A little while ago the head teacher of the local school gave me back the, by now, very tatty ream of A4 that I had given him to distribute for an art competition to provide material for a mural for the newly built sponsored classroom.
Judging art/oxymoron? I know, judges bring their own briefcases of cultural, emotional baggage and so on. However. I opted out by making lots of winners for a collaborative wall thing.
There are no actual art lessons here although its on the syllabus, and like lots of places art is the old joke topic that doesnt have that earn-a-living ring to it. Its a bit rural and most people are on candle power, few solar. Any TV is strictly local.
Anyway they had no subject restrictions – anything.
Game viewing vehicles are a hot favourite and many, many boys know how to draw them. Hardly surprising, as they trundle past the classroom window once a day back and forth from the airport fetching tourists.
Certain boys collaborate and know the exact formula of how to draw them. Across the board they are usually drawn from a three quarters view.
Does the brain turn into a gobbling monster that noshes all our imagination at a certain age (12-ish) when we suddenly assume reality to be what we think it is? Anal representations of the world with a 4H pencil at about puberty replace wildly unconscious drawing gestures of the very young. Not knocking it – they are sometimes charming but more often trying far too hard to be 'real' or 'art'.
We have to go through delusions of reality I guess, but for me there was no contest...Mirrim Zulu six years old...check out these awesome if slightly mad animals...
I liked hers the best which made a number of people including some teachers look at me as if I was a drooling, emaciated dwarf with rotting stumps for legs. An artist friend, defending my choice said, “we artists spend twenty years trying to relearn how to draw like that”.
Where did she see these things? Cant I get to see them too? The kids get taken into the Park occasionally. Which one did SHE go to?
Mirrim Zulu and some others provided the creative design and the big dudes took over from there as Art Directors. They gridded up her and other's drawings to enlarge them onto the wall.
Technical. Practical. The Art Directors had it all sussed. Sending smaller couriers to pass up refreshed pots of paint mixed by even smaller children labour, they ruled, bossing everyone around from an elevated perch with crowds of admirers below.
So I failed to quizz our lowly creator about her animals because she took one look at those huge boys and gapped it. Fast.
She was small and intimidated by the number of male teenage testosteroned immortals who swarmed over the scaffolding and took over the wall painting because girls obviously cant climb scaffolds.
Stoopid. Girls aren't even immortal.
Here are hers. Giraffe and lion or Jurassic Park?
Nice hey? Or am romanticizing again? But I like how they've all got FACES. Even the elephant.
This from someone whose language fails to differentiate between the word “animal” and “meat”. No faces there, ha. Meat face. Meat head.
What are these? More Jurassic animals? They have got to be prey with those sheep faces.
I think the bottom one is a hippo - her friend told me.
This youngster knows perfectly well that hippos have Very Big Teeth. True.
The horny centaur is in fact another young artist's elephant.
This girl's brother is obviously pissed off at the housework having to chop wood – glaring at the girls.
Perhaps that's his sister under the wheel.
SOME have a romantic vision - how are those stunningly essential line drawings of lioness and warthog?
Others decide to allocate their artwork into the social consciousness bracket.
Actually among the older boys there seems to be quite a bit of lion envy for their free access to meat. All that protein. This is probably the first generation of kids growing up in subsistence grain farming on the edge of this national park where hunting is really, REALLY forbidden and will be enforced by authorities that weren't in evidence before.
So most of the village muzzle loading guns belonging to fathers and grandfathers lie idle (sometimes) because hunting is no longer allowed by wildlife government decree.
Well, catapaults, gangs of dogs and boys, reed woven giant rat traps dont really count do they? Easy to avoid the scouts on this. Millet grain nshima ALL the time can get rather carbo heavy. There are no butchers in the area because tsetse fly prevent the keeping of domestic livestock.
So there was quite a bit of focus from some of the artists on various meat cuts. Steak-house fare beyond the wildest dreams.
The vultures have a complete restaurant to themselves.
This chunk of carefully butchered steak belongs to the lion.
Poachers manage to get tusks and even leave the meat (maybe later, I seem to be busy right now).
Two friends collaborated on this poaching scene. The carriers have bags full of horns/tusks etc. including dinner on the pole I guess. They are smiling with confidence but...
Dont realise what's round the next corner
None of the artwork is mine but the pics are.