Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Melting Hail Stones

The Winter crept on me, and I found myself suddenly standing under heavy clouds blinking at a gray blanketed Winter day!

I am writing to you  with one hand while the other is reaching out collecting pearls of hail stones falling from the sky, soon melting away in my palms like those days spent on the shore of this land.

I have been loving my days of Dahab, It struck me today that it has been six month since I arrived to this beautiful Bedouin village. Here, I have been spending many early morning..

Strolling along a promenade, where rusty street lamps stood, mere shadows of their former selves,

wandering shores strewn with sea garlands

and sea shells full of  sea tales..

and bird feathers and curious sea treasures.

I have been climbing the summits of ancient mountains..

and I found solace in the echoing silence, between mountain peaks and boulders..

and ancient stories embedded on sharp-edged mountain stones.

I have been diving to the heart of a deep blue sea..

when a reach of sunlight fell through its surface..

a wondrous world was illuminated before me.

Dahab has  been brimming with joyful wonders, alas it's time now to pack and wind my way back, with heavy pockets full of cherished memories and sand, to the edge of the city, to a tiny nook that I call home.
Meeting Dahab was like meeting an old friend, warm and familiar, and so with  a promise to come back, I bed you dear old friend-land farewell.

"Traveling provides occasions for shaking oneself up but not, as people believe, freedom. Indeed it involves a kind of reduction: deprived of one’s usual setting, the customary routine stripped away like to much wrapping paper, the traveler finds himself reduced to more modest proportion – but also more open to curiosity, to intuition, to love at first sight." - Nicolas Bouvier, The Way of the World

Monday, 24 December 2012

Cat Who Run With The Sheep

 From mother sheep's milk she was fed

and a among this herd she peacefully lived..

as one of their own.

Photos by Mitzi Buys

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Karnetta - The Eight Arms Of Inspiration

In the quietness of an early Dahab morning, there's only the sound of calm waves rushing to shore and right into my imagination, I mounted the shoulder blade of a lonely rock sculpted by waves and time and watched the sun whisper first ray of light into the day.

my vision was filled with shimmering beauty..

 while Eel & Lion fish trotting below my feet like magic...

 when the sun moved higher I dismounted my rock, I walk toward the shore, scattering the golden stream of sunlight reflected on the surface of the sea, I'm enchanted.

I walked along the shore, by mountains and sea delighting in the beauty and intensity of the landscape

I passed by a fellow admirer of the new day canvas, unaware of danger lurking beneath..
below his rock there laid the trickster of the sea, with his eight arms wandering cautiously...

But alas, this fellow crab was fast and alert, he out ran eight arms of  a witty sea trickster and took a fast leap into the sea, leaving a disappointed octopus wondering aimlessly..

When I went back to my drawing table, I found him waiting for me.. 
with his playful arms wrapped around my rusty wheels on imagination, he managed to make them turn... 

as I was playing with eight arms and possibilities this fluttering fellow paid me a visit, with his critic round eyes he moved through my scribbles, from one arm to the other, wings fluttering -I hope in approval- before he took a flight into the day..

and all too soon there he was before my eyes, looking back at me with a curious glance..

delighting in a paper boat, making ripples...

resting atop a lonely rock by the sea 
while buffer fish float around him like thoughts.

and just in case you're wondering,
 "karnetta" is the Octopus Bedouin name.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Gold Dream

 I felt my soul soaring when the dawn breeze caressed the surface of the vast sea, I dipped my feet into salty cool water and met the winds with open arms. Here, where the sand and sea merge with the skies above, here where giant large mountains embrace a big blue sea

I will unpack and nestle here for a while, on the shore of  Dahab, a Bedouin fishing village by the sea.

Dahab is Arabic for gold,  Some locals attribute the name to the color of the sky, just after sunset. Another local story concerning the town's name is that it stems from the floods that wash through the town every five or six years. Larger than average seasonal storms in the mountains cause a great rush of water to surge down to the sea, dragging with it great amounts of sand. During this time, the town is cut in two by the flood, and the bay is stirred up and the sands turn it a golden yellow. It typically lasts a few days, and has caused damage and loss of life in the past as people were unaware of the sudden onset and the force the water moves at. Today, locals are ready when they see the clouds over the mountains, and anyone lucky enough to witness it will remember it for a long time.

I'm still amazed at the amount of good this land has shown me and how upon arrival it felt just like home, and so for now I shall rest my weary heart in the arms of the mountain and breath in the many colors of the sea and let it all shape my days. 

