Thursday, September 9, 2010

Beauty of Africa

I'm a firm believer that when you are a creator/crafter/artist... whatever you dub yourself... you find inspiration all around you - especially in your travels. I'm a travel junkie. Colors, sounds, cultures, rhythms that are different than our own are amazing things to experience.

During my time in the Modern Dance Department at the University of Utah, I became hooked on West African dance. Its rhythms make you feel alive like nothing else in this world. So, 2 years ago I travelled to Ghana, West Africa to learn more about African dance, drumming, song, and art. It was the experience of a lifetime and now I am hooked on all things Africa. This past summer I traveled to Uganda in East Africa - a nation recently torn apart by 20 years of terrible civil war. (For an idea on conditions in Eastern Africa watch I Am Because We Are, The Devil Came on Horseback, and War Dance.) What is most amazing about Africa is that even though it is ravaged by war, poverty, disease, dirt... and hardships we can't even begin to imagine... it is a place where the people are friendly, happy, smiling, welcoming, appreciative, and never take life for granted. They also live in a place of amazing beauty and find solace in their arts. I truly can not think of a place more inspiring, in every sense of the word, than Africa.

Beautiful fabrics I picked up in both Ghana and Uganda... some of them I even learned to Batik myself (through a process of dying and stamping with hot wax).

Drums that I watched being hand-carved in Ghana by the man who also is the artistic director of the National Dance Company in Accra along with a small sculpture and painting I purchased from the craft market in Accra.

A basket my mother bought me that was made in Sudan, along with straw rattles from the craft market in Accra, Ghana and fabric that I learned to stamp myself with Adinkra symbols at the University of Education in Winneba, Ghana.

Three female statues that I bought at the market in Kampala, Uganda and the rattle I learned to play during my time in Ghana.

A batik art print that I bought in the market in Kampala, Uganda.

Sunrise over the Nile River in Northern Uganda... just down river from Murchison Falls.

My favorite little one at the Byana Mary Hill Orphanage in Masaka, Uganda.

Walking over the rope bridge in the rainforest near Cape Coast, Ghana.

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