“My motivation and inspiration starts from what has stayed close to my heart, African people and Culture” Artist Yegizaw Michael
Let’s meet Yegizaw Michael, a painter who shares his thoughts and desires with the world through various works of art. Yegizaw, AkA Yeggy, is one of the most inspirational Eritrean artists who has dedicated his professional life to painting, sculpture, and mosaic art. A man of many talents, Yegizaw has received national and international awards. Hoping to share his knowledge and skills with other artists, Yegizaw plans to share his experience with Eritrean artists to inspire them to produce works of art that would make the Eritrean art industry shine internationally.
Today, Q&A gives you a short interview we had with the artist via email
- Hello, Yegizaw. Thank you for making the time to share your experience with us. Would you please introduce yourself to our readers?
I was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. That is also where I took my fine art studies. Currently, I am working in Seattle, Washington, USA, as the Art Program Director and Arts in Nature Festival Director at a nonprofit organization. I am customarily active in creating environmentally friendly EcoArt programs and activities for Seattle youth. I also own a studio based in Seattle, Yeggy Studio.
I have always been eager to express myself through mixed media and visual art. My motivation and inspiration starts from what has stayed close to my heart, African people and Culture.
- What type of art styles do you follow? And is there any specific reason?
I don’t conform to a specific style or type of artwork, but I would like to consider myself as someone who can identify with the contemporary art world.
My artistic work is to provoke questions about natural cycles, provide a sense of place and to reflect on the movement of time. My paintings are personal and positive contacts for vibrant thoughts and spiritual moments. In Public art, I use all kinds of materials to reinterpret the abstract and cyclical nature of all things. Sharing my work with spaces of infrastructure is the synthesis of a long-term relationship and embedded in it, the very moment in history that prolongs its memory in our minds.
- You were fortunate enough to win the Raimok Award. Would you please share with us your feelings regarding the event?
Winning the award felt good. It was a great honor to be recognized among other incredible Eritrean artists, and the experience deeply humbled me to motivate myself to work even harder.
- Yegizaw, you also shared your talents by teaching students. How has it influenced you as an artist?
Well, teaching is an excellent way of giving back to the community. It is also a very gratifying and satisfying experience for me personally. As much as I teach and share my knowledge, I also learned new things from the students. I feel like artists should share their knowledge and skill, that is how we can all grow as professionals and inspire others to come out and produce great works.
- If you were to describe art, what it means to you, what would you tell us?
Art for me means the expression of my heart. However, to speak in general terms, describing art is a highly complex issue, not only in terms of its multiplicity of forms and types but also in terms of its historical and cultural background. Also, the definition of art is very different for each person. Therefore, a simple description, or even a broad view of art, is proven difficult.
- Is there any plan to share your experiences with young Eritrean artists in the future?
Well, hopefully, I will get an opportunity to come to Eritrea and share what I’ve learned and the journey I went through to get where I am today, and in the process, open new opportunities for young Eritrean artists to advance their talent.
- Thank you for your time.