With apologies, this post covers the first three days of this week.
I don’t know about the others, but I feel like I alone have been battling the serious heat here in Aiud. Coming from the chill of last week, this feels like I have stayed too long in a sauna. Since I’ve arrived it’s been in the upper 80s, and at 10pm today Wednesday, Aiud registers 83°F, with zero precipitation. Earlier today it was 86°F. I’m melting!
A funny aside: and please excuse the haphazard post–my brain is mush in this heat–I asked where I could purchase a bag of ice… and guess what? I cannot. “Ice? You can’t buy ice. No one buys ice. You make ice in your fridge.” And several persons later, with more or less the same incredulous response, I am finally told to go to the supermarket and buy the ice bags. Ice bags. See photo. This is what people here buy when they want ice. Fill the plastic with water, turn over. It is self sealing. Place in fridge. Ice… sometime later. To paraphrase Scarlett O’hara, “I shall never object to paying EC7 for a bag of ice again…well at least for the time being.”
MONDAY 11 AUGUST
Breakfast at 8am. The dining room is packed with tired, hungry artists, but not too tired to meet and greet colleagues we have not seen since last year. Breakfast is served and we fall on the food like what we are… starving artists. I had my room–21–all to myself last night, since my room mate had not arrived. I was so tired from that long journey on the road from Slovenia, that I did not bother to turn on the TV. I just went to bed.
For the rest of the day we oriented ourselves. Some went swimming in the community pool – it is a large pool. Others chased the erratic internet service. I went walkabout at 630am to take photos of the churches and other interesting spots around town.
Fast forward to later at 6pm, (I holed up in my room with the AC on full blast), we all gathered at the office of the Mayor for the official opening of the Inter-Art Foundation 2014 art camp. The conference room was set up like the United Nations. We each found our flag. It truly was great to see the stars and nutmeg next to the others.
Then we went down and across the street for the official photo… 36 artists, 28 countries…. And then re-crossed the street to the subterranean Inter-Art galleries. The temperature dropped 15 degrees as we descended two flights of steps to view the international mail art exhibition. A brief welcome talk about the theme ‘Puzzle’ and the purpose of the exhibition, was followed by a Romanian musical serenade. I was so very pleased to see that the exhibition pamphlet catalogue boasted 3 images – one of which were mine from Grenada, and one from Jean Renel Pierre Louis (Prensnelo), who has been on cultural exchange with me in Grenada.
After this formal opening, we went back to the cultural centre, which would be our working base for the next two weeks. We had a sit down picnic-style supper, and then I left for bed, courtesy the obligatory schnapps (can’t get away from that!) and a glass of wine. Apparently the party continued until 1am. Good for them.
TUESDAY 12 AUGUST
I know it is carnival Tuesday at home, and I am missing it, but I am feeling the heat here all the same. In sympathy, I am speckled in paint. Squint and they look like glitter.
Today we worked, the first full day of art camp. Everyone nose to the canvas, paint paint paint. Except for the sculptors–they were making dust and noise outside. I keep looking to see the metamorphosis, but the noise drives me indoors.
Lunch time, we stopped, but were back to the grind too soon. A final stop at 6pm for three presentations from participants from Bulgaria, China and France. Grenada (me) is tomorrow. I am serving up images of art from the artists of Grenada, plus a slab of Grenada Chocolate (saltylicious) and my famous rum punch. If that does not get them to travel to Grenada, I don’t know what will!
I have prepared my paintings for my solo exhibition next Tuesday. With that out of the way, I can concentrate on my art camp work. I am just back from the studios… they close every night at midnight, so we can get the most work done! As of this writing, it is 2am. Bed. Please.
WEDNESDAY 13 AUGUST
Roamed the green market up the street this morning, but found nothing to tickle me. Tomorrow may be another story–it is market day proper, and I should find something among the wall-to-wall stalls.
More turning of the grindstone today, trying to coax life out of these works in progress. Eventually abandoned those to focus on getting my rum punch recipe right. My 15 minute presentation went down really well. I opened with an invitation to drink the rum punch, and sample the chocolate; then moved into showing the location of Grenada, courtesy Google Maps, and the distance to Aiud. The next slides showed images of the capital and science views. The punch was kicking in. everyone was attentive, and happy… or at least sedated.
Showed images of the works from our first artists, the Amerindians (petroglyphs), and then moved on to images from about 20 artists–works ranging from the naïves of Elinus Cato and Canute Caliste, to the more recent and contemporary artists. I closed with images of our largest ‘arts’ festival, carnival. The audience got a crash course in pretty mas and traditional mas as well. It was going really well, until I got the last (and my favourite) image: three jabs holding what appears to be a freshly skinned cow’s head. The reactions were priceless.
But on the upnote, many of them are curious about Grenada, and the possibility of having an art camp there. Just what I want to hear…. Now, how to make this happen.
And another aside, about the difference in upbringing. Ever hear of the joke about a child, when asked, “Where do chickens come from?” he says, “From the supermarket?” Okay. See photo… and ask the child, “Where does milk come from?”
Then ask the child if he/she has ever heard of a place with cows called Velika Planina. It is in Slovenia, 13 hours by car.