Monday, 2 June 2014

Jacob says . . .

Sand, Sun, Sail.

Venturing into the heat of the morning, we headed for the white sands with cameras and ideas ready for some sand sculpting. With the tide being out quite far, the vast beach was laid bare, enticing crabs out of their holes and trees from their usual underwater cover. Our spot we aimed for, accompanied by various fisherman and boats, was a happy mixture of sea debris, white and soggy sands. Already the sun was punishing us for leaving the sanctuary of shade, yet we pressed in hard and cracked on with our various ideas.

Whilst some sculptures worked nicely, boasting a mergence with the surroundings as well as giving itself a reason to be, others failed. It was the first time, for me, that I misunderstood how different this part of the world truly is. Going head strong into an idea involving a lot of building, animation, timing and co-ordination, I soon fell head long into difficulties. The way the landscape works with and against you, the way the sun beats continuously upon you, the way the sand shifts beneath you. So many factors that can change the way you work on something or engage with something. My idea was shot, mostly, if not all, to do with my lack of understanding for what I could get away with. A few hours in, we headed home, sculptures glistening behind us.

Word soon arrived that the sail, could, maybe, possibly be done today. It’s a running theme that has joined us throughout the last few days like an old friend. Miss-communication here is in abundance; with usually about 12 different people thinking 12 different plans at one time. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just means that there’s more time given to the actual plan.

Yet, today the sail came through. After a few touches up of the sand sculptures (mine was destroyed by unknown assailants in our absence), we got back to discover a freshly delivered sail, spread eagle on the lawn. Actions stations.

The past week, we have painted three butterflies, smaller than the sail. Our process is now down to around 3 hours, and with the sun now sinking faster than my sand sculpture idea, we had little to no time to nail down the painting. Paints, stencils, drawings, rulers, chalks were grabbed, lost, grabbed and thrown down in a great swirl of activity. With the sky turning purple and orange as we lay down the sail in a nicer spot (even against time, one has to think of aesthetics), we started to sketch out the rather huge butterfly.

For the past week we have been mentoring some local lads, mostly we paint together, solving problems as they arrive. Two of them helped us today with the sail, with no questions asked, after school. It boggles the mind to think that they are so chilled about doing what the crazy Akunha has come up with on the day. Painting a sail is greatly unheard of here, yet they got stuck in without a blink. By now they knew the score, and the great rotational painting circle ensued, with 5-8 people all holding paint brushes. By nightfall the sail was painted, looking swish and (with the help of car lights) had attracted a fair sized crowd. It was a great achievement, and a great collaboration. We’re all talking tonight about how cool it shall look upon the dhow. Or not. Only time will tell, and knowing what I now know about this place, it could take a while.

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