Colorful chitenge-wrapped bottle caps? A hand carved wooden fish? This drawing is a mash-up of a few of my favorite Malawian things. Artisans in Malawi are highly skilled at making beautiful chitenge patterns and functional items that incorporate these textiles. They also are expert weavers and wood carvers with a keen and unrestrained sense of color. In this drawing, I'm paying homage to my host country where I've lived since 2019 and its emerging (and often underrated) community of artists and creators.
The wooden fish carving depicted in the drawing can be found in various forms in and around Lake Malawi and around the country. The chitenge bottle caps are often grouped together to make drink coasters and large pot holders and are a beautiful and creative way to up-cycle otherwise discarded caps.
As with most of my drawings and paintings, the black outlines of the fish, scales, and bottle caps act as little containers to hold vibrant colors. They are inspired by my fascination with stained glass windows, comic books, and graphic novels. Having lived in Asia and Africa since 2016, I'm also always drawn to the wildest, most unrestrained patterns and colors and enjoy seeing what happens when these elements are placed next to each other.
Fish have different symbolic meanings across cultures.
"Fish, as a water animal, is linked to steadfast movement and independence. Fish represents the unconscious of higher-self, feelings, and motives. It is also a metaphor for deeper awareness and the intelligence and thought process.
Since water brings life, all the creatures living beneath its surface will symbolize fertility, birth, and rebirth. Fish is no different and its symbolism is deeply connected to the sacred feminine... The fish is also a bringer of good luck and prosperity."
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Description from Merchant:
All drawings are created on acid-free archival heavyweight paper. I use Tombow dual tip watercolor pens which are set in place with fixative. Paintings are made on triple primed canvas panels and the acrylic paints are then fixed with varnish. For best possible protection against fading over time, original artwork should be kept out of direct light. Drawings should be protected by a sheet of UV filtered glass.
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