Last night was one of the most enjoyable opening receptions for an art show I’ve attended in some time. South African-born, now Toronto resident ROMI SAMUELS launched her solo show THE LION, THE WATCH AND THE WARDROBE at Toronto’s Gallery 1313 with a gallery full of family, friends and art lovers as well as representatives from the South African Consulate.The main gallery showroom looked more like a safari with giant canvases of elephants, lions, giraffes, baboons and even a hungry looking crocodile (below, Romi’s husband Frank was busy on social media while being stalked by the giant croc…watch out!)The paintings reflect Romi’s childhood experiences in South Africa – can you imagine looking out your window and seeing elephants roaming outside?Guests seemed in awe of the giant B&W canvases and it’s easy to see why… Before the doors opened, I managed to corral the Samuels family for a photo – below LtoR: husband Frank, Romi, daughters Hannah and Adina (son Josh arrived later in the evening)Romi’s proud sister Vivienne couldn’t stop smiling all night! Here she is (below R) giving her artist sister a great big hug!… and another friend, Elizabeth Greisman from the JCC (below L), also offered her congratulations.As well as the wild beasties, there is a smaller gallery at the back that features some smaller, more intimate portraits of things found in Romi’s closet. The stunning painting of lace gloves (below, centre) was sold – this was one of my personal favourites so I’m happy the gloves have found a new forever home. One of the high points of the evening was when guest Mr. Goce Tasevski presented Romi with a bouquet of pink roses….such a lovely moment I was fortunate to catch with my cameraIn fact, there were quite a few floral tributes given to Romi, and her sister Vivienne even brought cake. Yum, her lemon poppyseed cake was deelish! Daughter Hannah is quite the culinary expert, too, and she catered the whole affair. Hannah is my new BFF – she made the most amazing chocolate truffles. I would have taken pics of those, too, but we all gobbled them up so quickly, there was nothing left to photograph…LOL!
Being Thursday night, I immediately flipped thru the pages of NOW Magazine to see if I’d managed to get Romi listed…wow, even better – her show was listed under their “Must See” column. Woohoo!So 9pm came around and as the guests departed I managed to grab an exhausted but happy Romi for a quick video interview to get her reaction to the evening’s celebration.