When Asked to Draw a Bird, Mina Did This Drawing And Said it Was a Canary

On Drawing is a project that started in 2014, when I met Mina Pegourie, the housemaid of an art residency that I attended in France.

Mina is originally from Morocco, but has been living in France, since the age of 12. During my stay, I developed a special affinity with her, despite having only met her two or three times over my whole residency period of 1.5 months.

One day, she came to my studio and showed me her address book. Since she is unable to read or write, her address book is composed simply of contact numbers alongside corresponding drawings.

»From designers to artists, dilettantes to plumbers or scientists, drawing is a tool used to create, think, present or represent ideas and visualize information. So, why and how do we draw?«

I became fascinated by the beauty and simplicity of her drawings, together with the logic behind her methods as a survival tool. Thus, I recorded several shots in which she presents the drawings in her address book together with the story behind each one.

Afterwards, I also held several drawing sessions in which I asked her to draw different elements, from geometrical forms to standard objects, and filmed the whole process. I was interested to see how she would react to a simple drawing activity as well as the mental and physical consequences of working to a certain specified goal.

Currently, I am researching neuroscience, memory, and logic in order to understand what impact drawing, as a physical and mental gesture, has on the brain and how this translates into the memory itself.

Ana Mendes, »On Drawing,« video still, 2016
When asked to draw a bird, Mina did this drawing and said it was a canary.
Mina signs her name in Arabic.