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“The wisdom of Eritrea’s Paintings remains full of rich traditional Values”

Born in 1983, Berhe Russom Ghirmay is one of the promising and self-taught painters. With different notions of painting, he has joined us today.

 

The role of painting in the daily life of Eritreans

 

In fact, there is a long aged traditional way of embellishing hudmos—traditional homes— with natural segments of soil and colors produced from various floras; yet, this is still intact in some villages. And old parchments from various monasteries also have great testimonies of well-illustrated traditional paintings. In this regard, the archives of Bizen Monastery, for instance, has well-kept treasures since its establishment in 1368. Through this way, therefore, we can comprehend the vitality of painting in the life of the society for prolonged time.

Varieties of the long aged styles…

Like others in this field, I agree that the varieties were ranged from the Coptic Byzantium to the Eri-Byzantium, and less often, there were other styles. But the medium was limited. With growing interests to simplicity, nowadays, we have different notions, sect of styles and mediums.

Post-Independence Eritrea’s painting status…

Undeniably, after the untimely curbed hot movements of modern paintings of the 1950s, it is only after independence that Eritrea’s painting started to be exposed into numerous routes of creativity.

And as a result, from the limited a t m o s p h e r e , our young painters have been successful in different painting styles such as realism, m o d e r n i s m , charcoal, cubism, and water-color, contemporary among others. Hence, in regards to painting, after independence we noticed modern notions became the most common type of art.

Main captivating elements of the current young painters’ products…

With very basic education, these young painters have been able to stand within the field of art in Eritrea. The creativity and use of colors clearly show the potential of our youngsters. Hopefully, with the upcoming initiatives by concerned government bodies, future programs will be implemented.

Impacts of the young painters in setting solid foundations for the coming bequeathals…

The year of 2014 is still the golden year for Eritrean painting treasures; it was a leap year. The role of the teenagers from Satreb and Segen Art schools is, in fact, worth-mentioning. Moreover, despite the certainty for advocating continuous commitment, within an over three-century chronicles, it was in 2014 that our artists pushed the excellence of our painting styles.

And if there is any uniquely designated Eritrean painters’ style…

In the first place, painting and artists are against any form of discriminatory designations. Writing the name of the respective artists in any local language could help to identify it. The objects we are painting also refer something about Eritrea. Among numerous painting mediums and styles, however, it is not proper, to demarcate the art as ‘Eritrean’ painting style, looking at its objective contents is worth and encouraged.

Pertaining to Mr. Berhe’s well acclaimed painting entitled ‘Homesickness’…

There, we see a migrant holding the Lady Rosary Church or as locally known ‘Cathedral’. Missing your home, living among a society who has his own lifestyle, while carrying the burden of loneliness and depression, are a few omens of being a migrant.
This is the feeling of many living in exile that I tried to represent through the painting of ‘Cathedral’. As the late singer Abraham Afewerki clearly said, ‘Being alone is the worst type of poverty.’ This is what the painting reflects.

As regards to why Mr. Berhe is still continuing in field of painting…

Colors are languages; they convey ideas, dreams and facts. And the meaning of life comes true when you are aspired to expose what is engraved deep inside your dream, abstract ideas which are beyond the tangible world. Reasonably, the meaning of life is freely enjoyable when there is a question to be answered, a personal struggle to be waged and something that have to be shared. I believe this is commonly applicable even among others.

Final thoughts…

The appreciations of the society toward painting and painters’ have been pushing the borders of excellence, especially in the past three years.
This is not entirely deniable; thus, by improving the weak part of our current status, I am hopeful to witness tremendous leap in the forthcoming results within world of Eritrean painters.

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