The art of keeping going

31 07 2012

It’s official; we have the world’s best weather (see the previous post) and at this time of year it is really predictable and dry which means it’s the season for garden art shows. The Verandah Gallery in the Emerald Hill suburb of Harare has just had its annual exhibition this past Sunday. It’s a very sociable affair with a jazz band and loads of art on display but from my point of view it’s a bit commercial – designed for the mass market and more than a bit expensive. It is all for a good cause and profits go to the nearby Emerald Hill Children’s Home for the Deaf. There will be more garden exhibitions all through to the end of September as Zimbabwe’s artists struggle to make a living in what are exceptionally hard times even by world standards. My favorite gallery is the Gallery Delta in the old house (one of the oldest houses in Harare) that belonged to Robert Paul, an eminent Zimbabwean artist. It’s run by Helen Leiros, herself a well-known artist both locally and abroad, and her husband Derek Huggins and they have monthly exhibitions that are anything but commercial. Most of the art that I have collected over the past 10 years or so has come from there. It has not been easy of late for Derek and Helen who had to sell off some of their own art just to keep going. So I support them when I can.

Oscar the giant African rat

15 04 2012

Meet Oscar. Oscar is the remains of a giant African rat that Derek found in their well. Helen being the artist she is saw a thing of beauty and to draw him so she left Oscar (well, he was not known as Oscar then so I guess I should just say “it”) out to dry out  bit before starting to draw him – if indeed it was a “him”. She now keeps him in a shoe box but she brought him out today so that I could take photos. I’d heard about this fantastic creature that she’d found some time ago. She was convinced it was an alien or a new species of dinosaur but I was almost certain that it was just a giant African rat. She was a bit disappointed when I confirmed it. Helen’s Portuguese friend Bella decided that it needed a name so “Oscar “was deemed a good one. Oscar is stuck to the newspaper not that he really minds I guess. I’m not sure how much they depend on the well for drinking water but when I suggested that Oscar had been in there a while to decay that much Helen turned a little green. I would think they will be ok.

I know it’s a bit macabre but maybe I’ll get it printed and give it to Helen.

Oscar the giant African rat (skeleton)