Thursday, February 22, 2007

Jungles of Imagination

The Dream by Henri Rousseau, 1910 Oil on Canvas 6ft x 5ft; Museum of Modern Art, New York.

When my wife told me that at school she’d painted a Rousseau like jungle mural I returned to that magic jungle, for also on the bare block walls of my secondary school was a painting, a jungle of leaves and animals, (Rousseau like I now know).

Each day it offered an escape.

The girl artist I can’t remember, except that she was shy and part of adventure as we chased through well remembered school woods.

Now I live with my wife in my own wood rather like those remembered school woods though wilder. I have visited jungles in Nepal, Malaysia and Australia but the jungle of the imagination in those pictures has been a guiding dream, an image of escape from the mundane to the exciting.

Henri Rousseau was a customs officer in France and never visited a jungle.