LeMin ayiNaaGer….

September 25, 2008 at 11:56 am 3 comments

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).

Stop. Rewind.

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.

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The lonliest hunters Head of State–the real life

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mazzi  |  September 26, 2008 at 12:12 am

    (Not a big fan of abstract paintings either. I always leave feeling confused more than inspired after staring at such paintings in museums :-)).

    Caption for the painting you posted:

    The woman: “What do I REALALY know about this strange man? A man I have been married to for so long, and a man who is the father of my children.”

    The Man: “Sigh! Never quite imagined my life leading up to this. How did I get here? I can think of many other places I would rather be. Anything but here …”


  • 2. abyssinia  |  September 26, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    I am down with individuality and self-awareness. And I love art, weather its abstract or not. I do enjoy all sorts of art works. It is only logical to assume that personal style plays as crucial a role in art…In my view, individual style so profoundly felt in art, is also present in other types of creative self-expression…hair, cloth, etc.

    Talk about hair, I get all kinds of Eroro from my mother and a close friend. Why don’t you get your hair done? Meserat! I can’t imagine having a straight hair. My hair is perfectly fine the way it is…I always keep my hair natural. It’s very curly by nature. All I have to do is wash it and I’m good to go. So I don’t see the point wasting 6hrs at the hair salon. I thought about a quote once I read, “No one should part with their individuality and become part of that another”. I agree!

    p.s. abesheet, I have been very busy lately, a new job. will try to come as often as i can

    Have a lovely weekend.

  • 3. abesheet  |  October 1, 2008 at 6:04 am

    My favorite writer, Zadie Smith, refers to the need for “straight hairs” as the [slave] need to appear white. A pound of flesh, for a little English blood, or so she puts it. And with what a price that comes! 45 minutes of being fried in the cask/cask, feeling your ear and neck melting, while watching bad tv and listening to dumb gossips from mindless people? So you could end up with a hair burnt to death and smelling it too?. I have tried to avoid it as much as I can, Abby. But my hair not being “good to go” anytime, my refusal came with a price of its own.

    What i always find weird is, people are so predictable. You buy a new dress, you may or may not look comofrtable in it; they gloat. You go around with your favorite hair style, maybe messed up or (as with my cousin Netsanet) involving a shash tied on it in an awesome way. Whether it looks good on your or not, they frown. They’d rather have you “meserat”. It doesn’t seem to matter the “meserat” becomes you or not. It’s as if there is a pressing need to appear proper at all times. Hello!?

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The blogger tries to think outside the box, or wonder why she sometimes can't.

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"I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint." - Antonio Salieri, from the movie "Amadeus"

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