View from the back

2 Aug

This drawing was inspired by an indelible image that stuck with me when I was back to the UK after being in Nairobi. On the last full day we took a very bumpy truck ride through Nairobi to eventually arrive at the MPC school in Mukuru. I had opted for the back of the truck in an act of chivalry but also as a way to get the most visceral experience being jostled from left to right and looking out the back window onto the cacophony of people, motorbikes, street vendors, walkers, animals, half built structures and dust. The road was filled with deep craters and like in Mukuru itself, walkers had the best command of it, elegantly dodging the worst bits and balancing on craggy ridges, narrowly escaping large drops and rubbish. This image was constructed entirely from memory and is more of a collage of things seen than a remembered scene in its entirety. I did this drawing on true tone (normally used for creating screen prints) with graphite. In part this drawing also represents a break from drawing on the iPad which is fun and sensuous but not tactile and dirty like good ole drawing with pencils.

As much as Nairobi had many troubling aspects and lives lived in uncertainty, it was a visual feast and the sites of mass human migration and commerce revealed what we don’t have and are missing in the west. The flow of people and the flow of desires and need pours through the streets and through this clearly tenuous subsistence, there are, more often than not, smiles to greet your eyes and hands out to shake. Much to be learned.


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