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lunedì 8 agosto 2011
Namibia parte 3- gli Himba. The Himba people.
Men are absent in the little village on the Gelbingen Farm, busy with cattle or other families away from there, in this very open society. Andrea, my guide, tries to tell them what I intend to do: "Like a photograph, but with this" and points to my sketchbook. It's a completely new concept for them, but they comply and pose, somewhat skeptical to begin with. Due to the cold wind, I sketch very quickly,conscious of their discomfort while posing.I draw in watercolour pencils, adding the colour later on.
As I foresaw, I have the smaller children all over me, and while I sketch, they laugh and comment in surprise as the portrait comes out on paper.Then the model, beckoned, comes to look at the result with other lookers-on, and in delight they burst out laughing, put up their thumbs and show their satisfaction for the new experience. I find myself with a queue of models,or am asked to go to their nursing place.
These two kids, the girl with the traditional two plaits on the forehead and the shy boy, were shivering from the cold and coughing for the smoke that came from a nearby fire;but they so much wanted to be portrayed that they stayed still as the best of models till I finished.
I ignored I could do portaits; now I know it's only a question of concentration. I couldn't have asked for a more intense way to interact wit such an ancient people and with persons so simple in their needs, ready to give their time and asking for nothing in return, not a sheet of paper, a drawing, a dollar. They know we think they're special, and this can be good for them. Maybe I too have given them something to remember in return, since for me it will remain an unforgettable afternoon.