Tuesday, October 25, 2016

24. Art Therapy

March 4, 2007

This first artwork here is a very simplified painting of me sitting in front of the ocean in Cape Coast. I made it because whenever I arrive at the ocean (on any continent) I always have to have some time alone with it. And considering how truly massive the ocean is I find it strange how my relationship with it has always been on this strictly one-on-one basis.

This is a drawing I made of inside of the compound where I've been living in Daboase. Compounds like this are the common living situation here in Ghana: there's multiple families that live there all sharing this inside courtyard where everyone does their cooking and washing together. Only one main entrace, only one toilet and shower room, there are stalls for the goats and sheep in there as well. My personal title for it Hell Can Be Pretty, even though I know this is probably a bit too dramatic. But for me, this living situation was just torture. I had no space, no privacy at all. Even if I was inside the 12x12ft room which I shared with Mary, people would still just walk in. For a person like me who needs solitude to replenish myself and uninterrupted blocks of time to work on my art, it was a nightmare. I know it was a good "life experience," but I wouldn't want to do it again...

This drawing is how I felt the past couple weeks. On the outside I just projected this air of melancholy, but on the inside I was screaming at a deafening volume. See how the eye can go with either face? I had to give myself a pat on the back for that one. I found it interesting how this drawing evolved, because when I started drawing the graceful outlines I was listening to the sleepy watercolor sounds of Bonnie Prince Billy. But as I switched the music to the latest Pearl Jam album and the red color emerged, the piece just went in this appropriately angry direction.

Shortly after I arrived in Daboase I had the horrible realization that nobody in the whole town understood me at all. My English, my sense of humor, my need for independance, my fondness of just taking walks, my strange vegetarian diet, my non-stop artistic work ethic...these things just puzzled everyone. And I never understood before how basic a need it is to communicate, to be understood. I call this drawing, She Thought She Was an Open Book... (Hmm, two profile drawings in a row?? Oops...) While the text over my silhouette turnes to jibberish, the rest of the text is actually from the book I just finished, "The Stone Diaries" by Carol Shields. A very good book, I might add. I'll have to let my mother borrow it when I get home...

Currently Listening: The Last Broadcast....by The Doves.

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