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Watching

The Unwinding Series

A long soft breath out as if exhaling away my African soul; I see smoke.

“Pleased to meet you England!” Today, on these new shores I breathe away all of which is already written and breathe in a new chapter. Dreams and hopes from a far away place, only days ago, seemingly gone but for the moment.

Cold. Stinging on the skin. Emotionally sore. The fibres begging a weary mind for help; All I have left to give is heart.

The mist just sits there. Watching. Foggy walls blanket all natures distractions. My only focus now is the game.
The game of a new language; a new system, new rules. I am anxious. Anxious because I haven’t yet the voice to reason nor the savvy to challenge the rules …I guess I’ll just have to take the hits.

I invoke the spirits of the ages. The many voices who have gone before me. In exchange for my time they had left me parables; words woven so deep within they would only loosen when I needed them most. Yet still from those darkened corners, even as I plead, silence.

I begin to hear the sounds of Africa. Low rumblings on the Earth, like a stampede. Through the damp haze, boots, at least 10 pairs, run at me…

“Tackle him… OI BAMIN …get him!”

I stand still and wait for the perfect time to steal the ball … alone, and head to head, ‘crack’, I received my blessing!

“Yeahhhhh well done Bamin, great effort”

The team pull me up from the earth and back to reality… The pain in my face and ache in the shoulders seem irrelevant as my hair is tussled by many hands; a mighty pat on the back, though still sore, seems to make it alright! I conclude that tackling means taking a hit.

“More like that mate”

Not sure if the compliment was for me or the wildebeest, either way, everybody was smiling.

Unwinding

The line is cast out into the unknown… The shell that has been my cocoon for 11 years starts to crack. When rock fishing, shells are broken with stones to release the bait for the hook. The left-over fragments, mere fodder, are tossed near the cast line. The innards from a creature once so innocent, send signals to the prey. The baited hook becomes a beacon to entice the catch; it is at this very point the test of a fisherman can truly begin.

My carapace cracks. Fear and fragments are released. Bait for the test.
As I unwind into the unknown, the foray into self belief can begin. Practise, Practise, Practise to survive. Tears of fear and sweat run over the contours of my chapped lips. Droplets of diluted blood mark the field. The English Earth and I become one; elected as the keeper of my secrets, my hopes, my dreams.

“…MINE!!!”
“I SAID MINE!!!”

The dreams of one are the nightmares of another…

They say that some friendships meet your needs and some friendships do not come about by words…
“You can’t pass it forward Bamin; just stay behind me and I’ll show you okay”!

All expectations, hopes and fears are thrown and tossed about on the pitch. They float around, bob up-and-down until they draw interest.

“OOMPH”!

“You there, Yes you; all ok? Here a moment…
Mr Agar. I have heard from the other boys that he is a legend …a wicked bowler… whatever a wicked bowler is.
…is this your first game of rugby lad? Be sure to show up at practise on Saturday”
“Yeah sa!”

We leave the frost and head back toward the grey changing rooms. Natural light streams through the large single paned windows as we charge inside seeking heat. The only warmth it seems, emanate from the ocre in the wooden benches. Studs smash against the cold concrete floor while the aluminium lockers are dented further. Voices of who-did-what all blend into soporific notes. I sit and watch only to discover that stamping the floor can loosen the mud while locker space staves confusion over kit mix ups.

Taking my time, most had already showered and dressed, I peel away the remaining soil from my new boots, lost in wonderment. Voices slowly disperse down the hall and beyond changing room doors.

“You need to get a move on if you’re going to make French”
The clothes go on quickly over my shorts. I wipe down my face and limbs with the only dry thing to hand, my school jumper! Nobody will know any way as the dirt seems to blend in nicely.

During supper, conversations still abound about who played the best and future team selections. Meanwhile, I’m lost in my plate of something I don’t quite recognise.

