Kenya, Sanaa Project: Last day of individual painting!

Today was a gratifying last day working on the small-scale art projects! We wanted to be sure that all of the students could finish their work on time and have art that they were proud of to bring home at the end of the day. We haven’t told them yet that we hope to leave an arts program in place after our departure, because that plan depends on so many factors yet to be worked out – finding someone responsible and interested enough to lead art club meetings long-term, funding, enthusiasm from the students, being able to continue using the church space, etc. The people of Huruma seem to be so accustomed to people coming and going that they probably don’t expect to see permanent changes from each group of young foreigners that come their way and we don’t want to get their hopes up just to disappoint. We want to let them know we are trying our best, but feel that we should wait until we are certain before we make any promises. However, there was plenty of paper, brushes and pencils left for us to leave with Headmaster Ben, so we are feeling optimistic! We told the art crew we’d be gone until next Tuesday and they seemed disappointed – many had been expecting a class tomorrow – but as soon as Darcy announced our plans for the mural, which we had mentioned only briefly before, everyone was happy again! We took more photos of the students and their art. They wanted pictures by themselves, with each other, with us, of their favorite Monet or of their palette where they had mixed the perfect skin tone. Our two New Dawn graduate students approached me, said goodbye, promised to be there early on Tuesday to help prepare for the mural, and gave me their paintings to keep. Both had been sketched out and delicately painted in great detail. Daniel had spent all that day painstakingly mixing oranges, browns, yellows, and reds to create the appropriate effect of feathers on an eagle’s back. Samuel had drawn, erased, re-drawn, erased, and re-drawn the front left leg of a horse copied from a small Cezanne watercolor. Irene had mentioned these two men to us before, saying they were two of Huruma’s most serious artists – serious in their practice and serious about pursuing art in their futures. Headmaster Ben had similarly discussed them with us and told us how much he hoped Daniel and Samuel would be able to learn from us. I’m not sure how much we taught them, but at the very least we gave them a peaceful hour and the necessary materials each day to do what they enjoy.











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