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Regular news and insight from our many poets, writers, educators and facilitators

12 October 2019

Posted by Aiysha Jahan

Mayflower Journeys in Warli

Group 1: 8 in attendance

Group 2: 11 in attendance

We began this week’s session by redrafting our stories set aboard the Mayflower on its journey across the Atlantic. As the stories can be categorised as historical fiction, we focused on eliminating any contemporary colloquialisms or objects from our stories. Mayflower Folk, who were running the session, are putting together an anthology of stories and art, and we wanted to make sure ours were the best they could be for a chance to feature in the anthology.

Next, it was time to illustrate our stories. Over the last few months, Mayflower Folk have incorporated the use of Warli, a traditional Indian art form that was first discovered in cave paintings from 30,000 years ago, to explore the theme of journeys. As Southampton is a city which is home to people from many different cultures, the use of Warli to depict the Mayflower journey is a creative way to bring history from different parts of the world together. 

As we are keen writers – and not many of us believe we can draw – we were a little intimidated by the prospect of painting our Mayflower scenes, especially as we had to use white markers – no do-overs here! But Susmita and Nazneen assured us that anyone could do Warli, especially as the figures in the art form are geometric in shape. With a little bit of planning and practise on spare paper, we put white marker to black / brown sheets and went for it! It was fun adding bonnets and hats to our Pilgrims and detailing the wood on our ships. As we drew, we grew more confident and we were soon quite comfortable illustrating and chatting away about the strengths and weaknesses of various film adaptations of our favourite books. The Lord of the Rings movies, everyone agreed, were fantastic. The Hobbit – three movies from one book? Come on…

We had great fun bringing our stories to life in Warli – thank you, Mayflower Folk for two engaging sessions!

Until next time, write (and draw) on!

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