8th February 13
A day of smearing paint about the place. A painting of the ‘jump dancing’, which I find fascinating. You see school kids jumping in the playgrounds, and at the various ceremonies there are always a bunch of guys who are able to do the seemingly impossible. The canvas was smaller than I would have liked, but I’m still happy that I captured the essence of something special.
I also wanted to see how the charcoal and acrylic would transfer onto the raw linen from Switzerland. Reasonably happy with the portrait of a traditional warrior dancer. Fun, if exhausting.
Busy morning collecting more dots in meetings and getting sick people to various locations for treatment. The toll being taken on our staff through illness is becoming a real concern. Partly the stress of being here, partly the country and partly because people aren’t looking after themselves properly.
Juba Town, eerily quiet on my jog.
My painting of the refugees in Blue Nile has been selected for the next finalist round of the international Saatchi Living Colour competition. The next round of judging is by a bunch of art gallery curators. Will be interesting to see how its viewed alongside the crazy/abstract stuff.
Aweil Northern Bahr el Ghazal
Very warm, after a very hot day, the relief of the air conditioned vehicle staggering. My accommodation, a tent of dubious construction, under huge mango trees, which although basic was comfortable. I did see a lilac breasted roller on my way back from the airport which was special.
It’s almost incomprehensible that this patch of browns is actually a flood plain. For ten months of the year waters from the Central African Republic empty onto the plains, creating the biggest rice producing region is South Sudan. For now, the brown is broken by the odd patch of black, where the rice fields have been burnt. Water, equally brown is restricted to a few stagnant rivers and pools. Of the gazelles that roamed these plains, from which the name Bahr el Ghazal is taken, there are only memories. Decimated by war and automatic weapons.
Aweil has a railway line, which rumor has it, actually functions, linking Khartoum to Wau. The Main Street, an asphalt strip between mango trees. Bedajas adding their two stroke fumes between the donkey carts and 4×4’s. After our meeting with the governor, a meal that included some sort of wild bird. Tasty, tough!
The trees, driving out to our project in Amerjal, were amazing. Giants, tortured limbs twisted and gnarled. Remnants of an ancient forest of evil men??