On the edge of the paddy fields, the jungle starts again. It creates an amazing backdrop to the rice harvest. Fighting cocks can be heard from the surrounding area. Farmers with machetes patrol the paddy and cows graze under the intense tropical heat. This painting captures so much of the energy and drama that can be found in the paddy fields of the tropics. Read more below:
John Dyer: In the 1950s simple neutral frames became popular for St Ives artists. John chooses an off-white so the lightest tones appear in the painting. The moulding is a variation of 'Salvator Rosa' from Italy. Hand finished in almond white paint.
Ready to hang
Strung with picture cord and ready to hang
Occasionally the rice paddy fields come up against uncultivated land – jungle. IRRI took me to an amazing sunken area surrounded by a wall of jungle in virtually all directions, it was approached by driving through banana plantations full of fighting cocks chained to pegs in the ground. The noise of the fighting cocks adds a feeling of imminent attack to the place – although the people farming in the fields are extremely friendly and interested to watch the painting progress. 'Very nice, Joe' and 'Hello Joe' are repeated and repeated. The dark vegetation of the wall of jungle is in great contrast to the rice. Cows gently graze, and chickens roam free feeding from grains and insects in the paddy. The farmers live in a small one-room house with a 'home garden' containing a mix of plants, fruits and a fish pond – all carefully fenced in to protect from poachers and large grazing animals. In the wet season they must effectively live on an island surrounded by rice and jungle: amazing. The clouds build, flashes dart across the sky and around the volcano. I take shelter with the farmers in their home – small dogs run around – and I am invited to share the farmers’ lunch. The sun eventually reappears and I return to the now steaming landscape – glistening under tropical skies. I finish at dusk and see families sheltering/cooking/sleeping in cardboard and tin shelters on the edge of the fields; I return to the car to be whisked out before the New People's Army returns to the check points and streets. John Dyer