Ceramics and painting might difer in some ways but are similar in more ways. It must be hard and irrational to define art in few words as a one thing task. In its diversity there is its glorious harmony. Asmait Tekie’s and Samandary Yosef’s exhibition at the Gallery, in Asmara, became the talk of town last week. The exhibition was open for four days and saw a big flow of visitors. What interested the public most was the fact that these two artists have different occupations in the field of art. Asmait Tekie is a ceramicist while Samandary Yosef is a painter but they both set a successful and wonderful collaboration exhibition.
- Asmait Tekie, Ceramicist.
- Thank you for your time, care to tell us a little about yourself?
I am a pottery artist and I have been in the field for almost 15 years now. After I graduated from the H.E.W.O Art School, I continued working from home which encouraged me to work even more. I took pottery as a part time job since 2003 and have presented more than ten exhibitions so far, solo, and in collaboration with other artists.
- What do you think can be the benefits and challenges of Exhibiting solo and with partners?
From experience, a lot can be benefited from group presentations. I believe that two heads are better than one. There is always sharing of ideas and proficiencies besides the great financial help you get. Nonetheless, not only do you share ideas but also audience. For instance, this year, I am presenting with a painter and numerous people who didn’t know or weren’t interested in pottery got to see my products and the same also for those who came for pottery only.
Over the years, I have worked with a pottery artist, Danait Mihretab, which was great. We had the same interest and helped each other in every way. Now, I got to explore working in a field that is different but which I can relate to. It is wonderful.
I doubt that challenges can be an issue in group exhibitions since everything is done in collaboration and in agreements. I am not saying that they can never happen, but I guess it dependence on the individuals.
- Was there a clash of them for you both during this show?
C e r t a i n l y not. In order for group exhibitions to be successful, there should be strong communication a n d understanding among each other. Choosing the right display is an important matter to have a good exhibition. A beautiful work of art can be ruined from the way it is displayed. This year, we wanted to show that anything doesn’t have to be expensive and fancy to make a great display and that simplicity does have its own beauty. It was, in fact, artist Noah Mullubrhan’s idea to use wooden coffer to display the ceramics on the floor which added glamour to the show.
- Anything you want to say before we conclude our interview?
Yes. I want to thank God for all the great things. Also, it would not have been possible for me to get where I am without my husband, Ermias Ghebrelul. It is because of his undivided support that I am still pursuing my profession. I am saying this because I am also a mother of two and it could be hard sometimes, but with his support I am where I am and just want to say I am forever grateful. Also, my mother is one of the people who has contributed a lot in this, Freweini Kidsane. Once more, Artist Noah Mulubrhan and Tesfalem Atenaw have been on my side helping with everything, their ideas and energy, and I would like to thank them from the heart.
- Samandary Yosef, Painter.
- What a unique name you have? Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I guess it is. It is in Farsi (Iranian language) which means detachment. I am a self-thought artist. I haven’t gone to a specific art institution that I can say has influenced me to be a painter. I upgraded my skills through relentless practice and exhibitions. With time, I started taking short workshops and courses to uplift my hobby and turn it to a profession. After 2008, I enrolled in an engraving class where I met my mentor artist Erimias Okqbe. Artist Ermias has helped me so much in upgrading my skills. He helped me upgrade my knowledge in art philosophy and history which led me to believe that it’s not just skills that is important but knowing enough about the art concept as well.
- What type of art do you follow?
I like to work on realistic type of art. I was a social realist painter at first until I turned to portrait type of art. The reason I decided to turn to portrait is that out of all creatures humans are the ones that can express emotion the most. Again, the eyes are where you can see all emotions when you pay attention. So, I like to focus on eyes. I also like colors, I like a paintings’ color vibrancy.
For this exhibitions my painting style is mosaic paintings. My inspirations for the mosaic style is Asmara city. There are many mosaic tile buildings in the city. What I also like about the mosaic type of art is that, one small type doesn’t complete the work. It is a combination of numerous small tiles that make up a complete work. And that is how I feel about life. I feel that we are all single tile that make up a complete life when we are put together.
- Exhibition in partnership?
There is so much to benefit when you unite to present artistic works. I have done many exhibitions since 2008. I have mostly worked with painters before, so when I think about this show, I feel like it is a solo exhibition for both of us since we are in different fields. Again, it sure does help lot in developing the audience for both sides.
- Before we say our goodbyes…
I want to advise all artists in various professions, to keep upgrading themselves, to research and read to enhance their abilities.
Also, I want to thank my wife, Tirhas Tesfai. She has a big role in making this happen. Again, Asmait and her husband Ermias Ghebrelul. I am grateful for all their hard work and sustenance. Artists Noah Mulubrhan and Tesfalem Atena have been great to us and I want to thank them.