"Palombe"

"Palombe" Portrait of an African Chief
 
Palombe was the first person that I met when I arrived in Ruarwe, Malawi, East Central Africa on my first visit in January 2006. I soon learnt that he was “Head Man” of the Village, and lived in a small, mud-brick, grass roofed house on the Lakeshore. On a number of occasions I photographed and drew him, and once again his portrait was the first in Ruarwe.
He seemed not only to embody the Village, but the land and animals that once roamed there, and at times there was a semblance of the leopard and hippopotamus in his visage. From our first meeting he struck me as a man of an ancient type of nobility that is dignified and knows how to bare hardship.
He was also the first subject from Ruarwe that I developed into a painting, because it offered the possibility of making a portrait that represented something of what I had discovered in my travels and reading about Africa.

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