My relationship with visual art has evolved with time and experience. Growing up in Ethiopia, I saw art not as a means of expression or a tool for social engagement but rather as a juvenile hobby that bears no significance beyond personal enjoyment. This mindset was shaped partly by the longstanding belief among traditional Ethiopians - my parents included - that art is inferior to science and partly by the lack of social provisions and infrastructures to foster artistic pursuits in my country. It was this indifference to art and the social restraints that disengaged me from my passion and undermined my confidence.
My outlook on art began to change when I came to the US to continue my educational quest. Navigating this transition was challenging and I made some poor choices along the way, but it was equally liberating to unlearn preconceptions and form my own judgment. In the absence of my family's guiding voice, I discovered mine. This revelation was pivotal to my self discovery which is reflected in my artistic journey. I was initially reluctant to experiment with new colors and art media because I was afraid of failure. But I slowly worked my way from pencil sketching to watercolor and then acrylic painting. I read biographies of artists I have great admiration for in an attempt to understand their story and draw parallels with mine. I took great comfort in knowing that some breakthroughs start with a breakdown. This process was as much cathartic as it was artistic because I was allowing myself to become vulnerable and embracing the spontaneity that ensued. Art enabled me to break free from my fears and realize my full potential.
I graduated from Truman State University with a bachelor's degree in Biophysics, so I am basically a scientist by day and artist by night. I have worked in various medical researches ranging from cancer therapy to vaccine development which has truly been a rewarding experience and I also plan to pursue a graduate degree in Biomedical Engineering. I have always admired how science helps us unpack the intricacies of the natural world and art allows us to visualize these abstractions and experience their existence. For me, art and science are inseparable and their harmony will continue to be manifested in my career.
Aside from my story, I believe what distinguishes me as an artist is my love for colors and their ability to portray the nuances of human experience and provide context for the message an artist wishes to deliver. This dimension is usually not captured in photography. For instance, I often mix unnatural colors when I paint portraits to illustrate the emotional landscape of human beings. I use pigments that do not conform with nature to symbolize the reality of our nature which is often indiscernible from outer appearances. I also tend to use striking colors to create provocative art in an attempt to trigger conversation among viewers. Contemporary issues are usually the subject of my work and I often use color contrast to highlight the truth and to bring viewers into a contemplative state. This is because I want to create art that connects people with their inner selves and with the world at large.