“Shower before lights out!” comes the call.
We gather our washbags and with the odd bit of earth on my skin now hardened and flaky, my stiff crinkly knees attempt keep up with a few other stragglers. One lad is from Singapore, second year, but speaks English as good as any local. He knows everything and seems to understand the system very well. As we rush through the doors of the gym changing-rooms, the taller boys leap up to touch some pipework… this must be an English tradition.

The showers come on at the push of a button. There’s limited time before it pops back out again turning the water off. Initially it seems quite good fun but soon I realise it is not. Through the moans I understand what the pipework rubbing was for… no hot water.

As the remaining bits of soil are washed away in stops and starts, the pristine white floor-tiles turn muddy. I stare at my brown feet and watch in wonder… not too long ago that was sand underfoot. I have a go at scrubbing my knees but it’s tricky; they’re sore and the water’s not inviting. Late to the shower-rooms, I learn, means missing out on a blast of heat …next time I’ll get there earlier! None the less, we laugh, we talk through the echos; and soap, I discover, is not as cool as shower gel…whatever that is…

“Hey Lee, what’s a tosser???”


Acrylic on Canvas
508 x 406 x 38mm (unframed)
Canvas is triple primed 100% quality cotton all wrapped around kiln-dried A+ solid pine timber.
Varnished

© 2020 Pierre Bamin – All Rights


£500

Available for purchase. Price excludes P&P
Please send me your queries

Slide AVAILABLE This painting is still available for purchase
If you wish to own an open edition print,
or would like to discuss a commissioned piece, please contact me with you details.
CLICK HERE
Categories
Blog Paintings

Pause

Pause

Acrylic on Canvas
508 x 406 x 38mm (unframed)
Canvas is triple primed 100% quality cotton all wrapped around kiln-dried A+ solid pine timber.

© Pierre Bamin 2019. All Rights

Read ‘The Rock’ narrative


£400

Please contact me with your print or license queries

Varnish makes water shine!

Slide SOLD Unfortunately this piece is no longer available for purchase
If you wish to own an open edition print,
or would like to discuss a commissioned piece, please contact me with you details.
CLICK HERE
Categories
Blog Paintings

Back to the Breaks

Back to the Breaks

Acrylic on Canvas
508 x 406 x 38mm (unframed)
Canvas is triple primed 100% quality cotton all wrapped around kiln-dried A+ solid pine timber.

© Pierre Bamin 2019. All Rights

Read ‘The Rock’ narrative


£400

Please contact me with your print or license queries

When you add varnish to water,
magical things happen!

Slide SOLD Unfortunately this piece is no longer available for purchase
If you wish to own an open edition print,
or would like to discuss a commissioned piece, please contact me with you details.
CLICK HERE
Categories
Blog Paintings

The Apple Tree

Excerpt & Painting, 3 of 7, taken from the exhibition, ‘Credo’ 2007
Acrylic on Canvas – 100 x 80cm
© Pierre Bamin 2007. All Rights Reserved

In 1990 Sierra Leone’s devastating civil war began to take shape and the consequences that followed were documented all over the world.

My great-aunt was one of the lucky evacuees. It was her second time on an aeroplane and her first trip to the UK. She was 86 at the time. For the period of a year, before returning to Freetown, her stay will always remain in my memory.

The inspiration for this painting was borne out of our walks together. My aunt, like many from the very rural parts of Africa remained pure and unpoisoned in life’s outlook …she was incredibly grounded and practical.

It was a warm day (much to her approval) as we strolled along a street aligned with apple-blossom trees; a few steps into our walk she paused next to one and pointing upwards asked me about their fruits…

“No fruits Aunty, they are only here to beautify the area”, I replied. Holding my hand she leant out and looking further down the road asked about the others; my response was the same, only this time with a knowing smile, convinced I hadn’t sold it to her.

