Letter from Glasgow: Oblepikha
It was the end of the first week of October. We were meant to have gone the week before but a monsoon rain deferred it. I was meeting some friends, a Russian speaking professor of Mathematics and his German wife, to gather oblepikha along the Ayrshire coast. They had found a source, almost on the grounds of a nuclear power station, looking over to the islands of Arran and little Cumbrae. Although the day was dark, a dreich and drizzling rain, we set out. We took plenty of bags in the hope of an abundant harvest.
I look you in the eyes Africa. I don’t forget that you are beautiful, that your black skin and shapes have the grace of statues, that you are a land of rhythms and colored fabrics, an ocean of fish, baobab horizons, and that your braided heads children are living treasures. I look you in the eye, Africa, I see chaos and desolation, misery, pollution, death and the lack of essentials, submission of the poorest. I look you in the eye, Africa, I want to drown in the feathers of your Cameroonian Juju hats and celebrate your rites and tribes, abandon myself to your music, let myself be carried away by your trance, no longer see.
I have been editing together clips sent to me from around the world to make my film. The unfolding film, Treeline, does in a way erase borders as I stitch together an endless forest landscape, with natural and man-made, planted, destroyed, temporary and evolving treelines. This drawing is of lines from a place that inspired the film – a pipeline carrying maple sap, a view above treeline, and a beaver dam changing the flow of the Moose River. The drawing is for C on her birthday.