CHARACTERS from a Portsmouth author’s flagship novel have become subjects in a city centre art exhibition – two years after the dark and magical tale was immortalised in print.
The Cascades Shopping Centre in Commercial Road will host the display owing to Matt Wingett’s book, The Snow Witch, until November 10.
More than 40 artists have made works based on the tome, which sees a mysterious woman arrive in Portsmouth in the midst of a freak blizzard.
This character, snow witch Donitza Kravitch, finds kindness from all locals except one – who sets out to destroy her as she battles with her past.
Mr Wingett said: ‘I love the fact that what’s been made is based on a book I wrote.
‘When I was writing it I was going through some difficulties in life, but this book is a narrative that essentially sees healing in someone even though it is very dark in places.
‘From what the artists have said to me and from what I have seen, that message has really got to them – and that's so interesting.'
More than 200 people visited the former Thorntons unit in Cascades to enjoy the exhibition as it opened for a preview on Saturday evening.
Among paintings, fabrics, pottery and poetry exhibited are steel sculptures crafted by organiser Lucille Scott, of Little Duck Forge in Southsea.
The blacksmith spearheaded the display after reading the The Snow Witch and seeing the artistic potential in it.
Her works include a large sculpture of Donitza playing a violin and another depicting an ill-fated character from the book.
She said: ‘Matt wrote this book and I read it and thought – there’s a million sculptures in this.
‘Everyone’s interpretations are wonderful and you can see they come from the same book, because Donitza comes out similar again and again.
‘Matt is a very visual writer and his descriptions are so real.’
After The Snow Witch released to aplomb in 2017, Mr Wingett said he has more stories up his sleeve that will become part of its world.
‘I’ll be absolutely honest – this is my first decent novel that I’ve written,' he said.
‘I’ve written others but they’re not in the public domain because I thought, that doesn’t quite do it.
‘I feel like this is a doorway to a whole series about Portsmouth and I’m working on another novel, called Her, set in the same world.
‘It’ll be one of five novels in a project which will link together to tell a connected story.’
The Snow Witch Exhibition is open daily from 11am until 3pm and will run art workshops for children in the half term holidays.