Digging for Mussels: Artist Code: 1510a. Completed 3 May 2015. Original SOLD at the 2016 Art4Africa Exhibition, Keysoe, Bedfordshire. Original Acrylic on stretched deep box canvas. Unframed size 16” x 16”. Handmade wood frame mauve coloured matt finish, 17” x17”.
I painted this picture to get a feel for painting with acrylic (as I had never used this medium before) in readiness to produce an artwork (Artist Code 1510) for the ‘Pint of Science’ lectures in Cambridge Pubs, May 2015. Resource pictures were supplied by ‘my scientist’ (of which there were around 45 in Cambridge) Dr Helen Scales, which included this Gambian lady harvesting/digging for mussels in the mangrove forests. I liked the lovely bright colours of her clothing and the reflections in the puddles of the mud-flats. I chose this particular design to try my hand at this new medium because the content reflected what I decided to design and paint for the main artwork which complemented the lecture given by Dr Scales. It helped a great deal to have a practice, although I have not warmed to this medium and probably will not use acrylic unless asked to by commission.
A little poem for 1510 and 1510a.
With old tin can and wooden pick
She toils all day in mud so thick
The tasty morsels in their shell
Beneath the wet securely dwell
But when the tide recedes to bay
She digs and digs—no time to play
As mussels form a hefty part
of Gambian people’s daily diet
So when the time is ripe to gather
All the ladies do come hither
The Mangrove forest does provide
A tasty meal and more beside
A staple that is also sent
To distant lands with great event
But thankful they find time to prance
And hold a great big festival dance