Friday, August 26, 2005

Illustration Friday - August 26 - Dreams

I don't remember my dreams so often, although I know I dream a lot, that is, when I can get my body to settle down enough, and shut off my mind.

The Dream:
I was walking on a narrow jungle path through a stand of bamboo growing dense and close. I could feel the cool smoothness of the bamboo as I pushed them aside to go on down the trail. I came to a bend in the path and just around the curve was a small grassy clearing. In the clearing was a female jaguar laying in the grass, her face pointed the other way, looking off. I was so close I could hear her warm breath panting, and see the pink of her tongue, and each hair magnificent and shining. She wasn't startled and turned her head and looked into my eyes. I realized that I was looking into my own eyes. The illustration is hand painted silk using the French serti technique for painting. I use procion dyes and a rubber cement based gutta. I also used a water based resist. Its color upon color. The peice took about 8-10 hours to paint.

I shot this photo of wild bamboo, last year on the Rio Dulce River near Livingston Guatemala. It was shot at the same time I shot "Secret Spot."

In Belize they call Jaguars, Tigers, or Tigre (pronounced Taiga). There's a Kriole legend about Bredda Tigre which loosely translated means that if a man steals into another man's home and seduces the wife, he's a Bra-Tee in kriole, or Bredda Tigre.

The photo of the sleeping jaguar was shot at the Belize Zoo with my old old old Sony Mavica 1.6 I think I shot better photos then, with my old old old camera, even as limited as it was, with the funky fisheye lens than with my new and expensive Canon Digital Rebel EOS bajillion megapixel camera.

An Anansi Animal Story

Tiger wanted to find an easy way to get food so he decided to play dead. When other animals would come to pay their respects, he would kill and eat them. Monkey saw animals coming to Tigers house but not leaving, so he became suspicious. When Monkey went to Tigers house, Mrs. Tiger was weeping and said that Tiger had died. Monkey expressed his sympathy, but then asked if Tiger had wiggled his ears as he died. Monkey explained that this would be a sign that Tiger had really died and not just gone into a coma. Mrs. Tiger said that she had not seen him do that, so Tiger wiggled his ears to convince Monkey. Then Monkey said that the very final thing that someone did when they died was to pass gas. Mrs. Tiger said that she had not seen him do that. So Tiger passed gas. Monkey ran from the house and announced to all the other monkeys that Tiger was not dead, that he was trying to trick everyone. Tiger got up from his bed and became angry with his wife..."

Anansi Stories

Anansi stories originally came to Belize by slaves brought from Africa. Stories of Kweku Anansi are still told by the Ashanti people in Ghana. Similar stories with different heroes are told elsewhere around the Caribbean: Rabbit is the main character in the stories in the French West Indies, southern United States, and East Africa; in Nigeria Tortoise is the mischief-maker.The phrase ‘Anansi story’ is used in Belize today to refer to any sort of folk tale. Even ‘true’ Anansi stories don’t necessarily include John Anansi as a character. Sometimes Anansi stories are used for ‘etiological’ purposes, that is to explain why as certain animal is as it is today. For example, a story may explain why spiders (Anansi) live in wood piles, or tigers live in the bush. In the days of slavery Anansi stories were told as a comfort to the slaves. They saw themselves like the powerless but clever Anansi, and hoped for times when they would have victory like Anansi over Tiger, who represented the slave-master.The telling of Anansi stories is an important aspect of Caribbean cultures where high value is placed on the ability to use words and the ability to perform. A person who can argue well and use words as a means of performance is given high status. In previous times, most villages had several people who were noted as story-tellers. This was valued in rural villages where there was less access to entertainment and recreation.

I heisted the Anansi Story and the explanation from website


Guyana-Gyal said...

Dreams. Some are symbolic, some point out the truth that we want to ignore. Some are just the mind having fun...or that's what I think. I love dreaming, I remember many of mine, full length novels, some of 'em.

Ohhhh, that wicked Anansi. I think he's still around. I see lots of him in the men! bleah.

Rowantree said...

Interesting stories and nice dream´s drawing !

Anonymous said...

My interpretation of your dream is you realising you are the one who has right of power. I especially love your painted silk. It must be beautiful against the light :)

Alison Ashwell said...

Spooky and exotic illustration - lovely photos too

carla said...

The colors here are breathtaking...I can imagine that it must be even more beautiful in "person." It sounds like quite a process to paint this, but the result is worth it. I also enjoyed looking at you photos and reading about the jaguars. Your dream sounds very empowering...a message from yourself about the power and strength you have!