Emmanuel told me at Christmas that he was not drawing anymore. I was disappointed because he is a very talented artist and I think he is very proud of his work, but I didn't push it. I pressure him a lot about his attitude, his school work, his relationships, and I didn't think his hobby ought to be added to the list.
I am proud to say that I misread him yet again. Telling me that he wasn't drawing anymore was a way to try to elicit encouragement from me to start again. I didn't take the bait. Fortunately, Kim came to visit the kids in early April and she asked to see his drawings. He had done a few in anticipation of her coming, but after she spoke with him, he started drawing again in earnest. A few days before my departure, he asked me to take photos of his drawings and send them to his best friend, Paulkenson, who is in the States. I was thrilled to see the pile and I prodded him to keep working on them, especially during vacation.
This last one is my favorite. I wish you could see the original because the details are more noticeable. I just love how he captured the shadows, the musculature, the emotion.
One of the coolest things about Emmanuel's artwork is how proud the other boys are of it. When he pulls out his binder to show me something, the other boys all crowd around and ooh and aah at his pictures. They will bring him a magazine photo of a favorite player or a DVD cover from a favorite movie and beg him to draw it for them. And he does as much as time permits him to do. I am told that Paulkenson was the artist of the pension, but since his departure, Emmanuel has very capably filled the role.