AJ Sketchbook: Soala Ajienka

My first composition when the lockdowns kicked in was the cheese plant in our living room, which we gave the moniker Kashka V. It was perched on a stool in a corner of the room, illuminated by a red lamp.

It was my first attempt at embroidery, one of many crafts I reached for in the months that followed. I began to see my everyday differently, taking pleasure in the new leaves that emerged from my thriving plants, paying close attention to them, like a helicopter mom.

Our flat dinners became my new idée fixe, a mid-week routine that soon became a ritual. Each dinner was commemorated with a quick sketch: there were pen drawings with streaks of gouache to highlight items of interest, reimagined realities brought to life with detailed acry
ic pieces.

“...In retrospect I realise green was my lodestar; the rich emerald of an empty wine bottle, an over-ripe lime, or the edge of a leaf peeking through crevices.

Three lockdowns in and a series of (un)finished projects later, the simple act of pen on paper underpins moments of reprieve from the screen.

Between lockdowns my sketchbook has been a trusty companion on site visits to projects I have worked on. From dwelling briefly in the gardens at Lambeth Palace Library, observing the way the trees seemed to wrap around the buildings, to tracking a frolicking duck in the pond from the entrance hall, sketching was my way of keeping records of closely held sentiments at any point in time.”