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  • Writer's pictureChristina

Art in the Garden

It wasn’t our first time in this garden; we’d been here with ice cream cones on Valentine’s Day and with my gardener on a reconnaissance trip last month. Last Week I sat here with healthcare providers and discussed local services and quarantine procedures. But today the garden was transformed. Artists stood amidst rows of canvases. Oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings were featured alongside dyed cloth, carved wood, and intricate paintings meticulously crafted from ballpoint pen. I read through the artist biographies: this one had no training, this one attended a class in sign painting, this one taught himself, this one is becoming recognized internationally and starting to mentor others. Many were a decade younger than me. Is this the beginning of long careers, or the exuberant optimism of youth? Where else could we view original works of art and talk to a country’s most renowned artists for less than $10? Where could we buy original works of art which could transform a room for less than $100? I am happy that there is a day like this, for featuring art and encouraging artists in a garden setting.

There were workshops today, mobile making, stone carving, and pottery. In the back of the garden, we saw a workshop for bonsai arrangements. We felt like we hit the jackpot. I’ve been intrigued by bonsai trees for years now, but I’ve been afraid to invest in a plant which I was concerned I might kill. But the artist/gardener was so enthusiastic. Anyone can do this, he said. So we sign up. Two hours later, we have chosen our trees, arranged them in a shallow bowl with rocks, and trimmed them nicely. Greg’s tree will grown orange flowers, mine should have white. I finally understand a little bit of what makes bonsai a form of art. They said that we’ll have to wait at least a year before we can truly call these miniature plants bonsai trees. I hope that mine will survive that long. Back home, we harvested moss from the western side of our wall and found places of prominence for our new living art. They told us that these trees can be passed on to future generations. Personally, I hope they make it through the season.

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Jun 26, 2021

I LOVED all of these clips and really enjoyed reading your stories. I truly am sorry about your sister not being to come! My brother is leaving in about 2 week for South Africa on another hunting safari...his third. He's worried about being able to get of his flights has already been cancelled, and he had to book with another airline. He and his son have had their covid shots, but with requirements changing day after day, he is really wondering if they will be able to make the trip. Really, I was surprised that you and Greg were able to get back to Malawi without much trouble. You both are doing tremendous work with the people of…

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