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Tag Archives: africa

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I have gone back to school and am very much enjoying it. This term we are working with the British Museum, looking at ‘digital engagement’. We have been asked to develop a family activity. We were assigned Room 65; Sudan Egypt and Nubia, it is the room next to the big hitters, next door to the powerful imagery of the Pharaohs.

This room attempts to explain a complex history. Movements of people and culture back and forth, up and down. A story of assimilation, appropriation, dominance,and subordination. Apparently this region has a huge amount of knowledge gathering focused on it. An archaeological long-term project I found hard to piece together.

It made me think of the complexity of history, of trying to find simple narrative time lines in amongst convoluted human behaviours. Shifting loyalties, personal and political allegiances. I wanted it explained, who did what and where? I am lucky to have a resident historian of Africa here, and he helped…

The cultural production of these peoples used familiar Egyptian iconography mixed with more recognisably ‘afro’ features and forms.  I made these images blending the images from the room and images of me.

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Me and the gift bearers.

We need empathy to understand others.  I wonder what future historians will make of our allegiances, our current complexities, inexplicable loyalties, and duplicities.

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Barbary Fig Drawing with Aquarelles


I realised today I only had a couple of hours, so no long labour of love was possible. So it seemed a good moment to mess about. To scribble in colour and enjoy it. The Barbary Fig is a willing subject, large sections of it collapse to the ground regularly. So although I felt a little guilty depriving the bees, as I gingerly negotiated prickles to snap sections from the main, I know that this cactus is designed to fall apart, and start anew from the ground. (So don’t stand underneath a heavily laiden tree for too long!).
I enjoyed the spikes, the green and the bright yellow and red. Sumptuous, succulent and violent at once.
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Broken off the tree outside

 

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Shoe making; cutting tyres to size.

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Partoti getting instruction from Ndekayo

Ndekayo and Partoti make shoes from motorcycle tyres. Very clever use of found materials.

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Fixing the Straps with Nails

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Finished shoes