It is rare that I will paint something, especially a tree, from a photograph. Especially rare for me to paint a baobab that I have not known personally, for there is something mystical about these giants that is not captured through a lens…a presence and a power which can be felt only when you stand at its feet. So for me, this is not a portrait of a tree, but a celebration of the spirit of the man who is both mentor and friend to me.
I have no doubt that I will visit this tree one day and pay my respects. It is situated at Oshakati in Namibia and is in fact a wedding chapel. In Africa, many trees are churches and this particular tree over thousands of years has opened up its trunk to create a hollow where 10 people can be seated within the belly of the trunk. The bomas (fences) are where the guests set up their camps for the wedding party. I was not aware of these interesting facts when I drew the tree and at first was tempted to not draw the bomas…. I am rather glad I did.