Greetings from Goa!

Gallery Opening

So Galerie du Monde is exactly two months old today –  Happy birthday! A huge amount has happened in this short time, so much so it defies belief that it’s only been 60 days!

A Warm Welcome!

The initial collection opened to a hugely warm reception from the people of Haslemere, ceremonially marked by the cutting of the ribbon (who’d of thought it was so difficult to find a length of 4 inch thick ribbon at short notice!) by our illustrious Mayor David on a cold a blustery January morn. The people came streaming in, not quite the Harrod’s First Day sale stampede I was hoping for, but enough to make a crowd shot for social media! (I admit a few unsuspecting passers by were press ganged in but it was a lovely atmosphere nonetheless, and they were released unharmed later!)


The collection on exhibition was bright, bold, colourful and contemporary. Boy was it colourful and lit up the high street like a piñata on steroids. People were genuinely wowed with the artwork which was a collection of bright and predominantly abstract artwork collected from all around the world. Was Haslemere ready for this riot of colour? Well, it seemed to be, and despite a couple of very politely hushed “Well it’s very colourful but I think I’m more of a traditional person”, the people seemed to love it. Above all, people smiled. Colour does that, brightness does that. It makes people smile, which is lovely.


I see it happen when people are wandering by the gallery outside, perhaps on their way to the bank, or Waitrose or wherever they are heading. Their heads full of thought, tasks to do, places to me, and schedules to keep. Then, out of the corner of their eye they’ll notice the gallery, often from the other side of the road outside of Cockerills. They will literally do a double take at the brightly lit gallery, at some Aboriginal, eye-popping paintings in the window, or catch sight of the stunning red, yellow, blue and gold hand embroidered arm chair from India adorned with Frida Kahlo cushions and they’ll literally stop and smile! It’s a lovely reaction and one that I couldn’t hope more for, save perhaps rushing over with their debit card! (But that will come when they’re ready I hope).


The fact of the matter though is, people do love colour, but here in Britain we just don’t have enough of it. We love colour, it makes us feel happy, and warm, remind though of us lucky enough to have travelled, of far flung brightly clad women going about their business, of bustling streets and souks hawking the brightest of wares, or brilliant azure skies and seas, of exotic patterns and fabrics, and rainbow coloured neatly carved pyramids of spices. But then we buy things black, grey, brown, white and cream!


We all know the psychology behind colours and emotions. The huge impact that colours have on mood is well documented and widely accepted. Advertisers and marketers use these powerful subliminal triggers to their own ends, tweaking with our emotions and bringing out exuberance, passion, calm, excitement, comfort and so on with their lavish use of colours, but all the while we play it safe and fill our homes with monotones.


Don’t get me wrong, monotones are beautiful too, and as a gallery we have an exhibition coming up celebrating just this. But my point is that I see everyday the effect bright colours have on the souls of people passing by the gallery and even more so on those who venture in, and it’s good, it’s positive and brings about a very natural feel-good factor that we all too often miss in our fairly grey surroundings.


Is this a desperate attempt to convince everyone to rush in to the gallery and buy a painting? Well…if that were the response I’d be super happy of course, but that is genuinely not what has prompted me to write this. Let’s face it, there are many other ways to introduce colour in to our lives (though I highly recommend a visit to boost your soul and your mood!). No, I’m saying this purely as observation about the mood enhancing effects of bright colours that I witness on a daily basis.


I spend a lot of time in Africa, and Morocco, and am currently in India. All places were colour abounds, the simplest of items will be brightly coloured. Perhaps in those countries this is an everyday reflection of the colourful flora and fauna that exist in those habitats, or perhaps it’s a subconscious backlash to the monochromes of desert areas and mountain ranges which surround, that are not as varied in colour. But whenever Westerners see these riots of colour in dress, food, interior and exterior design (in India no two house seem to be the same colour for as far as the eye can see), textiles, and art, then almost without exception our spirits are lifted. We like it, we photograph it and we talk about and we smile about it!


I hope that the gallery continues to do the same. Yesterday our “Stories from the Sand” exhibition of Moroccan and Aboriginal artwork came to an end. The pieces not sold during the exhibition will remain in our collection for sale, until they find some loving home or work place to fill with happiness and vigour. Some will remain a while longer in our collection and still be displayed in a separate area of the gallery, whilst we re-curate and changeover over to our next exhibition “Made in Britain” which is as might be cunningly revealed in the title a collection of superb works from UK based contemporary artists which starts on Friday April 12th.


Although not from as far-flung and exotic lands as our previous exhibition, I feel that we have nonetheless put together another brilliantly colourful and awe inspiring works that maintain our ethos of bringing life and colour to your homes. We have been lucky enough to gather together some amazing British artists and sculptors who’s use of colours and textures will be as uplifting and spiritually invigorating as our previous show. I am also excited about exhibiting them in the same space (albeit different sides of the gallery) as some of our previous works to see how the two very different camps of art contrast and draw from each other.


We want to keep pushing the limits at the gallery. It is part of our very soul to keep things fresh, and alive, approachable, warm, different, welcoming, and thought provoking. The British artists we have selected play with colour in very different ways. They each have extraordinarily different styles, but I honestly also believe that a visit will make you smile, and maybe even want more colour in your life!


Meantime I have the arduous task of trekking around Goa in 34 degrees Celsius determined to find some Indian artists to be part of an Asian Art exhibition further down the line. Tough work, but someone’s got to do it! Tomorrow is Holi so I suspect though I will start the day wearing white as a blank canvas, I will return to my digs later in the day, as my very own piece of very bright colourful art! Not for sale!


Speak to you soon. 🙂