How lockdown paves way for string artist, diaspora home coming conjoin with exposures

Kalkidan Moges, the preparatory completed emerging String Artist was born and raised up some 347 kilometers (216 miles) far from the capital Addis Ababa in the eastern part of the country, in the City Government of Dire Dawa.

“I came here to the heart of Addis Ababa representing my town,” Kalkidan said during an exclusive interview with The at the Sheger Sqaure here in Addis Ababa when she was showcasing her art works, her painting and art products coined in a beautiful color in a pavilion adjacent to the VIPs seat including the guest of honor’s, Minister of the Culture and Sports Kejella Mardassa, regional culture and tourism bureau heads, representatives of regional states and other dignitaries.

In Dire Dawa, I had no or very limited access and small stages to showcase art works and products.

However, even in very small gatherings and in collaboration with the Dire Dawa Culture and Tourism Bureau, I have been reaching the community through my art works to the limited extent I have been working in house and I have been in school at the same time so far. My art work is called string art, which is most recent kind of art in our nation and it is not among the most common branches of art.

It is an art using the thread and wood products or can be put at a wall. It is amazing art for decorating home furniture, walls, and other products. Currently, my work has been transferred to a wall decor level. I started this kind of art work during the corona virus lock down at home.

The stay at home and lock down paved me to boost my art works from painting, to an art on the wood up the current level of becoming ideal string artist, said Kalkidan. Kalkidan, a young student waiting to join university or college level education is dreaming to be a well-known string artist.

When I cast to put the universal features of rainbow in to something visible art work, the powerful feeling with regard to the power of cross upon the Christian faithful up to the beauty of peacock and the Ethiopian map adding Kalkidan, she went further on to explain that such kinds of abstracts can be all put in to such an attractive string art.

That is what I did and presented to our Diaspora communities during the grand home coming art, culture and sports exhibition inside the Sheger Park. Explaining about the illustrations concerning the Ethiopian map, she rose up the product that has been put on the wooden string art work.

During the interview, Kalkidan stated that it (her string art work) stands for the message that Ethiopian time, prosperity, brightness and happiness is coming soon.

For my art works, I am using the MDF wood. It is a bit expensive wood product. In addition there are nails, thread and color/ ink. I am selling the art works for a price that I thought is very fair which is Birr 1500 (approximately $ 31).

Confident and optimist about the growing potential of the sector, Kalkidan noted that stages and programs like that of the grand home coming of the diaspora and the following art, culture and sports festival at the Sheger Square are promising efforts by the pertinent bodies to support junior artists like her to get access to the larger community and to increase exposures.

Another participant of the festival from the town of Adama, Addisu Geremew for his part has been selling both traditional and modern clothes imported from different parts of the world and mostly from China. However, Addisu has currently turned his face towards entirely investing in the manufacturing and distribution of the Ethiopian cultural and traditional closes for different purposes.

According to Addisu, the locally produced closes are preferable for a very clear reason. They fit for various national and international events and they look attractive as they are made purposefully for such events in order to represent not only beauty but also cultural values. They are also affordable compared to their counterparts imported from abroad. Participating in such a grand event is important for at least two things, according to Addisu, the first one is cultural exchange.

“I am looking at the various cultural delegates drawn from all nations and nationalities in the country. This is a great opportunity for me to share my cultural values and know several cultures and traditions from fellow brothers and sisters who are taking part in the festival. We are sharing addresses so that we can work in partnership.

This is a great opportunity for me to realize my dream in the sector and expand my business through reaching out all the values, cultures and traditions in Ethiopia.” The second advantage according to Addisu is benefiting in terms of business from selling the products he has, to the participants coming from the diaspora and other parts of the country. String art is a technique used by artists for the creation of abstracted images which are composed of straight lines of strings tensioned between pins distributed on a frame.

Together the strings fuse to a perceptible image. Traditionally, artists craft such images manually in a highly sophisticated and tedious design process. Also This branch of art is also known as thread art. The origins of string art go back to the 19th c, when English woman, Mary Everest Boole used a form of string art called “curve stitching” to help teach children mathematics, according to literatures.


The 12 February 2022

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