Friday, April 10, 2015

Sketchbook Travel to the Gingerbread Houses of Dictionary Land

It has been two weeks since my last post.  My nocturnal studio sessions came to an abrupt end on 28 March when I sustained a concussion, broke my right clavicle and - confirmed by my orthopaedic surgeon only yesterday - 4 ribs were fractured in a horse riding accident. Who knew that by the time I write my next blog post, I would be lying on my bed for 6 weeks and using my left hand to edit pictures and write this post. Life sure is full of surprises!  So now I've been able to start something that has been one of my goals for this year - to digitally combine 15 years of travel photography and travel sketches.

5 of us were crammed into the ancient Toyota Land Cruiser of our trusty driver and tour guide Ahmed.  It still played cassette tapes! We spent 14 days exploring the mountains, the canyons, the sea and the desert of Yemen. A fascinating and arid place which writer Tim Mackintosh-Smith named Dictionary Land.  Because the Arabic dialect that is spoken here, is rumoured to be closest to the Classical Arabic that is taught by academic institutions today.  A country that provides you with the most authentic experience of what Old Arabia could have been before the modern age set in.

It is the place where Sam, son of Noah had settled after the Great Flood and the land where the palace ruins of the Queen of Sheba can be explored - according to legend.  And if you ever wondered where the world's old Land Cruisers go?  Well, they find an afterlife in Yemen - the ones that can still be fixed manually at the roadside by its driver, that is.  Extremely essential in this remote part of the world!

As for my travel sketches - there was no time for leisurely sketching.  We were constantly on the move so most sketches were quick impressions while the landscape flashed past our moving vehicle.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Slideshow: Sketchbook Travels to Yemen
Music: Hijaz by Magamat (The Legend of Oud)

For more Yemeni/Arabic inspired material:
READ: Tim Mackintosh-Smith, Wilfred Thesiger, Freya Stark
WATCH: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
LISTEN: The Legend of Oud by Magamat

Here is a beautiful Jewish Yemeni folk song by Noa and friends:


Lize Duvenhage said...

Keep 'em comin'
please sisi! XXX

Anel Stricker-Bessinger said...

Thanks Lizi! More on the way!

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