Mission: One drawing per day for 27 days. Drawn on location. The goal was to capture the hearts and minds of the people of Myanmar with art. Document the work, record the stories, and leave the drawings as gifts. Create an epic blog about the experience.
It turns out I was not the only artist in Myanmar.
Around the corner from our guest house sat a little family restaurant called the Marigold Café and it was here I met Phoung Phoung, a shy little girl around nine years old. I was immediately taken with her sweet face and her shiny black “pixie” haircut. I knew right away I wanted her as the subject of my next drawing.
The next day I returned with my backpack full of pencils and colors. Pulling out my sketchpad, I pointed to it and then to Phoung Phoung, pantomiming my intentions. Or so I thought. She smiled broadly and lit up with excitement but instead of sitting to pose, ran upstairs to get her own art supplies! This was an unexpected turn of events but a most welcome one and we sat down at a big wooden table to work. Phoung Phoung’s brother and sister quickly joined us for this unexpected art party. They only had a few inexpensive markers so I put out my crayons and colored pencils for all to use. Silently and with lots of pointing, the supplies were passed around the table as everyone involved took this art business very seriously.
Later in the day I finally got to make my drawing of Phoung Phoung. At first she hunched over her own work in such a way all I could see was a mop of thick black hair. So I sketched her brother and sister instead as they worked together side by side. Each drawing they completed was presented to me as a gift. I in turn gave them mine.
When I returned the next day, little Phoung Phoung had created a gallery of our drawings on the wall of the restaurant with some peacock feathers added in for good measure. We sat down to draw once again and it was on this second visit that I noticed two of her fingers were fused together as one. It looked as if there was a thin sheet of skin wrapped around them and this could easily be corrected by a simple medical procedure. I imagined going home and raising the necessary funds and coming back triumphantly to help this little girl. Then I felt almost ashamed of myself as I watched Phoung Phoung concentrating on her drawing. Her fingers worked fine and weren’t bothering her one bit. She was absolutely perfect already.
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