Palombe was the first person I met, when I arrived in Ruarwe, Malawi, East Central Africa, on my first visit in January 2006. I soon learned that he was “Head Man” of the Village, and lived in a small, mud-brick, grass roofed house on the beach. I photographed and drew him on a number of occasions, and once again his portrait was the first one I made in Ruarwe.
He seemed not only to embody the Village, but the land and animals that once roamed there. From our first meeting he struck me as a man of an ancient type of nobility that knows how to bare hardship with dignity.
Palombe was the first subject from Ruarwe that I developed into a painting, because it offered the possibility of making a portrait that represented something of what I had discovered in my travels and reading about Africa.