Artistry is what makes the national festival an exciting event. Each year, visitors wonder on the idea that what new thing could be featured in upcoming festivals. There have been artists who continue to exert relentless efforts to come up with new ideas so as to be reflected through impressive works of art. Art has been part of all programs that have been staged in every festival. There is art in the traditional dances and livelihood of the nine ethnic groups of Eritrea. In unison, there is artistry in the way Eritrean tradition is presented. Different pavilions have been embellished with an eye catching artistic works. Coining news words gives life to writings of different forms, and likewise making a difference to impress and enlighten people from all walks of life is what Eritrean artists have been very keen at. Designing dresses that could accompany an idea presented in a song is what artists in the fashion industry are tuned to. The content coupled with the dress make observers of the cultural shows remain rooted in at the very place where the show is being staged.
A traditional dance of the Saho ethnic group and a wear designed after birds’ wing and a beautifully made toy of a dove is what really impressed a number of visitors who were lucky enough to be part of an impressive show of the southern region. The cultural troupe of this respective region has indeed the capacity to touch the nerve of the audience.
The unique sound the dancers of the Gash-Barka region have been making in harmony with the melody of the Abangala- a traditional single stringed music instrument mostly used by the Kunama ethnic group- makes one remain exited and also make slight dance moves evoked by intensified passion.
Artistry in different forms has continued to play significant role in making the national festival an event to be remembered for a life time. Some of this artistic works are mainly related to culture and others are first to their kind to be presented in the national festival.
Interpreting literary works through a different form of art such as short stories, poems and other genres into cartoons, paintings and sculptures is another area of artistry presented in the national festival.
What is uniquely introduced in this year’s national festival is translating or interpreting different poetic works in to cartoons.
The idea to represent poems through cartoons is among the first of its kind works of art that has been presented in Expo. This initiative has enabled artists who have been working in different forms of art to come in one platform where they could share ideas. This opportunity could also help them to work jointly so as to publish books of poems empowered by descriptive cartoons.
Among the poems interpreted into cartoons include a poem titled “Paradox” By Mr. Amare Weldeslasie. The English translation of the poem is as follows:
Endowed with incisor teeth
To scrape, a bone with
A jaw to gnaw, and eat
A large amount of meat,
Should a human as a whole
Be a vegetarian at all?
Against the will of nature
Which wanted it to be
An omnivorous creature
Reasoning that animals suffer
During the act of Slaughter
Another poem titled “Ankeil Fahto” by Saba Haile was also presented at Expo in the form of cartoon. This poem is generally about parents cherishing a dream to see their child growing up to the point of making errands where need be and to extending a helping hand in farm places, working as a shopkeeper and making calculations by his or herself.
Brhane Ghebreyohannes(Bruno) is a cartoonist who produces the artistic work based on the themes reflected in the poems. “The initial idea of presenting short stories in the form of storyboards was raised by Ibrahim Ali a.k.a Akla, Head of PFDJ’s Cultural Affairs.” He said.
“Reflecting literary works in the form of sketches is a very brilliant idea. Our primary concern was, however, whether it is easy to make this happen or not.” Bruno said “Taking in to account short stories are very lengthy to be interpreted into cartoons, we finally came up with an idea of doing it through poems.
This is a first of its kind work to be staged at the national festival and we have been eager to make this happen and thus we are now describing poems in the form of cartoons.
So, according to Bruno, the cartoonists together started to collect published poems. But, at times they find it difficult to present poems with depth of meaning in the form of pictures. So, they have to find poems that could give them a clear picture to be translated into colors and lines form.
The cartoons sketched based on the ideas from different poems stay posted for three days and would be replaced by other poems accompanied by other descriptive cartoons.
Daily events held at the Expo grounds have also annually been reported in the form of cartoons. These cartoons have been very instructive for they commend strengths and criticize weaknesses.
So, all events being held at the expo grounds are overwhelmed by artistry works which give an added color to the different shows which continued to impress a number of visitors.