Crabbing with Ophelia
OPHELIA lets go crabbing!!
That is the beginning of a great journey in the Long island bush.
A wild world unknown to me. A world into which Ophelia is about to take me.
This is her world. The comfortable way she moves through the bush, tells me she is at home. She has done this for a long time.
Throughout the walk, the search, the catch, she is in harmony with the environment, while a feeling of ineptness invades me.
With her crab basket over her shoulder, she cuts our way through the oppressive bush, her inseparable machete in hand,. We start our search for the pretty black crabs that hide under big rocks. The red, orange, yellow and purple of their backs, claws and legs make a splash of bright colour among the earthy, grey, deep green of Long Island bush.
Bending, as though folding in two, she lifts a large heavy rock, revealing hidden crabs, releasing them from their sanctuary, catching them and immobilizing the larger claw with a piece of wood or her cutlass.
While watching her I think I should be doing this work but she is happy and proud to show me and to teach me.
As I watch her I try to melt into the background while imprinting the images, thoughts and emotions in my mind.
As a painter I like to capture her daily routines. I also want to show, through my art, the parts of Bahamian life and traditions that are slowly disappearing with the generations and sadly may be gone one day.
If my work could be a modest contribution to the Bahamian heritage then I will have achieved something…
Looking for crabs – 2008 – 30 x 20 inches – Watercolour on lokta paper