Today's drawings were a pure pleasure to do. My friend Maria had generously invited me to draw whatever I wanted from among the treasures that she keeps in an African dowry box. I started with a goddess figure made of bronze that came from Ecuador and is around 500 years old. Next was a very old female figure from the Ivory Coast in Africa. Both these figures were small, around 3 -4" tall. The third thing I drew was larger and made of cloth and Spanish moss. It was a reproduction New Orleans voudou doll, constructed around a crossed stick and made of cloth wrapped around a moss stuffing. The name Erpulie was written on a tag, and I wondered of this was a variant of Erzulie, one of the main female saints in New Orleans voudou.
The three figures on the left hand side of this page are Peruvian burial dolls that were intended to be used as grave guardians. Maria thinks they are old but obviously had not been placed in a grave. All three were tacked onto a cloth backing that was sort of like a pillow. On the right side of the page is an African shaman's divination hat that Maria bought at a street market in NYC years ago when she lived there.
My favorite places to draw are in the African room at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and in the Met in this country and in various Etruscan museums in Italy. Drawing at Maria's today was even better. Having the luxury of spending so much time focusing on the details and being able to touch and smell these mysterious objects was like traveling to another time and place. Best of all no alarms went off when I leaned in too close, and no guard barked at me to stand back! Thank you, Maria!