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The Gambia and beyond!

This is Fatou and she lives in The Gambia.

In the shade of a Mango tree (Mangifera indica), she spoke about her traditions and beliefs surrounding the local herbs and trees in her native lands. Fatou told of the curative powers of the Lemon tree leaves for cold relief, Eucalyptus leaves for relieving sinus pain and pressure and Lavender to keep the mosquitos at bay.

The people of The Gambia may have many challenges in their day, but their connection to Nature is an inspiration.

Lemon trees rescued and replanted.

The foundations for this house build will come complete with a Mango tree; a testament of true love and acceptance that trees have high value in Gambian life.

This is a Wonjo (Hibiscus roselle) plant that is growing in a compound.* With care this plant will spread and the flowers will be used to make a drink that is packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, protein and fiber.

Trees and plants are woven into the fabric and folklore of the Gambian way of life. This trip to The Gambia was my way of trying to gain a deeper understanding of my relationship with trees, not just the trees of Scotland but trees everywhere. What draws me to them? What lessons can I learn from my exploration of their own stories? How do I translate my findings into a three dimensional sculpture that the viewer can connect to?

Inspiration is sometimes elusive and comes along when you least expect it…

It was whilst I was playing with the shell and flesh of a freshly picked coconut that I realised that it is the patterns in nature that can tell the story of nature. If I make this story vivid using visual art as my medium as opposed to words, then what I could accomplish is the creation of an experience rather than the viewing of an object.

Brain patterning in an individual is both unique to that individual as well as being repeated in various forms in others: we all laugh and love, we all have attributes that enable us to connect with each other.

Patterns in nature are visible everywhere. These patterns are what I connect with. These patterns are cross-cultural allowing each of us to see our own interpretations of what we see and feel. It is the patterns of nature that will lead me to my three-dimensional sculpture. Where the patterns come from are less significant. The fact that they exist is what is important.

Trees can give us a unique perspective on our lives and maybe I need to listen to a very wise man that I shared a meal with…”When I need inspiration I go to the bush. The trees let me listen” Ousman Jammeh.

* A walled piece of ground with dwellings within it. An extended family would live there.

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