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The Khushushban

Once upon a night lit by oil lamps and candle light, an amber glowing memory of a tale my grandma wove and spun, with threads of magic and wonderment...

A tale of  a very strange enchanted prince, locked within a magical suite, made of logs and wood...
with two holes to see the world, unable to touch unable to hold

The rest will be left untold, forgotten or maybe hidden, in the folds of once upon a memory from my  child hood, where a tale is waiting to be remembered,
waiting to be retold...

And just before you wonder or even ask yourself,
this oddity, strangeness, wonder
none but khsuhushban himself.

"Stories you read when you're at the right age never quite leave you. You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called. Sometimes you'll forget the precisely what happened, but if the story touches you it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever csur." ~Neil Gaiman

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Heavenly Creature

"I was brought by Al Buraq, which is an animal white and long, larger than a donkey but smaller than a mule, who would place its hoof a distance equal to the range of vision" ~Prophet Muhammad - Al Bukhari, Shahih Al Bukhari

Al Buraq -driven from the Arabic word "Barq" which means lightning referring to its speed- is a fabulous heavenly creature of Islamic mythology, often pictured as an animal with human head, the prophet Muhammad was said to have ridden on its back from Mecca to Jerusalem and ascended to heaven during an event called Al Isra Wa Al Mi'raj or "The Night Journey".

The mythology of The Night Journey tells that prophet Muhammad had been in his home city of Mecca and went to Masjid Al Haram. While he was resting at Kaaba, the angel Gabriel appeared accompanied by Al Buraq, the prophet mounted the beast, and in the company of Gabriel, they traveled to Al-Aqsa Mosque (Temple Mount) in Jerusalem, at this location, he dismounted from Al Buraq, prayed and then once again mounted Al Buraq and was ascended to the various heavens, to meet first the earlier prophets and then to meet God, to instruct Muhammad to tell his followers that they were to offer prayers. The Buraq then transported the prophet Muhammad back to Mecca.

In other stories in Islam Al Buraq was also said to have transported Abraham when he visited his wife Hagar and son Ishmael. Abraham lived with one wife in Syria, but Al Buraq would transport him in the morning to Mecca to see his family there, and take him back in the evening to his Syrian wife.

Al Buraq

Shri Kamadhu - The Wish Fulfilling Cow

Despite the fact that the text didn't describe Al Buraq as human faced- which is believed to be  a probable misinterpretation to the text- you'll find Al Buraq is commonly illustrated as an angelic sphinx-like-being with the body of a horse, the head of a woman, and mostly with a peacock tail which closely compares it to the Indian goddess Shri Kamadhu -The Wish Fulfilling cow- which is often depicted as a mystical winged cow with a peacock tail and the head of a beautiful woman. This Iconography is very similar to that of Al Buraq who is an example of the feminine divine in Islam.

Looking at Al Buraq illustrations from ancient manuscripts, one can easily detect the influence of Far Eastern art, which influenced the modern day's illustrations of the subject.

"Whenever he faced a mountain his hind legs would extend, and whenever he went downhill his front legs would extend. He has two wings on his thighs which lent strength t o his legs." ~Prophet Muhammad - Sahih Al Bukari

Despite the fact the creature has wings, there's no evidence of Al Buraq's ability to fly, the text referred to its movement as "walking", many believe that he was flying during The Night Journey like an angel, which would make sense considering his ascension to Heavens with his Divine Rider.. but it's a miraculous mythical journey we're talking about which makes everything possible, including a walk to Heavens.

In Islam, these caricatures of any person, or creature from Al Quran are simply not permissible and considered blasphemous. Nevertheless that didn't stop some people from putting such pictures like this one at home to bring good fortune. I remember a picture of Al Buraq hanging on the wall in my grandfather's studio which always intrigued me as a child...

When I decided to start a drawing of Al Buraq, I didn't quite have an image in mind like I usually do before I start a drawing, I simply went right to the drawing paper and started scrippling.... until suddenly I was facing a strange faced twisted figure,

with  many faces and a looooong winged tail...

 I usually agonize over the arrangement of characters, but not this time.  It felt as if the mythical creature was creating its own air about him and I simply gave in and let it all flow through my finger tips which made the whole creative process feel like a mystical journey.

I'm delighted to have met this heavenly beast, and more so to have been taken -in a way- to his mystical lair within my imagination.