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ARTIST: Paul Augustinus
TITLE: Lamu Quay
SIZE: 120cm x 180cm
Oil on Canvas

Lamu Quay, Kenya coast
A Paul Augustinus image of the
'I Love Lamu, its people and its dhows'

The small port of Lamu lies on the coast of Kenya near the Somali border. This is a Swahili Coast town and one of the most atmospheric locations in Kenya which I have known since the 1960s. It is a good place to see a traditional way of life that is fast disappearing, especially the use of sailing dhows on a daily basis for moving goods around the Lamu archipelago. Some people hate this place and cant wait to leave because it is not a themed town - it is smelly, noisy and very humid. Donkey dung lies everywhere and there are open drains. In other words it is a genuine place - not a faked cultural experience put on and maintained for tourists. This is one of the last places on the East African coast where working sailing dhows can be found and that's why I love the place, having spent many months there over the years. The incredible traditional garments of the women is also a delight to behold, every woman trying to out do the other in a dazzling array of saturated colors and patterns - especially near the market of the main square next to the fort. Alas, Lamu is changing rapidly, especially now that a large container port is planned for a stretch of coastline on the other side of the Manda Channel. High tide in the morning is the best time to see dhows loading and unloading their goods which can come from as far away as the Tana Delta, or Kipini in the North. This is an Islamic town and because of that its safe to walk the narrow warren of streets just back from the quay, even at night. I love Lamu, its peoples and dhows and the relaxed Indian Ocean way of life that has managed to survive here. I will continue to paint scenes of Lamu as long as the dhows keep coming back to these shores.

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 A Paul Augustinus painting of a  Jahazi dhow being loaded at Lamu Quay at high tide. The quay is busy with pedestrians heading towards the morning market.