The international ‘The Power of Poison’ exhibition has opened in the Watershed in the V&A Waterfront, and is an exciting display of live and replica poisonous snakes, spiders, butterflies, scorpions, ants, and more for adults and children. Expect to see references to Harry Potter, Alice inWonderland, writer Agatha Christie, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Snow White, and learn how they link to the theme of the exhibition.
Curated by The American Museum of National History, the exhibition with 200 exhibits was brought to our country by Expo RSA, moving from Cape Town on 12 June to Johannesburg, opening at Silverstar from 24 June to 12 August; and moving to Durban at the Umhlanga Gateway Theatre of Shopping from 9 September to January next year.
I was invited to the launch of the exhibition on Thursday evening, and we were offered green smoking potent-looking potions of vodka, lime and apple juice, and apple liqueur. Expo RSA has brought other successful international exhibitions to our country, including the Lego and Titanic ones.
‘The Power of Poison‘ exhibition consists of five sections:
# Poisons in nature, exhibits coming from our country and other countries in Africa, including the most poisonous miniature dart frogs which have enough poison to kill ten humans; while Monty the python is not dangerous, he welcomes visitors to the exhibition, and is in the company of venomous snakes; beautiful Longwing butterflies can be poisonous, being loaded with toxins coming from their host plant, the passionflower; and spray gun ants build their nests in tococa plants in Brazil and Columbia, infesting the plants with the venom to protect them.
# Poisons in myth and legends, referring to references of poisons in literature, such as in ‘Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince’.
# Poison by accident: remedies or antidotes include amethysts, red glass, bezoar, agate cups, and fossil shark teeth.
# Poison for good, having positive benefits too.
At the entrance to the exhibition a quote by Paracelsus from more than 500 years ago states: ‘Poison is in everything and nothing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy‘, enough reason to check out the exhibition! Expo RSA Director Nick Dreyer assure us that there was nothing to fear in the exhibition, which clarifies the difference between poisons, venoms, and toxins. Dreyer said about the exhibition: ‘Young and old will be able to explore some of history’s most intriguing poisoning cases, many of which remain puzzling today. Visitors can also take part in a live presentation about a real-world poisoning case and key advances in toxicology, or the science to detecting poison. In addition, all will be able to learn how studying poison’s effects on human cells helps scientists figure out how to protect, repair and heal them‘.
All Expo RSA exhibitions have an educational angle, and hence school teachers enter for free. Special school rates and curricula relating to the exhibition are available.
‘The Power of Poison‘, Expo RSA, Tel (021) 418-0738. Cape Town (until 13 June), Johannesburg, and Durban. 10h00 – 19h00. www.exporsa.co.za Twitter: @ExpoRSANews Book at Webtickets: www.webtickets.co.za. Adults R140, pensioners and students R95, and scholars R85. Children under 5 years free. Special school rates, with free entry for teachers.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein