Friday, August 9, 2013

Zanzibar (164)

"Zanzibar (164)", oil on canvas, 24x24 in. For sale on Etsy.
A Pike Place Seattle Starbucks coffee mug, a jar of cloves, and three loose clove buds sit in front of a stylized drawing of a still from a Vine video. The Vine video shows me removing cloves from the jar and placing them on a plate while I listen to Freddie Mercury singing for Queen. I play a randomizing game to choose the subject matter for my art. My random elements for this painting were the color Zanzibar (a shade of red, color #164 in Naomi Kuno's Colorscape book) and the color emerald.

While I worked on this painting, I read The Sultan's Shadow by Christiane Bird. A large part of the book tells the sad history of Oman's involvement in Zanzibar, an island off the coast of modern-day Tanzania in east Africa. It was one of several hubs of the African slave trade. On Zanzibar, the plantation plant of choice was the clove tree. Zanzibar is still a major source of cloves today.

The coffee mug ties Zanzibar and its cloves to emerald. I bought the mug from the original Pike Place Starbucks when I visited Seattle. Seattle is nicknamed the Emerald City. I've turned the mug to show the old Starbucks logo, which lists spices among the wares sold at Starbucks at the time.

The soundtrack for this painting is the Queen radio station on Pandora. Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, was born in Zanzibar.

08-08-13. My thumbprint.