October 2012

- At the Pyramids -

This picture is not an accurate depiction, but a stylised version of the reality. The place actually looked completely different. Not quiet and devoid of people, but loud and busy. As I am painting a Bedouin with his brightly decorated camel in front of the Pyramids of Giza, there are about three or four thousand men in blue around me – chatting, laughing, drinking tea. There are camels everywhere, even some lying on the ground. Their working day is at an end, as the tourist buses have left. Small boys jostle around me, giggling and looking over my shoulder at what I am painting. They call out jesting words to the Bedouin I am painting, but he does not let himself be distracted from his peace – and I do not either. Every painting of mine comes to fruition in its own good time. Only when I finish it, do we rush to the Pyramids of Khufu. Too late. It is already after 5pm and the entrance gate is shut. Up jumps Mohammed, our Egyptian guide, and explains our situation at length to the man on the gate. “We’re in luck!” he finally calls to us after our wait. And it is true, as we now make our way in a group of  five to the burial chamber. The long way, first below ground and then higher up, is long and low, the blocks of stone are cool, the light remains scattered. I feel like an explorer, here to discover this secret place. And that is fortunate, because we can experience the size of this structure, the silence in its empty centre, and the closeness to an ancient culture in peace and solitude. The experience is a treasure, possible only thanks to fate. Or perhaps this painting.

 

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