I'm about to begin mural 45 on four continents and 21 countries. I would seriously like to tell you that I've figured this all out. There are no more surprises. I've got all this down. That would not be the truth. Life and murals are a learning experience. And, considering the alternatives, I plan to continue learning.
Usually, almost always, I wait until arrival at my destination to plan the murals. I want local input in the process and that's the easiest way to get it. After the input, it takes me about a day to plan my masterpiece. So far, that has worked well. But, the people in Moldova requested a design early. I received a cartoon full of kids doing school things that kids do. It was all I needed to plan a mural at the school for the deaf in Tiraspol.
Or, so I thought.
It was suggested that maybe I throw in something "national" to give the mural a local flavoring. I usually try to do that anyway. But, I was warned I couldn't draw anything controversial. However, anything "national" was bound to be controversial in this situation. The first mural was in a part of Moldova called Transnistria. Ask anyone in Transnistria and they will tell you that they are an independent country with their own flag, stamps and currency. The Transnistria flag (at least the ones I found online) has the yellow hammer and sickle that used to adorn the old USSR flag. It looks nothing like the Moldovan flag. Using any flag was going to be flaming controversial. Okay, no flags.
Maps were just as controversial. Moldova considers Transnistria a part of their country. No other country recognizes the independence of Transnistria (not even Russia, even though they've established a consulate there). If I used a map, it would have to include all of Moldova. So, once again, no controversy and no maps.
Fortunately, kids doing kid things does not stir up much controversy. Plans are to have a couple kids signing "welcome" as a part of the design. I knew I'd have to wait until I landed in the country to learn that bit of information. Do you sign that the same way in the United States? The answer is no. I don't understand why different parts of the world sign differently. If any language should be universal, I'd suggest signing. But, it isn't the case. Even the way letters are signed is completely different.
But, there was one little surprise that I never considered. There was no way to predict what would finally happen. There was a question about the spelling of "Tiraspol"' in the design. Should I use the Latin alphabet that I know and understand for the design or the Cyrillic one used by Russian speakers? Actually, this question never occurred to me. Like I said, if I waited until I arrived, I think this would have been clarified right from the start. It's my guess that the decision will be made to go Cyrillic. Only time would tell, and much to my surprise, it ended up in English!