Following the path blazed by his father and other family members, Dawit Brhane is a young teenager currently receiving rave reviews for his astounding artwork. At just 14, Dawit has already produced a large array of impressive pieces and even held a solo exhibition, which was well-received by the general public. Today, we are pleased to share the story of a highly-talented young man with a great future ahead of him – Dawit Brhane.
- -Hello Dawit. Thank you for meeting us today. Can we talk a little about your inspirations as a kid?
I have always been amazed by what my family members – most of whom are also artists – can do. My dad, Brhane Adonai, my uncles, aunties, and cousins are some of the most famous artists in the country. I grew up looking at their works and studying the techniques that they use. I officially started to paint when I was just 7. However, due to some reasons I wasn’t able to continue. I went back to painting when I turned 12. Now I am 14 and I attend Dembe Sembel Secondary School.
- -Does it get demanding for you as you also have to study academics?
Not at all. I try to do my best to manage my lessons, both in art and at school. I am an average student.
- -Is having talented and famous artists in the family a help or maybe somewhat a burden?
It really is great to be born into a family of great artists. I didn’t have to go through the usual opposition from family that most young artists have to go through. I had the background and support I needed. I am lucky.
I started painting in reverse. I studied modern art first. However, I should have probably started with realism, since modern art is much more complicated. But starting with modern art made realism even easier for me. In fact, realism isn’t an easy type of art…it requires great amount of detailed work.
- -What type of art do you enjoy to paint?
I am not at a stage where I am choosing to paint any type in particular. Currently, I am studying the different styles of art. Action painting, still-life painting, landscapes, realism, collages, and others. I am giving my all in order to broaden my knowledge of and experience with the various types of art.
For instance, the works that I presented in my first solo exhibition were works of art which I completed mainly for studying purposes. I titled it Stage of Development. It was at a time I considered myself as an artist and hoped it would motivate me to succeed in art. Since my paintings were all completed for studying, they included various styles.
- -What was the feedback that you received from the audience?
To be honest, I never expected that so many people would come to the exhibition. Also, people were positively surprised with my work. Many suggested that it was beyond their expectations. I had many positive comments from people who attended. These reception has encouraged me and motivated me to do more in the art world.
- -Do you participate in art contests?
This is a topic that I want to stress in this interview. There aren’t that many art competitions held here, which is rather unfortunate. I wish that the government or other stakeholders would work to upgrade the art industry in the country by organizing competitions and establishing a well-recognized school.
But to return to your question, yes I have participated in contests. In fact, I have participated in 7 competitions, winning 4 of them. For example, I won 1st place in the art competition organized by the Turkish embassy. I was pleased because there was more than 500 contestants. In addition, at a competition which the Central region administration organized for Independence Day celebrations, I won 2nd place. I also won 1st prize at the 2018 European Union event on children’s rights.
- -Have you taken any special courses, beyond your training or practice at home?
No, I haven’t. But I did complete a short workshop once. Nonetheless, I have the great benefit of coming from a long line of talented artists. Studying how they work with and use different styles is, in many ways, far better than any theory. I look at my uncles’ and my father’s drawings and learn a lot more than I could in other contexts. I also try to study and practise every style through anything I can – people, books, and photographs.
- -Is there anything that you would like to add?
We have many talented and passionate painters, young and old. I would like to remind all the young artists, particularly those who maybe don’t have the same opportunities that I have, to just believe in yourself and know that you can achieve anything if you are determined. It takes time, but you can do it. Also, I would like to thank everyone who supported me during my exhibition. It means a lot.
To my family, I would like to give all my love and thank them for everything that they do. They are an inspiration.