Well-worn steps pour out of an open doorway of a red mud and plaster house in Agadez, Niger. I made a sketch for this picture in 2001 but just painted it — for want of a simple thing to do while I waited for something else to dry enough to continue.
I had gone to Agadez, a market town and jumping off point for Sahara expeditions and migrants on their way to Libya and beyond, to study the way of life of the Nomadic Tuareg people before modernity erased it. The plan was to return after my first exploratory trip, to undertake a 4 month camel caravan trek from Agadez to the salt ponds of Bilma. That never happened; the rise of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb saw to that.
But I did manage quite a few paintings, including this portrait of a Tuareg Swordsman.