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As the world slowed down, the inspiration of Israeli born Cape Town-based artist, Galia Gluckman, picked up speed. In the time of isolation and social distancing, she wrestled with colourful feathers and vibrant mediums until they turned into an evening party of stunning guests hosted by the elegant Genevieve (pictured above).

Soirée Series, Gluckman’s most recent exhibition at SMAC Gallery looks like a toast to the senses. “The light at the Stellenbosch gallery is so right,” she said. The pieces, or guests, she puts on display at this event seem exuberant and luxuriously adorned. This series slow-danced into Gluckman’s life as she worked through the lockdown. “It started off in uncertainty and developed into an expressive celebration of sorts. Freedom of expression came from understanding that the world had shifted, and therefore I needed to be fearless within my practice.” 

The artworks have their own personalities and each adds to the atmosphere of the soirée. They’re like socialites visiting Stellenbosch. Some of Gluckman’s personal favourites are “Martha”, “because she just didn’t want to go to the party and looked a hot mess”, and “Vivian-Rose” who Gluckman says is the two-faced party guest that everyone loves to hate. “The artwork titled “she liked to be called Priscilla” is a favourite too, because she is so confident in who she is, she became beautiful just for being authentic.”

But this dazzling display carries a lingering reminder of the 1920s, a golden age of revelry that led to more sombre times. “The most interesting part for me was understanding the metaphor of the glitter and colour included in the exhibition and its narration on this delicate moment in time.” With a lot of opportunity for self-exploration and reflection, we’re all invited to look at ourselves over the last few months in contrast to before the pandemic. Gluckman thinks that a new page is turning, especially in the art world. “I hope that there is a shift away from recent consumption habits. Humans need to slow down, make more things by hand, and barter more. Trade swaps and collaborations are the future of artistic survival.”

“I would love [for] people to experience escapism, but to walk away understanding the irony of the Soirée.” Gluckman extends an open invitation to her fashionable exhibition saying “art – like music – defines decades. I think the more exhibitions you see, the more you will feel confident in what you love. Never make excuses for what you are drawn to.” Be sure to dress in your finest and join the party guests this October. Everyone is welcome. The Soirée Series at SMAC Gallery is open from 09:00 till 17:00 on weekdays and from 10:00 till 13:00 on Saturdays for the whole month of October till 31 October 

In the words of Gluckman when describing her new exibition, “Life is not what it seems. We mask, cover, and escape from ourselves, society, and circumstances. We hide under feathers and sequins and I think it’s a positive thing!”

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