‘Zemni’ is a blind molerat still bumbling around trying to make sense of life. She thinks that if she could only learn to see more clearly how things really are, and communicate her visions, she could help it be a very beautiful world.
But seeing clearly takes a lot of effort. It is easier to just lie back and dream of what could be….rather than struggle to find a voice amid all the other voices competing to be heard in an increasingly interconnected, complex and contradictory world. While life speeds by and spins away, possibly headed for disaster and certainly terminal (at some as yet unknown point).
Zemni’s story is only starting to be drawn.
The story so far
Zemni was originally a blind mole rat (Spalax typhlus), though there seems to be some disagreement on the web as to whether he was a native of Ukraine or also Eastern Europe and Asia. His eyes and ears are rudimentary. He is not a particularly pretty creature. When well-fed, he is quite plump with wrinkly skin hanging in folds of soft brownish fur tinged with grey. He spends most of his time bumbling or rushing around blindly, constructing extensive burrows – well worn and seemingly endless routes in the dark in search of some direction. Click here for a picture of Zemni.
Through a hole on the Internet he migrated to UK and in 2010 he started working as the brand-name for a group of Young Enterprise students in Cambridge. Under leadership from Liam-Mayoux-Andrews, he was trying mostly to make a profit, but with a slight ethical edge helping to market coffee from Bukonzo Joint Cooperative Union in Uganda. Once the students had successfully finished their studies and won various awards, he was out of a job.
But along the way Zemni had attracted the attention of Linda Mayoux, Liam’s mother. She was looking for a logo and concept for her photography, art and visual communications work. So in July 2012 Zemni had a change of career, and a serious gender and moral identity crisis. She now travels a lot with Linda to Africa, Asia and Latin America as well as Europe and US. Her work complements and inspires that of Linda – promoting gender and social justice and developing participatory action planning planning tools to help communications between people who cannot read and write and powerful people who affect their lives. Through this work she gets a chance to see many amazing things which most people do not have access to – and many opportunities to get to know many people doing inspiring things.
She wants to maintain her own separate identity in her attempt to communicate her thoughts about life and visions for making this a more beautiful world.
But I am still in the process of working out what that identity might be.
This is a live project where I hope over the next few years to communicate my ‘Zemni Vision’ in a series of cartoon-style graphic novels around ‘Zemni’s World’. A humorous but provocative questioning of ‘meanings of life’ and what we are doing to the world.