Thursday, 8 January 2015

L'Afrique Périphérique - Rolf Weijburg

Rolf Weijburg, Lamu Island, colour etching, 1988, 36x50 cm
 Lamu, the languid island off the Swahili coast of Kenya where I stayed several times since the 1990s, captured by graphic artist Rolf Weijburg in an etching that is reminiscent of drawings by explorers and adventurers in colonial times but honestly reflects todays realities, too. It's one of the etchings in an awesome book by Weijburg, who travelled the islands around the African continent, L'Afrique Périférique (Galerie PETIT, Amsterdam).

My friend and travel companion Hilbrand Rozema gave me a copy of this amazing book of art - signed by the artist - just before the Christmas days, and it has captivated me. I just can't keep myself from picking it up again and again, sitting down with it, and wander off to these remote places Weijburg portraited. Some of these islands and coastal towns I've travelled to myself, such as Lamu, Zanzibar, Ilha de Mocambique, Madagascar. Weijburg seems to have captured the heart and essence of these places, stunning in detail and moving in their modest colour schemes, and the little stories that go with each etching bring back good memories. Many other places must be travelled still. These etchings are stirring, inspiring, and rousing unrest in the traveller's heart.
Thank you, both Rolf Weijburg and Hilbrand Rozema, for these precious moments in time, these emphatic portraits of places known and unknown, for the sheer beauty of it.

Rolf Weijburg, Vila do Ibo, colour etching, 1999, 30x40 cm
Rolf Weijburg, Zanzibar Town, Unguja Island, colour etching, 1987, 32x50 cm
Rolf Weijburg, Transports Publics à Antananarivo, colour etching, 1990, 39x49,5 cm
Rolf Weijburg, map of Ilha de Mocambique

Copyright: Rolf Weijburg. Source: L'Afrique Périférique (Galerie PETIT, Amsterdam).

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