As I was looking at my old drawings the other day I had a sudden pang of nostalgia. I discovered a series of drawings I made all around the theme of one song, The Police‘s Tea in the Sahara. Back when I bought Ten Summoner’s Tales I had no idea who Sting was. However, it took me no time to fall in love with his music and creative work. I dove with passion into everything he wrote (be it article or piece of music) or was written of him. The books that inspired him. That is how I found this song – although I should say poem – and the beautiful lyrical story that is behind it. I remember there was a phase in my life when I listened to nothing but him. This song in particular, however was one that entered my soul and kept haunting me (in the best of sense) for a long time.
I remember back when I was attending uni there were some classes which were (dead) boring. Some people doodled with a couple of squiggly lines, I preferred to draw something more concrete. And sometimes it was not the subject that I was (kinda) listening to. This is how this drawing ended up on one of the pages, next to my notes.
I drew this one specifically for a paper mache cup I made. It was a bit lop sided, not very functional, but I loved it all the same because I had this drawing wrapping around the outside. I painted it on with oil paint which was thinned out to almost watercolor consistency with turpentine. I am kicking myself for not taking a picture of it! The cup disappeared over the years, almost as if it was swallowed up by the sand in the Sahara itself.
The idea of the lonely women in the song who were hopelessly waiting in the Sahara stuck in my mind. I made numerous studies, drawings of them. But now that I think about it, I never thought about their experience as desperate, one to be afraid of. I think I rather looked at it as something completely surreal. Why would anyone choose this desolation and watch almost indifferently as time passes by?
It has been some time since I listened to one of Sting’s albums. That hunger with which I listened to his music was appeased. I rarely draw these lonely women or the sand. Somehow my soul craves other experiences, wants to tread on something other than that wind blown sand. But looking at these drawings they have stirred up all those emotions and restlessness that was there when I made them. I think I will definitely take out my CDs this weekend and listen to my old albums and read their lyrics again.