Monday, July 9, 2012

World Map Project

My neighbors in Salémata and I have been working on painting World Map Murals in each of our villages and last month it was Salémata's turn. After chatting with the Primary School Director and choosing a place to put the mural I spent an entire day setting things up and gridding the map outline. (Gridding is where you have an image drawn on a small grid and then you draw a big grid and copy the image over square by square.) I had a very handy grid plan printed out but it still took hours and hours to lay out all the lines and copy everything over.


The next day Jubal and Jackie came to help with the painting part, which was great. I took pictures every few minutes to show how the mural progressed from start to finish. Here's a link to the album; if you play it as a slideshow on the fastest setting it has a nice flipbook-ish feel to it, I'm really happy about that.

Salemata World Map Montage 2012

Thanks to the wonderful people who send us care packages we had some decent paintbrushes, but prying the paint cans open took quite a bit of effort (no screwdrivers on hand, unfortunately) and the mixing of some of the colors was challenging. The blues and reds came out bright and vivid, but the oranges and purples came out a little flat and drab. (Sorry, Canada.)


The painting was definitely more fun than the gridding, both because it was colorful and also because I had good company all day long. We even had music (faintly) playing in the background, thanks to my ipod touch.


  

We also had an audience, which got to be somewhat annoying at times. I made a rule that only a few kids could come in at a time and they had to leave if they touched wet paint, were rude to each other, or made too much noise. For the most part the kids were endearingly enthusiastic and pretty respectful about the precarious jars of paint, smelly old wine bottles filled with paint thinner, and the grid papers and country name lists scattered about. The teachers and Director were very impressed (it was funny how surprised they were with how well it turned out) and pleased with the mural; they've already asked if we can come back and paint a map of Senegal in one of the other classrooms.

It was great to work on a team project, and also really nice to do something tangible, straightforward and finite. This month I'm planning on going back in to draw outlines around countries, double-check the border we made between Sudan and South Sudan, and write "La Carte du Monde" along the bottom with our fancy golden paint pen, and then it will really be finished.

(I'm just awkwardly pretending to have a chair here.)


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