Norwich artist treks to Libya - by 2CV

Jon WelchIt wouldn't be most people's ideal holiday destination or choice of transport, but a Norwich artist is taking an unusual trip in the hope of finding inspiration.Jon Welch

It wouldn't be most people's ideal holiday destination or choice of transport, but a Norwich artist is taking an unusual trip in the hope of finding inspiration.

Kevin Lee, a sculptor, is currently en route to Libya in his battered 20-year-old Citroen 2CV with his friend Mark Jeffereys.

Mr Lee, who turned 50 earlier this month, has been planning the trip to the North African country for the past year.

A member of the 12-strong Lonely Arts Club, he will be taking part in the group's exhibition at The Forum in September.

Libya was a virtual no-go zone for British tourists for years following the murder of policewoman Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984 and the Lockerbie bombing of 1988, but in recent years relations have thawed.

'I like going places off the beaten track and I'm also looking for inspiration for my exhibition,' said Mr Lee, of Warwick Street.

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'I'm not exactly sure why Libya attracted me. You're not going to find mass tourism there, and I feel now might be a good time to go because they're now opening up to the western world after being closed for a long time.

'I'm really looking forward to the trip. I've got my maps and all my paperwork is in order.'

All, that is, except his driving licence, which he sent off to the DVLA in Swansea to be updated seven weeks ago and still has not received back.

Mr Lee, who specialises in tribal art, hopes visits to Roman archaeological sites, as well as Tuareg and Berber tribal villages, will give him some good ideas.

He plans to write a book about his travels and is even considering making a sculpture of the country's controversial leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi on his return.

He and Mr Jeffereys, a 40-year-old Cambridgeshire farmer, met while studying countryside management at Easton College in 1992, but have not seen each other for four years.

After taking the ferry from Dover to Dunkerque, the pair will drive through France before taking the ferry from Marseille to Tunis. From there they will drive on to Libya before touring the country with a guide.

Mr Lee has decorated his white 2CV with green spots in the colours of the Libyan flag, which he hopes will endear him to locals.

Mr Lee, who works as a conservation contractor, has owned the car 10 years. It has a tiny 600cc engine and has already clocked up 160,000 miles, with a further 4,000 likely over the course of the two-and-a-half week trip.

'I'm hoping it will be ok if we creep along at 50mph and take it gently,' said Mr Lee.

'I'm hoping not to do any off-roading in Libya but I'm sure they will have a few pot-holes. Mind you, their roads are probably in better nick than ours! Petrol is only 50p a gallon there, so it's a shame I can't bring some back.'

Are you embarking on a madcap adventure? Contact reporter Jon Welch on 01603 772476 or email