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Schoolkids of Shela Primary School Are Sailing with their Own Painted Dhow Sail, Lamu, 2012   Nalovi-Willert
Jesko had had the idea of organizing a communal painting activity in Lamu long before getting there. After arriving and consulting with locals, the Shela Schoolyard Canvases project was born: free-style painting sessions with the school kids, to take place every Thursday at 4pm for the duration of artists’ stay. “We wanted to use only local materials,” Lili says. Lengths of sailcloth were sewn together, to make huge canvases measuring 10 metres by 1.6 metres. A frame to hold these was constructed from mangrove poles. Charcoal, used for cooking, served for drawing. As for paint, Lili and Jesko made simple egg tempera from local pigments.
At the end of the project a bunch of the kids took off on Naomi dhow with a sail made from one of their huge canvasses. Over the Lamu channel they cruised, with their paintings flapping brightly above them: images of cars, helicopters, stars and hearts flying through the air, like dreams thrown to the wind. Lili and Jesko were deeply moved by the Shela Schoolyard Canvases project and have plans to arrange something similar in other places, including India, Sri Lanka and Burma. (Priya Basil)
List of exhibits
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