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I received an unexpected email one day in June, 2005, inviting me to exhibit my art in Namibia where a dear old friend, Armand has lived for many years. We met in Virginia in 1979 as he was ending a long journey across America and Canada. He was about to return home to Nuremberg, Germany to continue his studies in architectural restoration and art.
Although we knew each other just a short time, it seemed like the right thing to do when I accepted his family’s invitation to visit Germany for a Bavarian Christmas and what was to be my first trip to Europe. It was to be one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. We have all stayed in touch since then, in spite of far-flung locations and busy lives.
Armand’s adventurous spirit took him to Africa, where he finally settled in Namibia in the small town of Karibib. There he has worked as a sculptor as well as created amazing mosaics and stonework. Although the digital age means that we now stay in touch more often, the email invitation came out of the blue!. After all the years of thinking about a visit to Africa, the time was right!
There were only a few weeks to prepare my work for the exhibition. I came up with the idea of folded works on paper when I noticed a folded map of California. This turned out to be the ideal solution to transporting art more than eleven thousand miles.
I simply folded the suite of four “Maps For Karibib” and put them into the zippered side pocket of my luggage. On arrival and the installation of our work, Armand strung a stainless steel wire in the stone building where our work was located. I use stainless steel spring clips to hang them like laundry. The beautiful Okawara paper did resemble fabric and visitors enjoyed walking around to see both sides of the four works.
Each is roughly 36 x 39 inches in dimension.
I will write more about this momentous journey to Africa on my sister blog, Webs And Threads Travels, at some time in the future. Here will be seen the stunning and dramatic landscape filled with kudu, hartebeest, zebra, ostrich, and warthogs as well as hundreds of gorgeous birds and the “housekeepers” of the desert, the vultures.
Armand and I exhibited in one of the seven locations. He hooked up a steel wire and the big folded drawings were hung like textiles. People loved being able to walk around and see both back and front of each piece.
Namibia is a sparsely-populated country, so when something like this exhibit happens there is a lot of interest. We had coverage from the press and radio and some of our visitors traveled great distances to attend the opening.
This article was written in Afrikaans and unfortunately I have not been able to find anyone to translate for me.