In a continent that transcends season, people, society, and speed
“To live”. It was Africa that taught Tetsuji how deep, strict, and warm these words were. He learned what “to live” means from not just a life and a death of wild animals, but also a life of all the creatures in this earth. We live in a life of repetition, which also means eternal. When Tetsuji was 22 years old, under the enormous energy of Africa he was feeling and learning some sorts of “rule” that he had to keep on going, even though he was beaten.
“I want to see wild lions”. With just this one phrase, Tetsuji decided to go to Africa. At that time (1990), there were no mobile phones or the Internet, so people couldn’t obtain the local information unless actually they went there. Because he was about to graduate from the university, everybody was disagreed with him on traveling to Africa.After half a year of studying Swahili in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, Tetsuji traveled alone to five countries with one backpack. Everything he saw, heard, touched, ate, and smelled were new to him and full of surprises. Since the area where electricity was available was limited, he could feel the time itself. The folk crafts on the road, the patterns, and shapes written on the walls, and their way of using intense color expressed people’s lives. And as if they had seemed to wrap up love, hatred, fun, and even sadness.
During the third trip, Tetsuji had a shocking experience.He said “Terrible rain. When will it stop?” when he was caught in the torrential rain. An old man waiting for the rain to stop under the same eaves said with a smile, “Well, it’ll stop after ten minutes.” The old man continued, as Tetsuji stared at him in rounded-eyed wonder. “Look at it. The clouds over here are already bright. There are black clouds over there. It takes about two hours until the black clouds come here. If we have two hours, we can go home.” The old man triumphantly walked home while Tetsuji was so amazed. “That old man read the time with the color of the sky and clouds…”
Tetsuji was relieved. “The color we are seeing right now. The color that is there now is important. The color we see in our daily routine is alive in our lives. To live, which I learned when I first visited Africa, is closely connected to colors. ” This discovery gave Tetsuji a reason and made him decide to use colored papers. At the same time, it also made it clear the meaning of coming to the continent of Africa and drawing Africa. That is because the firm fact that “I have lived in Africa” has grown in his heart.
“Those who drink African water will return to Africa again.”
There is such a legend. When will Tetsuji return to Africa next time? He is looking forward to it.