A VILLGE OF FIRE:
A village of fire is a drawing that I composed last summer at the
international art colony of ART OMI in New York. The Village of Fire is
one of the largest drawings in the world; it occupies a field the size of
two football stadiums. The drawing was created over a period of three weeks,
requiring intensive labor, 12-16 hours a day of continuous work.
The images were done using fire against grass.
The images detail the everyday life in Sudanese villages. The scenes
are of different activities of the people, of houses, trees and animals,
such as cows, dogs, goats, crocodiles , butterflies , birds, etc.
Agriculture in Africa is center of life; before the start of each new
Farming season many villagers gather to fertilize their fields: they use
fire to burn away old grass and plants. This practice is called (NAFEER)
in the Sudan, and the (NAFEER) has its own elaborate cultures, is very
ancient and very much still a part of many African nations and certainly
in the Sudan.
Fire, represents regeneration - from the burned plants and grass, new
Sprouts grow greener, stronger and healthier.
The drawing also emphasizes the concept of time, and the nature of the
Changes that occur in our environment.
Fire is such a powerful element- when people discovered fire, their
Lives changed dramatically and broadly. It had many uses and was even
Worshipped among many nations. The smoke was used to send messages,
ashes were used for various ritual practices, including as paint to
decorate houses and bodies, and to protect bodies.
I chose to work with the element of fire in this project because of its
Power to both construct and destruct; because it offered challenge and
excitement to me, and because of its originality when used as a contemporary
The drawing offers multiple and complex possibilities of visual perspectives.
As the viewer moves from one side to another on the hilly landscape,
Images begin to changes dramatically. The figurative elements may
assemble or scatter, offering new and unexpected shapes.
Being in the field surrounded by all these burned marks and images is a
unique experience, though even more exciting was the experience of burning
the images into physical shapes, of existing between the heat of the sunny
August day and the heat of the fire from the steal torch, of existing
with the smell of the burning grass.
A Village of fire project was a challenge for me.