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WARNING: This may be offensive to some... then again... it might make you think.

Recently a friend sent me an in-world invitation to an art exhibition taking place in Second Life(tm). The exhibition is Children of God by Jenn Villota. You can catch the exhibtion, in-world at Devils Pocket (teleport there now).

Jenn's art is very confronting - it depicts often violent scenes that seem to capture some level of humanity at the same time they are shocking and horrifying you. The visual imagery is very well done and is not likely to be everyone's cup of tea. A quick peek at the testamonials on her Flickr profile will confirm just how confronting her images really are:
"I have rarely (not to say never) seen pictures which can make me sick and deliciously thrilled at the same time. [...] I hate her, because some of her work impresses me and leaves a trail in my mind for hours and days, but I also love her to death... I always loved paradoxes." - Lolaa Shepherd

"Janelle is an artist, one i am terribly enthralled by. her work fascinates and even frightens me. while i enjoy many talented friends on Flickr, i can count on one hand those who's work excites me as Janelle's does. her unique, creative mind is a marvel to behold. her vivid, sometimes even violent images, are stunning, and open one's mind to many possible interpretations." - sam j rollo

"I still haven’t come totally to grips with your work which as I said, at an initial glance could be brushed off as a fucked up cartoon graveyard, the problem with initial glances is that they are often very misleading and I found myself viewing most of the images." - hijab.view
I'm quite sure, some people will be down on this exhibition based on the title of the exhibition alone - and will pre-judge it without ever going to see for themselves. Others will find the images too confronting and too violent and will choose to give it a miss. For those who do go, you'll be enthralled, confronted, amazed and challenged by this exhibition.

While this may not be the kind of thing you wish to hang in your lounge room, don't write it off as lacking merit. Art isn't always about pretty unicorns skipping through the daisies... actually art is seldom about such things. Just because you find it confronting, doesn't mean you shouldn't look. You don't have to love everything you see and hear - and it's certainly your right to choose what you see and hear. Sometimes stepping beyond our comfort zone challenges us in positive ways. It can make us think about the points of views and experiences of others - often in ways we had not even considered previously.

Good art - regardless of the medium - often makes statements about the state of humanity and/or the state of the world. I'm quite sure Eshi's hateful words, she did as part of the 'build a day' project was not loved by all - particularly those guilty of muttering the words that inspired her to create this work - but that did not detract from the statement it made, nor the depth of feelings many had about the installment. All art is open to interpretation - and that interpretation often stems from the views or insecurities of the viewer.

My curiosity is insatiable - I'm always wanting to know more. I looked around the site of this exhibition for some information about the artist and/or the exhibit itself but was unable to find any. I searched Google and I found her flickr photostream - and a stream of hate and contempt in response to an ad that had been placed in the Herald. I'm still quite curious to know if all of this hate and contempt was for the images, the artists... or just for the title of the exhibition. I didn't find an artist bio (in what was admittedly a very quick search), nor did I find information about the exhibition. So what could I do? Well duh! I'm curious remember? I did what anyone with insatiable curiousity would do... I contacted the artist and asked her directly.

Jenn got back to me within just a few hours and here's what she had to say:
This is my 4th inworld exhibit, I have mainly relied on word of mouth and flickr for advertising. The coverage I have received from the Herald really sorta got the exposure going for me much faster.

My current show The Children of God is based around my feelings toward the stupidity of human nature and how we really are all the same no matter what religion or race we still make the same mistakes. I am a very non violent person and do not like guns or war.

Many people misinterpret my work and that is fine some people are not ready for it. My "real life" experiences are my inspiration for many of the works. I can elaborate more on this if u want, I also rarely use models so the subject is always myself as I don't really want to harm others even tho many many avies request me to use them in shoots.

I used to be more open about my real life but I get alot of hate mail and sex requests so I kinda withdrew more than usual. I am not in Second Life(tm) to date or have sex or sell anything, recently someone told me I was a "visual terrorist" I guess that kinda fits. I do enjoy my SL friends and enjoy hanging out with them and going to other avies art shows.

I would be happy to share more if you have specific questions or anything else you want to know about me or the work. My main goal is exposure of my work so anything you could do would be great
Don't forget, the exhibition is Children of God, it's on in Second Life right now and the artist is Jenn Villota - teleport there now.

If you find the exhibition compelling - remember to tell your friends and - should the mood strike - write a post and help promote the exhibition.

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