People Places Destinations

Dadas at Mzizima Fish Market in Dar Es Salaam – Tanzania

The Mzizima Fish Market in Dar Es Salaam is always busy. Both inside and outside the market walls there are scores of people; inside fishermen and traders huddle together around the many different catches of the day, outside house dadas (house keeper) dressed in brightly printed kangas effortlessly balance buckets of fish on the heads, while they navigate the Tanzanian traffic jams of bejajs, piki-pikis, buses, taxis, bicycles and yet more people.

Smoking Shisha at Jabri House in Damascus – Syria

Tucked away in a maze of narrow alleyways in the Al-Qaymariya area of Damascus’s Old City, is my favourite restaurant in the whole world, Jabri House.  Jabri House (or Beit Jabri) is situated in the courtyard of an old Damascene house. People come here to have dinner, drink a cup of coffee, smoke narghile or to play cards, enjoying the large covered yard with its pond and cluster of gnarled jasmine and orange trees. It is one of the places where you can truly relax in Damascus.

Damascus from Mount Qasioun / Syria

The Damascus skyline is dominated by Mount Qasioun and if you go to the top of the mountain you get a wonderful view of the city. The best time to be at the top is when there is a call for prayer. This haunting sound starts from somewhere distant and comes towards you in a wave as more voices join in and the sound gets louder.

Eating street food in Hanoi – Vietnam

Hanoi’s street food scene is a sensory overload with its mix of smells and tastes and is one of the freshest, healthiest and most flavourful cuisines in the world. Here you can eat alongside the locals and have an insight into Vietnamese culture.

Lazy summer afternoons on the banks of Lake Mälaren – Sweden

One of the things I learnt about Swedish people in the time that I lived there, is that they really know how to really enjoy the summertime. In a country that is cold and dark for much of the year, celebrating the sun is of the utmost importance. So come June, tens of thousands of Swedes abandon towns and cities and head to the coastal islands, inland lakes, vast boreal forests and glaciated mountains, for weeks of rest and relaxation. This was one such afternoon on the banks of Lake Mälaren.

Kista’s Three Towers – Sweden

Kista is the technical hub, not just of Sweden, but arguably, of the world, second only to California’s Silicon Valley. The suburb, 20 minutes north of Stockholm, is home to some of the biggest names in technology: IBM, Ericsson, Tele2 Sverige and the Swedish Institute of Computer Science.  What makes Kista such an interesting place is the juxtaposition of the high-tech employees with the incredible blend of immigrants which live close by, people from Somalia, Syria, Kurdistan, Eritrea, Bosnia, Central Asia, South America, Turkey, Iran and Iraq. I teach art at a school in Kista and when I was asked to paint a mural for the Central Zone area of the school I immediately thought of Kista’s three towers. In my picture I wanted to mix the sharp modern shapes of technology with the vibrant colours of the different cultures which make up the demographic of Kista.

The Witches’ Market in La Paz – Bolivia

On small a cobbled street in the old quarter of La Paz is one of the strangest markets in the world, El Mercado de las Brujas also known as The Witches’ Market. Dozens of women in bright coloured shawls and black hats sit by stalls selling weird products and fascinating folk remedies. Alongside prepackaged spells, amulets, talismans and bottles of potions wrapped in colourful llama fleece are the raw materials needed to crate your own spells; dried starfish, dried toucan beaks, owl feathers, lacquered frogs, coca leaves, herbs, dried turtles and snakes. In ancient Bolivian folklore these items bring luck, wealth, beauty, love and fertility.

Morning Commute in Dar es Salaam – Tanzania

When I worked in Dar es Salaam I used to catch the Kigamboni ferry. The passenger and car ferry is always packed to the gills and there is a lot of pushing and shoving as you pass through the gate to get on board. But once on board, there is a moment of calm, with the Indian Ocean stretching out before you, as the ferry crosses the Kurasini Creek towards central Dar. This women caught my eye as she elegantly sat waiting for her working day to start.

Street Market at Dar’s Kivukoni Bus Terminal – Tanzania

Markets are a great place to people watch and to people sketch. Amid the hustle and bustle of a busy street market you can very quickly become invisible. And it is when you are invisible and unnoticed that people act naturally and you get to see snippets of real life. Busy, noisy, colourful and vibrant are the words I would use to describe the hustle and bustle of a street market in East Africa. This is my painting of one such market in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

Women carrying water from Pushkah Lake – India

At sunrise every morning the people of Pushkah, in Rajasthan, India, and visiting pilgrims head down to the sacred Hindu site lake to bathe, wash or collect water. These women are carrying water from the lake up the 52 ghats, stone staircases, to the town..