Photo Credit: Dominique Malherbe

Wondering through a gallery in Hermanus, Dominique discovered ‘My Mona Lisa’—a threaded portrait that looked oddly, and beautifully familiar. Well, that’s because it was an artwork of her! A real-life story where love surpasses the test of time and long-term marriage shines with hopeless romanticism:


Hermanus, South Africa (24 March 2024)— Hopeless romantics, the story of ‘My Mona Lisa’ is your sign to jump back on the bandwagon of fairytale expectations and the belief that even after decades of marriage together, love can be as pure and surprising as ever.

Recently, Dominique Malherbe shared the movie scene-worthy moment she experienced at Rossouw Modern Art Gallery this week.

In a world where divorce rates are sky-high and long-term marriage is hardly the main character of romantic fiction we swoon over, Dominique shares her story where a mysterious portrait played its part in love unfolding.

After a glorious swim, as she strolled along Hermanus’s quaint streets and admired talented art in the town’s galleries, Dominique found herself (and her flip-flops) in Rossouw Modern.

Whilst appreciating the art of Paul du Toit amongst others, the gallery owner approached her and beckoned her to view the work of an artist in residence that day—Leandro Solomons.

Intrigued, Dominique headed over to view the ‘thread artist’s’ work.

“[I] move towards the art piece, coming right up close to the glass and [am] absolutely mesmerised by the hundreds of cotton threads crossed over the square (3 to 4kms of it I later hear),” she shared. 

“I move away to get a different perspective and glance at the other two close by but something about the eyes [of the first piece] draws me back,” she explains.

“The eyes feel a little like me. I turn in a circle and there are people watching me and I think…’but that looks like me’.” 

To her incredible and emotional surprise, Dominique realised she was, in fact, looking at a version of herself.

“And I put my hand to my mouth and say, no…what the hell, I can’t believe this…” she continues.

Her eyes became a well of emotions then, and soon inspired the gallery owner to tear up too. After grabbing some champagne for her, the mystery unthreaded itself, and she realised this was a dedication to her and to love—orchestrated by her husband.

Dominique adds that her husband had the artist Leandro Solomons, title it ‘My Mona Lisa’, because “it’s all in the eyes.”

“The gallery owner looked me in those eyes and said, ‘I don’t know any husband who would do this,” Dominique shares. 

Profoundly, she identified just how impactful the gift of those eyes, her eyes, was, expressing, “I don’t think I’ve ever felt so completely…loved in this way.”

Dominique and her husband are celebrating 30 years of marriage this year. And needless to say, Dominique is far from the only one tearing up about this!

Sources: Website Submission; Dominique Malherbe
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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