May 24, a historic day for the people of Eritrea to come together and celebrate their freedom as a nation.
May is the month that every Eritrean, from all walks of life, awaits with an equal anticipation to remember and honor how good it is to be free and walk the streets of their own cities filled with enthusiasm and confidence. It is the time all the people of Eritrea from all over the world remember the harsh times they went through as people and honor the heroes that have paid the ultimate price to bring them the freedom they deserved. Now, as they have been busy celebrating the 28th Independence Anniversary week, the recent peace situation that the country has embarked on added more meaning and color to the event.
As annually hosted, Eritreans have been busy reveling in many programs that represented the event that made the celebrations more enthusiastic and vibrant. The independence week celebrations included Sport competitions, art exhibitions, international and local music band shows, various artistic street shows are few of the programs that lighted up the independence week-long celebrations.
One of the many programs that took place was the Zinar art group exhibition the National Union of Eritrean Women hosted at their gallery in the name of independence. The exhibition opened on the 16th of May where Ministers and high ranking officials attended. The NUEW hosted the art exhibition for the fourth time now. The annually displayed art exhibition aims to encourage female artists to follow their dreams and helps them upgrade their talents as artists by providing a competitive ground for them. The union firmly believes that Eritrean female artists aren’t well encouraged to continue in art despite their great skills. The art exhibition included paintings, sculpture and innovational works which were prepared with a refrain that could represent the independence celebrations.
Ms. Zaid Mesfn, Head of administration and finance, told during an interview that the NUEW gives this exhibition a huge consideration as it is a one way to encourage female artists through displaying their talents and introduce them to the public. She also said “This art exhibition promotes the female artists in every way. We also display photographs at our gallery which we collected from the archives of the Ministry of Information and our own documentation center that shows the formation and growth of the NUEW over the years. The gallery stays open to anyone interested all year long; it is the way we tell our stories, our challenges and advancements till we get here to the younger generation.”
Ms. Zaid further noted that the NUEW followed a different idea regarding the innovations that were presented at the exhibition. They instructed the innovators to come up with works that would specifically help out in the daily lives of a woman and the innovators delivered perfectly. This year, the organization tried to follow another idea, an invention that can bring change to the society in general.
“We had interesting inventions last year. Which some of them are being modified and upgraded in a bigger scale. We have nominated the presenters here depending on the kind of work they presented. This presents them with a much greater platform to promote them as artists and innovators”, Ms. Zaid added.
Yosan Kaleab, an innovator, sculptor and painter is one of the artists who participate annually. She came up with an invention of a modern stove that mixes bakes and takes out of the oven by itself, which could bring change in the society. “I have a painting, a sculpture and this modern stove here this year. I feel like this is an opportunity for us to show the people that we can do anything.” She says with enthusiasm while explaining how her stove works. Her innovation has gotten great response from the audience.
Also another artist displayed painting of an Eritrean mother, who has seen different colonizers in Eritrea, including its independence and peace situation. She says what better painting can describe the Eritrean people’s toil to achieve freedom. After witnessing many colonies and enjoying the peace with her grandchildren, the Eritrean mother’s painting is titled “Nkulu Inqua’ Arkebkulu”, literally translated as “Blessed to have seen it all”. “This exhibition is just platform for us to upgrade our skills as female artists, as it provides an environment for competition, we work hard to come up with the best artistic work. That is where we are focused and determined to be good at what we do and present,” told us artist Shewit who is a married woman and a mother of three. She further explained how significant it is to get the support of the family to be successful in the art world especially for women who are married and with kids.
In addition to all the programs that were organized by all the governmental and non-governmental institutions, sport contests were one of the events that were included enthusiastically. As Eritrea has been known for its sport skills over the years, the Commission of Culture and Sports makes it its main task to inspire youth to get into sport by arranging competitions throughout the year. This year, badminton, tennis and chess tournaments are few of the sport activities that added taste to the festivities.
The Chess Federation in central region has organized chess games which were highly modest. Even though chess isn’t popular in Eritrea, history shows that it is one of the oldest games played by the locals. In addition, Eritrea has been one of the participants at the Individual Chess Championship 2019 where the East, Middle and North African countries participated which was hosted by Kenya in Mombasa. The competition included Open section, Rapid and Blitz types of competition. At the tournaments which 11 countries competed, Eritrea was able to get encouraging results and was able to get into competitive ranks.
The badminton and tennis games were also competitions that took the hearts of the fans. The play-offs encompassed 185 games which were fierce. Out of the 76 players 22 were females. All the competitions were concluded on the 19th of May. I have personally come to understand that the sports competitions and art exhibitions organized by the NUEW encourage young female talents to follow their dreams and that the Independence season not only serves as a glorious event in the Eritrean calendar, it also is a time for young talents to showcase their capacities. Resilience for Higher Progress!!