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“Before you leave today, do you think you could draw a picture of a naked armadillo looking cold, with a possum knitting him an armadillo suit?” February 28, 2011

Posted by P, J, or J in Uncategorized.

A cold armadillo and a knitting possum

As we prepare for a new assignment in Asia I’ve been tidying our office and looking back over some of the material I’ve worked on in the last 15 years.

I didn’t draw the naked armadillo, I asked my boss to because I was using a story in the UK student magazine back in 1998 where someone on a year out with Wycliffe in Mexico was asked to help illustrate a calendar of local folk stories.

Wycliffe and SIL’s work in language development includes much more than translating scripture. The cultures we work with aren’t undeveloped, they’ve been developing for countless generations and each has a rich culture and stories of their own. Surprisingly to some of our critics, our work actually helps maintain cultural identity, developing new tools with which to maintain heritage and engage more easily on their own terms with the so called ‘developed’ world.

Incidentally the cartoon style above was designed to engage a 1990’s British audience. The original artwork for the calendar would have used a style aimed at its own audience. Where possible, the small band of illustrators sent out by Wycliffe, train and encourage local artists – using a variety of non-written media such as drama, dance, graphics and song. Whether mimicking local art or music style, Arts specialists will frequently be told, “Ah! Now I see what you are trying to do. I think I can do it better” …and usually they can!

(If this post has you wondering about the role of Arts specialists you can see a video on the subject at http://sil.org/arts/ArtsConsultantVideo.htm )


1. John Hamilton - March 1, 2011

What’s this about an assignment in Asia?


2. Paul Merrill - March 1, 2011

Great reminder of that publication, Peter.


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