He works with whatever he can out hands on, drawing, painting, sculpture, and interior designs. Mohammed He works with whatever he can out hands on, drawing, painting, sculpture, and interior designs. Mohammed Eisa, is an artist with an ambition to leave a piece of art that would articulate the beautiful story of the people and the country to the next generation. After being on the art world for many years, Mohammed has managed to present and win awards for his artistic products in different occasions.
Mohammed Eisa is our guest today.
- Tell us about your first sculpture, what was it about?
I named it “Success”, it was a 60cm sculpture made of plaster of Paris I made it on the occasion of the 25th Nakfa anniversary. It was about the struggle and sacrifice of the freedom fighters to free our country. The sculpture took almost a month to finish, it was one of my works that has made me feel proud since I was fortunate to contribute a historical work to my community. That motivated me even more to continue working in this field.
After that, I had another sculpture I presented at the Youth Festival in Sawa in 2004. The work was about independence. It was made of a metal skeleton and finished with sand. It weighed about 1400 kilos.
- Was is hard to move it from Asmara to Sawa?
To be honest, it was much harder to transport it than to make it. It required much caution as it had to be moved through a crane to get to a car, get it off and get it back here.
- What do you think is the reason that sculptures aren’t displayed on the streets?
I wouldn’t know for sure, but there is certainly shortage of budget to do the job. You see, materials are needed for sculptures to be placed in the streets; bronze, fiber glass, aluminum are just few of the materials that are needed for the products. It would be great to see the sculptures that artist made be placed on the streets of a city. It is a motivating to the artists and an ads glamour to the city.
- How many of your products have you exhibited?
Almost 25 of my paintings and 6 of sculptures. I have been awarded for three of my paintings and three of my sculptures.
- Let’s talk about the work you have done on the wall of Asmara Stadium as a tribute to the 20th independence anniversary?
I was happy to have been given the opportunity. It is a sculpture that tells the story of the Eritreans, the journey to free their country and the works they have carried out for the development as well as the dedication and tenacity. It was a work that gave me a huge responsibility. It is not easy to work on something that will stay forever, which is of historical importance to the country.
- What materials did you use?
Well, it took more than a year of study and research before the actual work began. We had to make sure we were using the right materials. So, there is this stone that is burned by a volcano in Assab, it is called Gomicho. We mixed it with cement. The reason we chose that type of rock was because it looks like the cement in color and at the same time is a soft material to use. We had to put so much consideration in to the materials we were using since the sculpture had it has to look good for a long time. Besides, we had to take care of the weight of the art work on the wall of the building.
How did you feel when you finally saw it on the walls?
It was beyond my expectations. I could never explain the joy I felt when I saw it during the celebration.
- How certain are you a sculpture would be preserved as it is?
The works that you do with your full attention and will would stay as long as forever.
- Were there any challenges during the work you did on the wall sculpture?
It is hard work, so yes there were some challenges. I had to work for long hours to make sure that everything was perfect since it is a work to remain for generations. But there weren’t any challenges that were big enough that couldn’t have been solved.
- The people who helped you do the work…
The artists in my division in the then Information and Agitation Office of the EDF helped me tremendously. Also people who work in the Asha Golgol Construction. We didn’t only sculpt over the wall, we constructed a new wall to work on.
- You also do interior designs?
It has a lot to do with painting, so it wasn’t that difficult for me to get in to it. I started working on interior designs from 2007/2008. It is an important field as it needs skills and talent. Color mixture and wall thickness do matter depending on what type of interior you are working.
- Which is harder to do, painting, sculpture or interior designs?
Sculpture, definitely. It needs precise research to get the work right.
- When did you join the then Information and Agitation Office of the EDF?
When I presented numerous artistic works during my time with the 18 Division, my administrators thought that it was a department where I could grow. I was only doing painting before I joined the ministry; however, with the help of the artists who were at the department before me, I got into Sand sculpture. I just worked my way up from there. And would certainly say that I could have never got to where I am today if I hadn’t joined the ministry. The Ministry has made tremendous efforts and given budget to let the artists get different courses.
- Do you share your knowledge with other interested artists?
Yes I try my best to share what I know. There are even some great artists who have just joined our ministry. –Any future plans?
I hope to come up with great artistic works that would be part of history to the coming generation. A work that
would perfectly reflect the culture and identity of the Eritrean people. Art is another form of documenting history for the next generation.
- Thank you for having us.