I remember the first time I went to Lamu. I remember the thrill, the wonder, the immediate surrender to this magical place. I remember the last time I left Lamu. I remember the reluctance, the moroseness, the near bereavement I felt. And I remember every single moment I have spent there. Everyday. Because Lamu is an enchantress. She is a breathtaking, refreshing, timeless, mysterious and serene little heaven where you find the best people, adventures, food, stories, trinkets, secrets and culture and so much more. Magical old world charm. I could just go on all day . . .
This legendary love I have for Lamu is shared by many, the most enamoured of whom, like me, always leave a part of themselves there and take back some of Lamu with them. Naveed Awan – a friend, colleague, artiste, and aficionado of the extraordinary – is also quite besotted with the place and has allowed me to share some very beautiful and authentic paintings he created from his visits and experiences.
I love how Naveed captures the essence and lightness of the Lamu natives effortlessly in these sedated and whimsical mix of paintings. You can almost feel the different moods he’s immortalised here. The serenity and calming peace of prayers, the brotherhood, community, warmth and coolness of the men and women out and about living their lives.
And then there are these worn and faded pictures of those wonderfully carved Lamu Old Town doors, archways and walls, accented with some light painting and illustrations highlighting typically Lamu features of Arabian influence . . . just wow! As if it needed any help looking even more lost in time and wonderous!
And then we have these stunning pieces of some iconic Lamu hotels: the one and only (no, not part of the hotel chain :-p) Peponi Hotel, and one of my favourite places to stay, Kijani House! Two of several places you just must visit any time you ever find yourself in Shela. True blues and dreamy views that make me feel like jumping on the next flight out and make it in time for dinner underneath the Lamu stars! And a very accurate (Old Town) Subira House doorway! So much fondness and love comes from these works Naveed painted and for those of us who have that inexplicable connection with this paradise, I’m sure some nostalgia is kicking in right about now 🙂 I cannot wait to go back, to make more memories and feel more magic soon Inshallah!
Special thanks to Naveed Awan for sharing his amazing work!