African Students’ Work Highlight of Art Sale
The artwork of her African students will be highlighted at the third annual art sale of Jessie Mackay’s paintings. As in the past two years, a special opportunity to view and purchase paintings of this internationally recognized artist is being offered to Moore County residents Saturday, May 15, and Sunday, May 16.
The sale will raise funds for Karimu, the foundation that was started by Jessie Mackay and Talmage Bandy, both members of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Southern Pines, following their first trip to Tanzania three summers ago. The purpose of the foundation is to help meet the most basic needs of the people with whom the two have come in contact over their repeated trips to Africa. Karimu is a Kiswahili word meaning benevolence.
Tally Bandy, a deacon for the North Carolina Episcopal Diocese, who teaches classes in pastoral care at the Msalato Theological College on their trips to Tanzania, observes that the average Tanzanian earns about $250 a year.
“Theirs is an agrarian society for the most part,” she says. “The people in the villages live very humbly in one-room block houses, often without furniture, sleeping on the floor on animal skins.”
The present objective is to raise funds for a school bus for the children of the Bishop Stanway Primary School in Dodoma, about 40 kilometers from Dar Es Salaam, the nearest major city. Mackay has taught art at the school for the past three summers and will continue art education with the children for the fourth time later this year.
Mackay explains that the parents of the children are assessed a transport fee that is paid by the school to a company that uses several old ramshackle and dangerous vehicles called dala-dalas
“It would be more economical and much safer for the school to have its own bus,” she says.
The children at the Bishop Stanway School had never seen a paintbrush, or for that matter, a crayon, when Mackay first came in the summer of 2008. The artwork that they have done, samples of which are part of the upcoming show, are primarily simple drawings depicting African culture and what life is like in their villages.
Some show women carrying water jugs and pots on their heads; others include family scenes with chickens and their animals; some feature men dressed like warriors with shields, or children playing soccer.
The sketches and drawings on display in the show have all been framed, and are for sale at modest prices representing the cost of the framing. Jane Rhodes, of The Framer’s Cottage in Southern Pines, has donated all the framing materials.
The exhibition of the students’ work and a number of Jessie Mackay’s own paintings is taking place at the Saint Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Seven Lakes. Mackay’s own work spans a variety of landscapes, people, still life objects and all kinds of animals. The subjects represent various locales — Africa, France and the Isle of Skye, as well as North Carolina. There are differing sizes (and prices) for her paintings, which are discounted substantially below the prices charged by the galleries that normally handle her work.
All proceeds from the sale of the students’ work will be passed directly to the students, with the proceeds from the sale of Mackay’s paintings benefiting the Karimu Foundation. It should be noted that more than $300,000 has been raised for the foundation to date, a large portion of which has been devoted to providing scholarships to the Bishop Stanway Primary School and to the Msalato Theological College.
Education is an expensive commodity in Tanzania. The very poor cannot afford to send their children to school, with the circle of poverty repeated generation after generation. The main issues of life in that country, according to the Bishop of Tanganyka, who recently visited Southern Pines, are life and death, food and water, and education.
Mackay likes to tell a story about a learning disabled student in her art class, who had limited classroom participation. His parents kept him in the school, not expecting that he would be able to learn at the level of the other children, but because they wanted him to have some social involvement.
The boy unexpectedly produced a remarkably good drawing, and Mackay wanted to give him some art materials to encourage him, but decided to wait until after class so that the other students’ feelings wouldn’t be hurt. The boy’s teacher, however, told Jessie that she should single him out to present the materials because the other children would want to express their happiness for him.
Jessie Mackay and Tally Bandy agree that this story demonstrates the unbelievably kind and generous nature of the Tanzanian people they met.
“They thank God for everything, in the midst of having so little of what can be called ‘worldly goods,’” says Bandy.
The art show to help the Tanzanians will be held Saturday and Sunday, May 15 and 16, at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Seven Lakes. Hours are from 1 to 4 p.m. each day. The church is located at 1145 Seven Lakes Drive. (Turn off N.C. 211 and go 100 yards. The church is on the right hand side of the road — look for the “Gallery” sign.)
Contact Pinehurst writer Mary Elle Hunter at mehunter@email@example.com.
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