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GOULIMINE

2016, acrylic on canvas, 24” x 24”, $550.00

Nineteenth century glassblowers in Venice created Goulimine beads that were imported to Africa and used as trading currency. They always reminded me of hard candy. Sometimes a painting is so juicy you want to take a bite out of it. Travelling through North Africa I would see these beads in every bazaar. Strung together they became beautiful necklaces or powerful amulets.

A friend I were traveling through North Africa. Algeria was recently independent from France. The country was still in a state of turmoil and tension was in the air. The city of Constantine is often called ‘the City of Bridges’ due to the numerous bridges that connect the mesas the city is built on. There are deep ravines. The bottom level was built by the Phoenicians, then occupied by the Romans, followed by the Numidian Berbers, then the Byzantine empire, after that the Arabs, the Ottomans and finally a French layer at the top level. When we entered the city we were surrounded by a group of young men who accused us of being spies. They took us to the party headquarters where we were interrogated for several hours. Finally they realized we were harmless and we moved on.

We crossed from Algeria and arrived at a very small town that seemed to be completely empty. We walked towards the center and came upon a large square where the entire population of the town was assembled. Spotting us, the mayor of the town invited my friend and I to sit in his viewing box. There was a show of horsemen performing intricate maneuvers. Suddenly all of the horsemen raised their rifles and shot a volley into the air. It so startled me I fell back in my chair and the entire town laughed.