In observance of Chinese New Year, Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day all occurring within days of each other this year, The Gallery at Flat Rock will hold a ticketed community event called Pray. Love. Eat. on Saturday, February 13, that will include a group art project, artwork for sale by regional artists and a take-home traditional meal/tea package.
Greenville (SC) artist Ayako Abe-Miller will lead participants in a meditative art project from Japan. “Specifically, each participant will be taught how to make a sensu (a folding hand fan) using origami paper folding techniques,” Abe-Miller says. “On the fans, we will write our dearest wish, prayer or hope for 2021 and then hang the hundreds of fans on a tree next to The Gallery at Flat Rock as a community interactive art display.” The repetitive folding motion and concentration required to make the fans, she adds, is meditative and cathartic.
“The act of writing such hopes and prayers and then leaving them behind at a church, temple or central location as a method of emotional and spiritual release has been practiced in many cultures and communities across time,” she says, citing Jerusalem’s Western Wall as an example. “We hope that the community members who participate and those who see the final art installation will be blessed by the experience and will feel that the project has helped to lighten spirits, refresh energy and make 2021 a truly happy new year.”
The “love” part of the event will feature tables of artwork in all mediums priced under $100 by local artists. Proceeds from sales will benefit artists and the gallery, with a portion also going to the Arts Council of Henderson County’s (ACofHC’s) community arts programs. The sale will continue through February 21.
“I get emails and phone calls all the time from artists asking for information on shows or galleries to show the work that has been created during quarantine,” says ACofHC executive director Hannah Duncan. “The work is there, but the opportunities to share it are few and far between. This has been such a difficult year; it’s nice to have something to look forward to. Suzanne [Camarata, owner of The Gallery at Flat Rock] has been extremely generous with her space by giving our local artists unique opportunities to show their work.”
For the “eat” portion of the event, attendees will be offered a take-home package of traditional dumplings with dipping sauces and instructions for cooking, accompanied by some loose green tea.
For those unable to attend in person, an instructional video for the art project and packaged food for pickup will be available, and the artwork for sale will be posted online.
“Every New Year, the Japanese decorate their homes with sensu and other lucky ornaments to pray for good health and prosperity,” Abe-Miller says. “The shape of the sensu (the folding ribs of the fan that spread out in a pie shape) symbolizes infinite happiness and peace, which would be a blessing to us all.”
The Gallery at Flat Rock is located at Flat Rock Square at 2702-A Greenville Highway, Flat Rock. Regular gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; or by appointment. To reserve tickets, visit GalleryFlatRock.com or call 828.698.7000.