Togetherness, at a distance: The Virtual Opening of 'Wild Hearts'​ Charity Art Exhibition at VANDAL Gallery

By Emile Rademeyer, Executive Creative Innovation Director, VANDAL
In March, the VANDAL Gallery-hosted art exhibition that had been set up to support the community devastated by recent bushfires in Australia (with 30% of proceeds to be donated to Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service) was forced to go virtual when Covid-19 arrived in the region. Despite the closure of the gallery, thousands of people joined the Virtual Art Exhibition, a live feed that allowed participants to interact, comment and make requests.

VANDAL Gallery

6 pm, 20 March 2020

Sydney, Australia

COVID-19 Restrictions: Extreme

On a Friday afternoon in late March, during the height of Covid-19 restrictions, VANDAL Gallery hosted the opening art exhibition of 'Wild Hearts’ by artist KRVNM. It was attended by thousands of people. But the gallery was empty; not a soul in sight.

The exhibition was set to be a highlight of the annual City of Sydney’s Art Month and the Art by Night Redfern Precinct events, with 45 artists displaying 60 artworks curated by well-known Sydney artist Lady J Wüllf. With VANDAL not able to continue with a physical exhibition opening, months of hard work were hanging in the balance. So, we invited the city’s creatives, artists, illustrators, filmmakers and public to join by means of a Virtual Art Exhibition and live exhibition feed via VANDAL’s Instagram channel.

As thousands of people joined the Virtual Art Exhibition, the live feed allowed participants to interact with the hosts and each other by means of commentary and requests as well as purchasing of the artworks.A bespoke Wild Hearts Augmented Reality Instagram selfie filter created for the exhibition immediately spiked and has since seen 5,000 and counting social media impressions.

Seven artworks sold on the night. Not bad for an exhibition that nobody attended in person. And, with the virtual exhibition still running, artworks continue to sell on a weekly basis.

The ‘Wild Hearts’ Virtual Exhibition continues to run throughout May with works viewable on the VANDAL website. 30% of all sales are being donated to WIRES (New South Wales Wildlife Rescue Service) in response to the devastating bushfire season this year. A big thanks to all the artists; curator Lady J Wüllf; VANDAL Gallery Executive Curator Emile Rademeyer; Gallery Manager Mariah Dunn; our virtual audience and the entire VANDAL team.

Emile Rademeyer is Executive Creative Innovation Director at VANDAL in Sydney, Australia: a media-independent creative and production studio with a passion to bridge the gap between art, advertising, digital media, content and culture.


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