Not your average evening at Cascades shopping centre.
As I walked from my taxi to the entrance of Cascades on a dark autumnal evening it became clear this was not going to be your usual exhibition opening. A mysterious black-clad woman is playing the violin outside in the deserted shopping precinct, a few hardy souls are watching rapt. Where have they come from?
On reaching the entrance I’m offered my drink of choice, a cold white wine, by a charmingly dressed smiling young man. There’s music playing, dozens of people are smiling and chatting, there are cameras, lights, action! A strange man is offering Tarot readings, a beautiful woman is singing and playing the guitar and spooky tales are being told.
What is going on here?
An empty unit in a city centre shopping mall has been transformed into a magical wonderland by a dedicated team of writers, artists, musicians and performers from Portsmouth and beyond and this is all in response to a shout out by local blacksmith artist Lucille Scott for artists to create a piece of work inspired by the Portsmouth based novel The Snow Witch by writer and historian Matt Wingett. Over 40 artists have taken part and the venue is filled with amazing, beautifully displayed and lit, original work from across the spectrum, fine art, sculpture, glasswork, gilding, poetry, film but that isn’t all…
Suddenly a row erupts, the mysterious violinist from outside is yelling at the strange man with the tarot cards, the room goes silent… she is furious…why is this?All I can tell you is that it is the launch and part of the annual extravaganza of all things dark and the underworld, PORTSMOUTH DARKFEST, in association with transmedia storytelling project CURSED CITY-DARK TIDE. The exhibition will be open for three weeks and runs alongside dozens of events and happenings on the streets of Portsmouth.
To find out more, and become part of the story, just follow those links!