My Sketchbook’s Bridge Year

Anne Cohen - Senegal


May 18, 2017

 

 

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My first drawing in my first sketchbook. My seat on the airplane from SEA to SFO!
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A sketch from PDT. During sessions, I would switch between sketching the presenters and taking notes. This sketch turned out to be a combination of multiple speakers in one day because I ran out of time. “Made of steel’ was a line in a fellow’s speak up earlier that morning that stuck with me. For me, PDT was the hardest part of the program because I didn’t know what to expect from the following months.
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My savior during language classes for the first month in Dakar. Both sketching and the fan, because that classroom was so hot and the teacher only spoke French.
Some of the few sketches I managed in my first home stay in Mboro. Although I only spent a week living with the Dabo family, I created some incredible bonds that stayed with us throughout the year. The first sketch is of the counter in my host mother’s boutique where we sat, sucking on crème and swatting flies. The second is my strong, defiant and beautiful cousin, Aïcha.
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The windows in my bedroom. A huge value in Senegalese culture is sharing. It didn’t take me long to realize that the sharing applied to spaces too, which I was not used to. My room was as close as I could get to personal space in my house. This year, I learned that I don’t like drawing in front of others, so this was the main place where I ended up drawing. As I write this now, I kind of miss the endless company and memories which it created.
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My favorite part of our house; the roof. Inside the door are the stairs leading up to the roof. The door, the tin roof in the rain, the tin roof when the pigeons land on top and the mischievous chicken living on my roof who liked to sneak down the stairs made such specific sounds that are still so clear in my headMy siblings saw this drawing and added their own little details.
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My siblings’ favorite television viewing position: directly in front of the TV. I made two different sketches that depicted their habit. The two pictures made my family laugh and my siblings decided to help me with my coloring and details on the first sketch.
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After my family realized that I liked to draw, they would give me pictures and ideas for me to draw. My mother pulled out a cloth with a squirrel on it and asked me to draw it for her. The first drawing is a re-creation of a magazine advertisement scrap for flowers that my mother also gave me.
A sketch of a child sleeping under the moon. I did most of my sketches at night, because I realized that I don’t like drawing in front of other people.
The whole cohort was supposed to be journaling, but I’m not a fan of forced journaling so I drew one of our team leaders, Marieme, instead.
My mother on the path to the beach. The combination of how she carries herself with the beautiful colors, textures and patterns that she wore, constantly impressed me. I have an image of her walking along this sandy path lined with dull brown houses, dressed in her usual bright yellow dress with shades of orange, pink and red wrapped around her.
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Sketches from long bus rides. The first one was during independent travel, when we made the mistake of getting on a large empty bus. We ended up having to wait four hours for the bus to fill up and finally leave. The result of extreme boredom was a very imaginative and nonsensical drawing. The second was on a eleven hour bus ride to Kedougou for an all-cohort training seminar. We started driving before the sun rose and arrived after the sun set.

 

Anne Cohen