“My mum did that one, that one, that one, that one, that one, that one and that one!” says the artist’s child, proudly and with the particular hyperactivity of a 10-year-old girl. She is one of a tribe of children – girls, mainly – who, I can tell by their stylish and rather grown-up outfits, belong to that category of parents that lie somewhere between hippies and yuppies. Their mothers stand in loose huddles, leaving lipstick marks on glasses of white wine as they slap each other lightly on the arm and throw their heads back in laughter.
Couples peruse colourful pieces in acrylic paint, one by one, clopping slowly across the hard floor and talking casually about where a particular piece might fit in their home. A man with a protruding belly and a beer stands in a corner decorated sparsely with pencil sketches, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. He is looking anxiously in the direction of the ladies’ toilets, his view momentarily obscured by the tribe of little girls who dart by.
I recognise a politician (also a little overweight), who is talking in muffled tones about the importance of the arts to a woman in black with thin red lips and deep furrows between her eyebrows. Next to him is a woman with a very colourful floral scarf and red boots, who is waving her hands around furiously and laughing in a high pitch way, almost spilling her glass (brimming with red wine) on the politician.
I turn to look back at the uncomfortable man in the corner, and find him greeted by a woman with very blonde hair, very hair heels, very pink nails and stockings full of little holes that are in a pattern you might see on a Turkish carpet.
The politician makes a speech, mainly about the importance of the arts. He says: “Great art holds a mirror not only to the mind and soul of the artist, but also to ourselves as art appreciators.”
I leave soon after, the collection of paintings disappearing from my mind like casual words over a glass of wine.