Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Fahima Munene & Steven Payne - Expanding Upon Fahima's Vision

As the subject of Fahima’s painting is her home town, many of the ideas I have had for this animation have revolved around the culture and activities that occur around Lamu. With this being the case, I asked Fahima to expand upon life in Lamu from her perspective. Once again, I asked simple questions and the responses I received have been great. The detail that Fahima has gone into is wonderful. Her observations of Lamu are far richer than any I could ever make of my own town.
  • You mentioned that many things happen in Lamu at night. What are some of these things?
    • After people pray at the mosque, families eat dinner in the restaurants
      • People go home to eat, watch television, listen to music and talk
      • Shops and market stalls are closing, others are opening for the night business
      • The donkeys bray and finish their work for the day, the walk alone at night or meet their families
      • Old men sit and talk loudly, drinking coffee or tea from the street vendors. There are special seats on the seafront made from concrete called barazas, you can sit on these in the cool of the night and the breeze of the sea creates fresh air
      • There are little swallows that return home to their nests tweeting and fruit bats flying around the trees
      • The restaurants grill meat sticks and fish on the barbecue outside
      • The men and women sit and chew Mira (Chat) on the seafront and outside of their homes
    • Where are your favourite places to go in Lamu?
      • I like to go to the restaurants and eat chicken and chips and banana milkshake. In the day, I like to walk to Shela to the beach for a swim in the sea and run in the sand hills
    • What does Lamu sound like? What are some sounds and noises you hear everyday?
      • Donkeys beating and hooves running
      • Hawkers shout to sell things like samosas, fish (semaki), calamari, matumba (second hand clothes)
      • People greet one another (“jambo”, “mambo”, “salama”, “habari”)
      • The mosque’s call to prayer
      • Men shouting to make way for a donkey or cart
      • Women talking loudly and babies crying
      • Sometimes people play music or watch Bollywood movies, because they like the songs from the movies
      • People shout at the television and watch football
      • During the day there is the the sound of lots of boats and boat engines
    • What materials did you use to make your painting? I can see newspaper and paint, but is there anything that I’ve not noticed?
      • I drew using charcoal
    • Does your painting tell a story? If so, what is it?
      • Lamu seafront and Lamu life in general at night
    • Is there anything happening in the painting that can’t be seen? For example, what are the people in the houses doing?
      • At night in the house, the women make tea for their husbands on their jikos (cast iron stoves) burning charcoal. The women have now removed their black buibui and wear clothes for the house and small head coverings. The women attend to their babies and breast feed them. Children go outside to play hide and seek in the streets, which are darkly lit narrow alleyways, so a lot of doors and entrances to hide
      • Some people take a shower and put on make up to go out for a walk on the seafront
      • Some people make beds ready for sleep
      • Others are watching Bollywood movies
      • Women are praying at home whilst men pray at the mosque
      • People watch the news on the big screen projector on the main square walls. Many people stand whilst others sit under the big trees
      • Women take garments from the clothes line
      • Some people go to sleep, whilst others stay up all night talking and drinking sodas
      • Cats jump from rooftop to rooftop looking for meat
      • Street vendors fry oil for chips and light the barbecue for meat sticks
      • Because the inside of the houses is too hot, sometimes people pull the mattress up on their flat roof and sleep, or sometimes the men sleep outside their houses on baraza
      • The doves and pigeons fly back to their homes and their masters will feed them millet
      • The big boys from the street are bullying small children by pulling their ears
      • The shooting stars fall down into the sea and dhows (traditional sailing boats) rest near the seashore. The lights on the seafront come on at night, using solar power to shine on the water of the ocean and the reflections of the boats shine at night
      • The woman on the seafront is angry with her small child because they are late to go home. The child was playing on the street with her friends. so the mother beat the child and the child started to cry loudly. They go home and have dinner, but as a punishment she wasn’t allowed to watch television
      • The woman on the seafront wearing yellow is carrying a basket after visiting the shops on the main street to buy tea leaves, milk and sugar
      • Other people in houses put out their lights, the houses to the left of the mosque have electricity, but the ones next to the palm tree only use candles and lanterns

    On receiving these responses, I was also provided with information about Anidan, the NGO that takes care of Fahima and their arts program, the Anidan Arts and Crafts Centre.

    I got to see photographs of the children participating in all sorts of creative projects and it provided me with a perspective I simply wouldn’t get from the painting alone. The genuine pride seen on the kids' faces as they display their artwork is refreshing and inspiring. Generally, the impression that was consistently left on me was one of community, opportunism and a true sense of joy as a result of creative expression. 

    The diversity of actions and occurrences listed by Fahima is an animator’s dream. Lamu is an incredibly active place, and I wish to accurately represent this in my animation. However, I have been sort of stuck as to how I could demonstrate all of this dynamism. For whatever reason, I’d found myself shirking off the possibility of animating to music, however as Lamu is a place of cultural celebration, using music as a driving force feels appropriate. I have found a couple of pieces that I’m fond of;


    I have been using Tie Ba Te Djigui in my animatic so far. It has a good rhythm and, going by my research, possesses a similar sound to acts found at some of the cultural events in Lamu. Lale Lale is less complex, however I am fond of the long opening and it has a sound that fits the painting, and yet doesn’t sound too cliche either. I’ll have to setup both pieces in the animatic and see what works best with the visual content.

    My next step is to complete the animatic and determine a specific, technical approach to bringing Fahima’s painting to life. I will go into detail about the options I have determined in a follow up post. 

    1 comment:

    1. All those responses from Fahima! You're right - an animator's pick-n-mix! You're spoiled for choice! Really in-depth post, Steve - looking forward to your animatic very much :) And I look forward to what Fahima has to say. Perhaps Fahima might be prepared to comment directly on the blog when your animatic goes live? That immediacy would be great. Sounds like you and Fahima are turning out to be quite a team! :)