“Kentucky Derby Party Hat”-Sunfest-2009

I arrived at Sunfest a bit early yesterday to see the art and talk with the artists. I will go back again today.

Sunfest invites artists to exhibit works of art in a specially designated area of the festival that is set up as a tent village and art fair. The show is juried and ribbons are handed out for first place, second place and so on. Visitors come to Sunfest, a music and art festival just to see and buy the art. It is affordable.

The art of Sunfest has its roots in the festival’s early days. Think “art and craft”: wood furniture, masks, batik, windchimes, handmade musical instruments and leather sandals. Some of the booths teem with fantastical creatures made from scrap metal and stained glass. There is a smattering of Fine Art and jewelry.

Spiritual themes can be found in some of the art. A blue ribbon was given to a photographer named Emerson Matabele who combines portraits of people from many cultures with inspirational quotes from famous writers like Rumi, philosophers and spiritual leaders. The quotes are placed in cut out areas of the matte under the image where an artist’s signature might ordinarily be placed. Divine guidance, channeling God’s will, unity in diversity are appropriate words or phrases that best describe the tone and feel of the work. The photographs had the power to hold me in the booth for some time. The subject matter transforms the booth into a place of meditation. One can find an impressive photo of Ghandi, graceful African children who look at us with “soft eyes”. There are dresses on a clothesline from Belize wafting in a gentle breeze.

In my travels through the show I found a row of Tiki Gods. I asked the artist when he started to make them. He told me that he always made them. They are the kind of sculpture one would find in front of a Polynesian restaurant. He paints brightly colored carved details in some of them.

An artist couple discussed their colorful Amazon scaled glass ‘garden’ art. They explained that it fills every room in their house. It is environmental and a buyer is advised to purchase many pieces of it to get the desired surreal effect.

I found some Mardigras masks. I enjoyed taking close up shots of them! They have power at that range.

(to be continued…)