I’m writing from Africa and for those that have been here, the words masculine and solid and earthy come to mind. Last summer around this time I was in India, which makes me think in terms of the delicate and the feminine.
In Africa, furniture is hewn from great trees and left unembellished. In India, wood is carved into elaborate open designs and gilded with metals and gems. In Africa, a piece of jewelry might constitute a leather chord with a handful of beads. In India, gold is spun into lace and then sprinkled with diamonds. There even seem to be African and Indian colors. Africa is the color of wheat. India is a brilliant pink that almost hurts your eyes.
Think for a moment of figurative African sculpture. Characters stand solidly and face you head on. Then consider an Indian Ganesha, who dances lightly and cocks his head coyly.
It’s a valuable exercise to broadly classify and then contrast cultures. Which are you drawn to? Bold colors and elaborate design? Simple shapes and natural materials? Perhaps a little of each?
A year ago in India I wore a hand embroidered light-as-air cotton tunic with a gold and diamond bracelet. I felt as much myself as I do today – wearing muddy khaki pants and a tan hat. In all of life…..balance.