"I'm fascinated with the unexpected that is found in my surroundings. The unexpected stimulates my curiosity and fuels my interest as an artist to represent ideas of forms, patterns, symbols. This process pushes me to observe differences among commonalities. Finding nuances of similarities between totally different entities paves the way to connect me with my surroundings and observe their influences on one another. I find such investigative approaches help me to generate new combinations of formal expression in my work."
Similarly, in life, observing these commonalities and differences among diverse groups of people, whether in cultural or tribal identification, religious or ritual ceremonies, or even socioeconomic stature such as the ones I have experienced in my home country of Ethiopia, have had such stark differences with the one in the United States, thus inducing a shift in my thinking both in terms of formal and contextual expression of my work. It opened up new ways of communicating ideas using the symbols, patterns, and signage that I find in my daily commutes in this new setting.
Perhaps on a more personal note, it solidifies and shapes my approach towards the people I meet on an individual level here in the United States. Hence, the settings of cities infrastructures have had much influences on my visual perceptions. In Ethiopia, on the other hand, my subject matter and elements I use to express my ideas were primarily centered on the human figure, immersed in the natural or biomorphic. Whereas figures that appear in my recent works are immersed in the geometric and are detached from one another in terms of spatial and subjective relationships.
Figurative works have often dominated the theme of my art works; particularly the depiction of the day to day lives of the human endeavor. Subjects like people on the street, casual vendors, and open markets were the center and the motivating aspect of my work. Growing up in Ethiopia, the influences of the social structure were woven into the fabric of my thinking and provided me with the value of deep communal understanding. Therefore, finding meanings from such life styles is not only natural but a fuel to generate ideas that communicate information I understand at its core.
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