Wednesday, October 26, 2016

4. Wisdom from a Japanese tourist

January 8, 2007

Everything here in Accra is going well, I've been helping Kelvin at the JAC office and I'll go to Adeiso to start teaching later this week. I look forward to sampling small-town life, because the capital has been a little overwhelming and loud for me! I have so many thoughts and ideas whizzing through my head, I wish I could share it all. I'll start with some art…..

It's a contradiction. Wading in this distinctly different culture, this proud and long-rooted culture, I feel I disappear in the sheer mass of people. The mass that confirms just how small I really am. But at the same time, I feel the eyes on my back and know how much I in fact stand out. I tried to capture this duality in the drawing below…

And now my wisdom from a Japanese tourist…So my house is too dark at night for me to draw, and all the local nightspots are too dark/ too loud/ too problematic to visit if you're a lone pretty obruni. So I was pleased to find a pub only 2 blocks from me that's bright and quiet…the only Irish pub in all Accra. Go figure! Anyway, I was there the other night and struck up a conversation with a Japanese man. When I asked him how he likes Ghana he beamed, "I love it! In Japan, you don't stand out. You get no attention. But here, everyone notice me! Kids always happy to see me, always smiling." The simplicity of his statement made me wonder why I cringe from all the attention I receive here. I should learn from this man and simply enjoy it. Go with it. It's yes, just that simple. So this is the instance that inspired the comic below…

This next drawing is about my favorite time of the day. Every night, (after I have my cold-water-shower-from-a-bucket) I lay on my bed, feeling the fan blow on my skin and looking at the dappled lights that land on my mosquito netting. The breeze nudges the fabric to ripple, and it looks like it's magically floating. Add to this scene a carefully-chosen lullaby from my ipod, and it's pretty much perfect.

Some of the trees here are so tall and slender that they look surreal to me, like they have no support. So I wondered, what is one just kept growing? What if one tree just wanted to see what was up there…(There's a little periscope in the branches, but that's probably hard to see in the photo)

This next painting was inspired by the bark of a coconut tree I saw at the Aburi Botanical Gardens this weekend. I liked the worn texture and all the interesting layers…

At Aburi I drew this picture of a ceibe petendra tree. It's a HUGE tree, and they say that it actually walks…just verrrry slowly. ;) I particularly loved the fabric-like folds of the trunk. It took forever to finish drawing, because I got interrupted perhaps 8 times by different men who were curious what I was doing/ where I was from/ what my mobile number was/ etc. People here are so friendly and so curious why you are in Ghana and they genuinely want to get to know you—it's strange.

No comments:

Post a Comment