I’ve been seeing this painting on one of Purple Cafe’s inside walls for atleast 3 years and loving it. Not too difficult to understand what these two were going through, is it?. Still, it’s never failed to catch my imagination and rest it. But then again, I’ve always preferred paintings with visual references to the world over “abstract” ones. I’m well aware how that makes me sound: yeEdget maneQo! But believe me, I’ve taken my poetry class (and it’s Instructor 😉 ) to heart and know of law-breakers and transgressors. Therefore I agree abstracts, as well free verses, are a good way to exercise the imagination and spring the art (if “spring” is the word i want). But only for those who decided to break the law after knowing it! So that both, vulnerable to abuse as interpreation, won’t be used as a disguise for lack of talent!
I remember an art exhibition on ETV I saw a while back, that involved… trees. Living, breathing, trees. The artist called them “abstracts”. I called them “oh puhleeze”. We all know not enough can be said about “zafochina tiQmachew”, especially when global warming seems to touch our every day existence. If you’ve been to the Addis Ababa University’s Main Campus, when the air isn’t so cold but still windy, you won’t want to leave. I’ve even been heard saying that is all AAU has left nowadays: a name and trees with various shades of green. But cutting a tree trunk and intimidating us from wondering if this “work of art” wouldn’t have felt more at home in a 7th grade science lab, by calling it “abstract”? Gimmie a break!
A few weeks ago, I was watching one of those programs ETV2 presents which I turn to when I’ve run out of movies and there seems to be nothing better than either a development journalist’s handiwork or Arsenal and Manchester Utd. (“Arse ena Manche” respectively) “meDeBdeBing” the soccer-loving AddisAbebe on the head with a ball, making it dumber than usual. The artist (dread-haired, giving a general impression of uncleanliness and over-doing the ejj mawerachet reminding one of a lousy Indian comedian; as they all do) was talking about his “abstract” work of art. Allow me to touch on the subject of his appearance first.
I’m a huge fan of individuality. And i know there is no better place on your body you can express yourself as the top of your skull – i.e. your hair. I friz mine, for example, inspite of my older family members raising the eye brow disapprovingly, because I fancy that’s as close to revealing the out-law in me as i can get. Which is why you’ll never hear me complaining about WHAT an artist or wannabee artist does to his/her hair. But my various contacts with them as a Literature student has convinced me that most of them “meGonGon” their hair only because they feel they won’t look like an artist otherwise. I guess your hair shows not just what you are, but what you aren’t as well. (Artist Bekele Mekonnen, as a colleague pointed out once, is a welcome diversion to this trend).
Artist on tv discussing his work of art..
The funny thing I noticed about this guy’s “abstract” painting was, although dude was talking about how you are free to interpret abstract the way it appeared to your [individual] self resulting in no artist having the right to tell you “what it means”, he was glowing with pride on how you can catch “hidden” shapes when looking at the painting from various angles. The shapes, i learned later, were flower heads only with an “Ayyn Yemiyaschoh” (as Adam Retta’s leading character on “Graccha Qachiloch” would call it) color that we aren’t used to seeing on flower heads in the real world. I’m aware we all have a child in us. Movies like Harry Potter won’t have enjoyed the success they are doing otherwise. Not to mention how I wouldn’t have been hunting for “Resident Evil II’s” game software for the last week or so. However, playing childish tricks with the brush and calling it “abstract”?! Who is it supposed to fool?! Himself, or yours truly?!
Anywho.. check the painting out and tell me what you think. I have tried to make sense of the artists’ signature in an attempt to decipher a name, without success. It appears to have disappeared with the price tag. Click on Painting for a bigger and closer clook.