Kakuma



Kakuma - Third Place, 2007 Clarington Annual Juried Show of Fine Arts

In the northwest corner of Kenya sits the Kakuma Refugee Camp, home to the Sudanese displaced by that country's civil war. While I was there, I took a lot of photographs. One of the more interesting was of this teenage girl rather flirtatiously showing off her domestic skills. I had always intended upon doing a painting or two that would encapsulate my thoughts about the camp, but I could never quite get it together.

A few years later I was watching the movie "The Girl with the Pearl Earring" about Vermeer's painting of the same name and I thought, "She had a pearl(like) earring." It all came together from there. An interiour scene with an enigmatic girl as the subject. and on the wall a picture that tells their story. Someone had painted this record of war on the side of one of their mud huts and I thought it was really spectacular; it reminded me of the Bayeux tapestry. I've reproduced it as exactly as I could, to have done otherwise would have been both unfair and unnecessary.

I'm actually quite proud of this one. I think I was able to capture something of what I witnessed, pay an homage to the Western tradition of art, and to give voice to the story of these refugees. That wall-painting has most certainly eroded away, and I will never know what became of the girl

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