She stepped in close and began to explain the importance of planting trees that bear something… ‘harvest what is natural and free’
“…luk bah, tumara we dɛn kɔl, yu go rɔn go bay na shap lɛkɛ kresman …tin we yu kin jɛs pik yaso fɔ natin”
“…tomorrow when they are ready, you’ll travel quickly to the shops buying apples like a crazy person …something you could’ve picked here for free”.

Although we laughed, mutually aware of the gentle clash of cultures, her statement stuck! What she described goes much further than seeds, pips and council logistics. It was a revelation to me on the state of our lives today; ‘Freedom’ certainly comes with a price tag! Do simple acts of giving freely still exist or are we all held to account by some economical undercurrent? We grow only in our yards, in our-selves, what is naturally free; but are we willing to share the results of our efforts at no cost? Like the trees on our walk, we see only a partial side; the prize stock kept secretly only for self. With no fruits to distract us we walk, are we perhaps failing to enjoy nature’s dynamics? If juicy edibles were hanging off a branch or two, one would not only stop to pick, but maybe spend time to contemplate the savouring season …maybe.

I was once witness to some children in Sierra Leone racing toward a tree their target a huge ripened mango hanging there quite limply. Whilst avoiding a hail of incoming stones, the bigger lad in his eagerness to reach it, had climbed quite near, but somehow overstretched knocking it to the ground. The smaller children dashed off with the prize each trying to snatch a bite. A mixture of fear (purely driven by their older adversary who was now in hot pursuit) coupled with the irresistible taste and shine of this large fruit added to the game that ensued. There was laughter, dodging, stumbling and mango skin everywhere; so much energy and laughter was felt in that moment, even for those watching.

I appreciate that we live in a very different world and to think of this utopia where we can simply walk along picking free fruits is purely a daydream; logistics dear boy – the mess, rotting fruits everywhere – order must be in place to keep our lives sustainable and free… right?

I prefer the leaf from Mother Nature’s book.

Aunty Wadia passed away 31 May 2008; She was 104.


Available for private commissions
Please contact me with your queries

Categories
Blog Paintings

The Potter

Excerpt & Painting, 2 of 7, taken from the exhibition, ‘Credo’ 2007
Acrylic on Canvas – 100 x 80cm
© Pierre Bamin 2007. All Rights Reserved

The Potter’s creations exist to serve a purpose; each are very different, but function together to serve our humanity and destiny.

Humanity, as I see it, happens only because of service to one another. Just as The Potter creates for particular purposes, so we are all designed to serve with a degree of wisdom, knowledge and conscience. Do we keep it to ourselves or do we pour out to receive more in return? The outcome of ‘only taking’ is all but predictable; whereas the idea of ‘giving to gain’ seems far favourable in fulfilling ones journey through life. Our vocations, whatever they may be, are channelled through these mediums and continuously replenished during this exchange of self. Our containers hold, only to pass on, gifts which one day will be returned when it is most needed; this ‘pouring out’ may fall to your children, friends or community; much like the butterfly effect.

We are who we are because of others and not ‘because we made it so’! Gluttony is not reserved only for food but that of power. Only The Potter knows how much each vessel can carry and for what purpose. We may not know the plan but by continually exchanging our gifts we are able to purge those powers of their greed, collectively.

The same clay fashions new pots …we are all equal. We each will face trials but throughout this, will continue to pour, nourishing one another’s spiritual strength. When we lose a loved one there is a sudden flow of love from all around; There stands The Potter, with you and I.

I dedicate this painting to the unique properties of the human spirit.


Available for private commissions
Please contact me with your queries

Categories
Blog Paintings

Pink!

Watercolour on Board


Available for private commissions
Please contact me with your queries

Categories
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Sweet Mother

Swit Mɔda

Most of Africa will know of Prince Nico…

…if not, please lend an ear!

Slide SOLD Unfortunately this piece is no longer available for purchase
If you wish to own an open edition print,
or would like to discuss a commissioned piece, please contact me with you details.
CLICK HERE