Today, we have invited a lady of multi talents- a painter, a designer and an art teacher. Helen Ghebru, born and raised in Ethiopia, grew up to be more interested in art at a young age. With a passion that was growing ever strong, she decided to get hold of it by going to an Art school, and that is when she turned her hobby to a lifetime profession. For Helen, being an artist was not going to be enough. She went to a designing school where she ended up working as a teacher for almost two years.
“I love teaching…..in a way, I also teach my self”…she adds besides the great time she has in class with her students.
In today’s issue, Q&A presents Helen Ghebru, an artist who enjoys the world of art by working to share her knowledge with her students.
- -Welcome to our page, would you please introduce yourself to our readers?
I loved the idea of drawing something on a piece of paper when I was a child. I think I followed in my big brother’s steps although he never had any specific courses regarding art, he enjoyed drawing things. I wanted to do as he did, and that is when I developed a hobby of drawing. I never knew that hobby was going to turn to my life time profession. Nonetheless, I am glad it did. Having a profession you enjoy doing is a blessing, honestly.
In 2005, I wanted to make something out of my interest and I enrolled at Mirara Art School. It was four years of hectic courses. I was fortunate to have very talented and inspirational art teachers of all times. They did their best to teach us everything there is to know in art. I learned everything I know in that school. Not only have I learned in that school, but I have gained work experience as well. I worked as a secretary after I graduated.
- -Was there a specific course you took at the school?
You just don’t pick one specific subject and take it. Well, actually, the best part is that you get to learn the more than four parts of art, which are the important ones. We took Anatomy which deals with the human structure.
Another one was still life which talks about identifying the light and shadows. Perspective is another part of art we studied which is all about the depth of the drawings. We also learned the landscape. We used to stay almost all day at the school to practice and paint, it was the time where I enjoyed the most. Even though we got to learn different kinds of art styles, one would find a favorite style to stick to. I favored anatomy which led me to take designing course as well. After I finished designing I stayed at the designing school as a teacher for two years.
- -You are a sketch teacher in a fashion school…
Yes, in 2013, I took a job at Ayni Fashion School. That school is a university for me. It has a great place in my heart. It is a place where I met numerous people who came from various backgrounds. Also, when I am teaching my students, I am constantly practicing my drawings, which makes my skills even better. I always try to have fun in my classes, I want my students to enjoy doing the sketches just like I do.
Again, for a designer to be a good one, one must be a good sketcher. That is when one understands what one wants to work on and have an idea on how one is going to manage it perfectly.
- -How about painting?
It is something I love doing. I like to paint when I am alone. That isn’t a problem for me since I live alone. I mostly do impressionist type of art since I have been influenced by my art teachers. Also, I have started doing some solder type of art. Solder is a type of art which is done using fire. It doesn’t need special course. However, the impressionist art style requires much more skills such as great brush techniques which makes it much more interesting.
-Have you ever had any exhibitions?
I had an art exhibition with my colleagues after I graduated from the art school, which I am proud to say went well. Hopefully I will do a solo very soon. It is hard to do exhibitions these days as it requires a huge budget. Also there is lack of materials. Art does require huge sacrifices, but as artists, we should continue to work hard in creating a working environment which allows us to present our works of art. Speaking of it, I have a collection and I plan to present them soon.
- -Before we say our goodbyes?
Yes, before we say our good byes, I would like to remind people that a girl can be an artist too, a girl can paint too. I want to remind my fellow Eritrean ladies that we have to prove that we can do anything we put our minds to. To be a designer, to be a teacher or a painter, let’s just have a dream that would accompany us in our lives. Thank you for having me.