SEISMOGRAPHIC DRAWINGS

Matatu Drawings

2007

When I returned to Nairobi after 20 years, I no longer recognized the city I once knew, and loved. So I began charting my experience of being lost riding around on matatus, looking for long-gone friends and old haunts.


My Seismographic Drawings  record the bumpy experience of being lost on various forms of public transportation. 

Chai Road, Nairobi

For a while I was too lost and shy to get off the bus. I remember this drawing because it is the day, when armed with two photographs, I finally got off the matatu and began talking to people. I was on the phone with my long-lost friend Mekdes within 24 hours.

SEISMOGRAPHIC DRAWINGS

Train Drawing

Going full spiral, I made this drawing on a 5 hour train ride from Bergen to Oslo in 2018 after re-uniting with Mekdes in Norway.

video

Matatu Drawings

These are large scale digital prints that started on my lap aboard matatus as small ink drawings.

Despite their topographical appearance these tricky maps are impossible to navigate, instead they simply capture physical vibrations on paper, and chart time more than place, as they go no further than a specific moment.

Street Car Drawings

Aboard New Orleans streetcars, just after Katrina.

I moved to Louisiana the Friday before  Katrina. Lost again, this time in  hurricane rubble, I began Street Car drawing with ink on scrolls of rice paper,  in 2005 as soon as the Canal and Saint Charles lines resumed service.

MATATU DRAWINGS

They began on my lap while traveling Nairobi’s matatus. When I returned to Louisiana I turned them in to large scale digital prints. (I prefer the originals.) 

Seismographic Drawing

The drawings have since expanded to other locales. Their tricky map-like configurations chart the subtle vibrations of movement captured while lost. From a seat on a Kenyan Matatu and a New Orleans Streetcar, to camel-back and dog-sled, this seismographic-drawing process has found its way into my fiction writing, as a vehicle for my protagonist to explore the world.

#PATCHINGUP

5 hour TRAIN DRAWING, from Bergen to Oslo, pencil in accordion book.

Full Spiral

Patching Up

Patching Up workshop & exhibition

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - January 2019


The Patching-UP is a collaborative art project organized by Mekdes Shebeta that includes field-research, workshops, dialog-meetings and an art exhibition. 


More details to be announced soon.

IOWA

MY PROTAGONIST'S DRAWINGS

IOWA STARR MY FICTIONAL PROTAGONIST WILL USE MY SEISMOGRAPHIC DRAWING PROCESS ON HER QUEST JOURNEY THAT  TAKES HER FROM THE INDIAN OCEAN ON THE SOMALI COAST ALL THE WAY TO THE SVALBARD SEED VAULT IN THE ARCTIC CIRCLE

From a camel-back to dog-sled, and dhow to barquentine my seismographic-drawing process has found its way into my fiction writing, as a vehicle for my protagonist to explore the world.

Next Stop Somaliland!