I remember the first time I saw 'Out of Africa' in 1985, a movie that was based on the memoirs of Danish writer Karen Blixen. The book of the same name was originally published in 1937 and recounts the story of her time during the seventeen years she lived in Kenya. I absolutely loved the movie (it is still a favorite after all these years) but really, who wouldn't with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in the lead roles? And I loved her story. The fact that she defied expectations running her own business and working tirelessly for the betterment of life for the Kikuyu tribes people made her a hero in my eyes. I was only eighteen years old and dreamed of being so confident and committed.
I read and re-read her memoir many times, laughing over some of her misguided ideas and weeping for her losses in life. I longed for her independence as I had moved out of my parents' home the day I had turned eighteen and struggled to figure things out for myself. I desperately wanted to attend art school but didn't know how I would make it work but after seeing this movie I realized that I would have to find a way for myself. Thankfully I had the assistance of my high school art teacher and school counsellor who were both so supportive and encouraging, helping me to apply and to plan a budget (which I wasn't very good at keeping at the time). It's interesting how totally seemingly unrelated ideas can spark something in someone else. For that I am grateful.
AIRdirondack Art Project