Dimensions 24” x 24”
2015, Oil on canvas
The story: meet /un /unta
/un /unta is a bushman (also called San people) at Nhoma Camp, in the Kalahari Desert of northeast Namibia. The bushman are indigenous to southern Africa, and because of the remote and desolate location, this community was one of the last to be discovered in 1958. There were only four hunters left in the village and /un /unta is the youngest hunter at 43 years old. All the younger men of this community were not interested in learning to hunt traditionally, and in the Bushman culture you only teach by observation – there is no direct teaching. Therefore /un /unta maybe the last traditional hunter of the village.
In this painting /un /unta was showing me how to get water in the desert. There is this plant which only looks like a tiny twig with a couple of leaves growing out of the sand, but if you carefully dig down about a foot down, you will find the small root ballooning out as big as a turnip! Once removed, you can scrape the root into a mush that you then place it in your hands and squeeze the juice out. The best method to not lose any juice is to do it with your thumb outward pointing at your mouth. It tastes bitter, like what you’d imagine potato juice would taste like. However, if lost in the desert, this juice can easily be a lifesaver.