It is kind of funny to me that I needed to go through the process of making all of Habibi's clothing only to realize the one thing he needed to wear was underwear. I went with a traditional fundoshi.
Habibi is going to appear in the Baton Rouge Gallery show, Venus Envy: Too much pink. Along with two of my cups. The show will run from April 17-28th with the reception on April 21st. I can't wait to see what the patrons think of him. Currently I'm adding the finishing touches to his display.
More info on the show at: http://batonrougegallery.org
As expected my brief experience of South Africa was wrapped in the soft sheltering of guided tourism. I've decided to describe our trip day by day since each area we visited held different perspectives and observations.
Following the 14 hour plane ride from Atlanta to Johannesburg, we began our tour of Pretoria under the guidance of Seapo our driver. It was from Seapo that I first heard the word "apartheid." Seapo was a beautiful young man with a great smile, he told us during the apartheid he had been shot by police on his way to school, he still has a piece of metal stuck in his spine from the injury. I found it remarkable that he could have suffered so much and still be such a happy strong individual. I started to look for the signs of the apartheid aftermath and how the population was healing.
Our first stop on the tour of Pretoria was the Voortrekker monument, a monolith Cenotaph commemorating the Dutch pioneers who carried the "torch of civilization" into the "dark heart of Africa."
This structure struck me as very strange, it seemed to be a monument to a people who gave everything for their ideals and freedom at the expense of the ideals and freedom of the Zulu nation. The turning point of this pioneering endeavor was The battle of Blood River where 500 Voortrekkers decimated the Zulu army of 10-15,000. In the end, the best we can hope is to learn from history and never repeat it. "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."http://www.voortrekkermon.org.za/
From there we visited the Cultural History Museum, which had a great display of archaeological ceramic figures of the Sans people. They also had an incredible collection of cultural artifacts from all over the world, my particular favorite was a collection of Japanese porcelain dolls. I loved the detail of their costumes and the inset glass eyes. Exit through the Gift Shop, which was surprisingly interesting! Instead of the normal mass manufactured second rate magnets and copies one normally expects of a US museum, there were walls of real craft, wood, fabric, beads, people sitting outside making the objects displayed within. I purchased a beautiful bowl woven of colorful telephone wire. (a driver later told us telephone wire theft has become rampant due to their popularity in the tourism industry, I prefer to believe my bowl was gathered from legitimate recycled material sources)
The last stop for this day was the Union Buildings, we had not learned anything about the riots and apartheid history at this time so we were mostly distracted by the vendors peddling craft on the sidewalk in front of the Parliament halls.
The next day we were picked up by an African born English man Finley and taken for a 6 hour panoramic drive to Kruger Park. We stopped at Blyde River Canon, the Potholes deep natural pits carved by flowing water over thousands of years, and finally the Sabie River waterfall. Each of these places had little curio shops where vendors would call you in and attempt to sell you everything your gaze, I would have liked to spend more time shopping.
Our first day on safari at GomoGomo lodge we drove right into the middle of about 30 elephants. This little baby spent five minutes making faces and entertaining us. The next few days fell into a schedule of waking at 5:30am to go out in the open safari vehicles searching for the wildlife followed by breakfast, bush walks, lunch, at 4pm we would go out again for an evening drive. The GomoGomo game lodge had a deck overlooking a large pond. During the day we could lounge about waiting for various animals to make an appearance in search of water. After dark we were walked to our rooms and told not to leave them since the property was not secured from the reserve, leopards and lions making a regular appearance in camp. Here there were very few women employees and they were very shy. We did meet Dani an Afrikaans ranger and Jeffery our tracker. Dani told us a story where Jeffery was almost eaten by lions because the ranger partner walking with him in the bush ran away from the advancing lionesses leaving him behind to fend alone with no weapon. All Jeffery could do was stand his ground and yell hoping to deter the imminent meal. Another ranger heard the commotion and drove his vehicle headlong into the bush arriving just in time for Jeffery to jump on the front of the car and survive. The ranger who ran was fired and lost his license.
I want to utilize this blog to explore expressing my ideas, and to define an art movement born of a collective love of Near and Far Eastern cultures.