Internal Hotel Courtyard, Zanzibar

Internal Hotel Courtyard, Zanzibar

Acrylic on canvas,

28 x 20 inches


I stayed at this modest hotel on the island of Zanzibar, off the coast of Dar es Salam, Tanzania.  It was an old building that was beautifully preserved with good taste.  The owner maintained authentic characteristics of Swahili architecture, and it was filled with beautiful objects, such as ceramics, glass lanterns, furniture, and brass objects from the region.  I immediately loved the place and forgot how tired I was, and instead of rushing to my room to refresh myself, I spent a while exploring the hotel, its hallways, the roof terrace, the view of the ocean.


It was the internal courtyard that first caught my attention.  The painting shows the view of this internal courtyard, which was two stories high, painted in a pale lemon shade.  The hallways around the courtyard had different colors.  I saw another wall painted in a delicate celestial blue around a pointed arch very much serving as a focal point like a mihrab.  A Swahili brass coffee pot was placed there.  It occupied that sacred space with majesty and dignity. 


The upper section of the internal courtyard had view-points, similar to balconies carved by hand in wood. They formed repeated patterns, very decorative, and these invited the curious viewer to move and explore further.  Hanging from the roof terrace were two brass and colored glass lanterns: one orange, the other gray with blue.  They hung at different heights and filled that space with interest.  Their suspension in space dominated the internal courtyard.

This painting captures that internal courtyard.  The colors are mostly faithful to the actual place, but I did simplify certain architectural lines to enhance the rhythmic lines and curves found in this island on the eastern part of the African continent.

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