Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Luo Chief

Luo Chief (anon.)
14" x 11"
 pastel on paper, 2011
 The image for the pastel drawing above comes from a blog maintained by British artist James Aldridge. The source of the original photograph was not given by Aldridge. The identity of the person portrayed I don't know either except that it is an image of a Luo chief (Kenyan tribe), which is close enough for me to use as the illustration for a praise song performed by Luo chief Gideon Magak. I was not able to find an image of Magak and Hugh Tracey, who recorded this song, I had already done.
James Aldridge's art focuses on environmental awareness and his blog deals a lot with teaching art to children. Being interested in environmental issues myself (be it not through my art) and also teaching painting and drawing to children (be it only very recently), I will look into Aldridge's ideas later on but for now these ideas are not relevant for the Top 100 project. Aldridge didn't comment at all on the photo he published but I'm sure he was motivated by the horn-hat the chief is wearing. I found that hat quite intriguing myself.
Chosen for its horn-hat then, the photo proved difficult to mutate into a drawing precisely because of those horns attached to the hat. The drawing didn't come to life until I subverted the masculinity of it.

Magak's praise song, recorded in the early 1950s in Kenya, was released in 1952 on The Music of Africa Series 2: Kenya as a ten-incher, and this record I consider one of the most precious records I own. If I had to give up all my records but for one I'd probably pick this one to keep. (Don't you ever put me in that position!)


  1. Chief Magak was my grandpa... He died in 1963

  2. Chief Magak was my grandpa... He died in 1963