Saturday, February 9, 2008

(Lack of ) community

My problem with this theme is that I had instant ideas but they are very big, thematic ideas and I have no idea how to get them contained in a 12 x 12 square! I guess that's why we have two months - percolation time!

As soon as I read 'community' I thought Ubuntu! Ubuntu does not actually mean community but is a pan-african word for 'humanity to each other' - which is what community is all about I suppose. This may have been my reaction becuase I love African quilts. That got me onto thinking about some of the communities I visited in South Africa - the township (Khaelitsha) we stayed in in particular.

We also visited Nyanga township which has a squatter camp attached called Joe Slovo (after the anti-apartheid activist). All the children in the townships were very anxious to have their photo taken and to see the result on the screen on the back of the camera. This little man however - whose name we never found out and so we call him 'Joe Slovo Boy'- kept grabbing the camera and was not happy with just seeing his photo. Eventually we understood - he wanted to take the photos! We nervously let him borrow our rathere xpensive camera and he turned out to be a natural. I have a small collection of his pictures that I'd love to put in a quilt. But... probably not a 12 x 12 one?! Here are a couple of his shots of the street in which he lived.

Then I remembered the District Six museum - all about a community that was subject to the forced removals. I hunted through our shelves for a book I had bought whilst there but had never got around to reading and it turned out to be called 'Recalling a community'. So now I am thinking about the destruction of community or dislocation from a community and what that means. And how it can be respresented in a quilt of course - maybe holes? Or perhaps somthing about a rainbow nation and the rebuilding of mixed communities? I have no idea but I trust the muse to deliver with time


Anonymous said...

I'm nearly crying at the thought that this little boy who is an artist may or may not have the opportunity to be who he needs to be. I hope he does. That face! I can barely look at his eyes.

Karen said...

Don't you feel the beginnings of a series here? I know I do with my ideas. Another reason it's good to blog about this stuff, it opens up possibilities and creates enthusiasm within our own community

Kristin L said...

I like where you're going with this. Come on muse!

Diane said...

Already this is fascinating to me, how folks have headed in so many different directions with their ideas. Your idea is really intriguing, Helen, and I'm enjoying hearing about your experiences and how they've made you think differently about community. I can't wait to see where this takes you.

Deborah said...

Beautiful photos and words. This is so exciting.