibition space that comprised of perhaps eight square shaped stands that you could walk around. The panels of the squares each contained one painting and two or three poems (depending on how long they were) based off of stories in Metamorphoses, in chronological order. The first poem I read was on the ‘Age’ system as it talked of the Golden Age and the demise of humanity through to the Iron Age. There was also the stories of Narcissus and Echo, one of my favourite myths, about a girl cursed to repeat the words of whoever spoke and the man who was cursed to fall in love with himself and die, gazing at his reflection, at the bank of a pond where he would wither away and turn into a daffodil. There was poems based on Pyrasmus and Thisbe (the tale said to inspire Romeo and Juliet about forbidden lovers). In the story Pyrasmus and Thisbe are planning to meet but Thisbe is chased away by a mountain Lion. Pyrasmus, thinking she is dead kills himself, but Thisbe is not, and in discovering his stabbed body takes her lovers sword and plunges it into her own heart. There were also poems on the old couple who died together and turned into trees. They were beautiful poems, I have to say, and all of them were well written. My favourite being the one of the old couple as it was a dialogue between the two.
More people were turning up and looking around and we gathered together in the centre where the curator told us that people from my high school had came the day before to see and asked if we were in school. Incidentally all of us were from the same school. One of us was in GCSE studying Classics, Ed is at A-Level studying Classics, and I have left school and am studying Archaeology and Ancient History at university, there were others but the curator was asking us younger generation as her aim was to make works of literature such as ancient works and myths, accessible to younger people and we were her demographic of people that she was aiming to please. Thus it spurred on an impromptu poetry reading by the curator and her mother who read the poems and talked about the art with such passion and enthusiasm for the creativity and the stories and what they all mean, it was lovely.
From thereon I read more poems based on the myth of Medea and Jason, of whom I had seen Euripides play just the week before as a live stream at the local cinema. I read poems on the Trojan War and the damage it caused, the tale of Hecuba. There were poems based on Orpheus, who went into the underworld in an attempt to save his dead wife from the underworld, and there was a hilarious poem about Actaeon who found Diana and her nymphs in the woods as he hunted one day, was caught, and was turned into a stag by the goddess and torn to pieces by his own dogs. The exhibition achieved it’s goal, to say at the least, with excellency and really, it deserved more recognition than it had. It was magnificent.
The woman, after the reading and before we all left, talked to us about how the exhibition was made and how it came to be. She declared, proudly, that it was all done via Twitter and WordPress! I was amazed at the accomplishment that one woman had managed to gather writers and artists from all corners of the World, from Brighton in the United Kingdom, to California in the United States to France and to India and more. It was nothing short of a wonder. I believe you can find them at artipeeps.wordpress.com because they are, at some point, planning an exhibition on Norse myths and obviously would like people to get involved. Sometimes I forget that the internet can be more powerful than kitten photographs and Facebook statuses and this exhibition was, not only superb, but an amazing example of what we can do simply via a blog. It was inspiring.