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The Remarkable Achievement of a Clay Artist

By Furtuna Kahsay

Our guest today is Rim Dawit. Using clay, she makes a range of ceramic objects that are used as household utensils and decorations. Rim says, “Instead of hanging your certificate on the wall, put your creative and spectacular work in high places”

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Tell us a bit about your background and how you started the ceramic artwork?

I am 25 and I was born and raised in Asmara. I went to Sawa with the 29th round (in 2015) to complete my military service. At the moment, I am working at the Ministry of Tourism in Asmara. I was mainly inspired by my uncle, Mr. Solomon. Because of the admiration I had for him, I started to play with mud. Then I started making some ornaments and decorations for the house using materials such as gypsum and beads. In 2013, when I was 16, I joined Asmara Ceramics School. Out of the 30 students I was the youngest. After taking courses for nine weeks, I began to make ceramic objects using clay. I used some of my products to decorate my house and sold the rest.

How is a ceramic made?

Making a ceramic object is a creative, challenging, sensitive and intellectual work. Fine mud passes through a lot of stages before it takes the final shape and form you want. You need to be patient because it takes a lot of time to make a ceramic work neatly and carefully. Ceramic works are so delicate that some break easily while others explode when placed in the glaze of fire.

What is ceramics for you?

It’s the way I express my inner emotions, feelings and thoughts. I could say it is a loyal friend for me. It symbolizes our culture and, in a way, reflects our identity. A ceramic object is used as a gift, decoration, and a household utensil such as xahli (cooking pot) and jebena (kettle used to make coffee).

You had an exhibition at Segen Art Gallery; how was it?

It was pretty good. An exhibition is important and helps make your work evident to the public. Of course, organizing an exhibition is challenging and requires patience and dedication. Before organizing an exhibition at Segen Art Gallery, many of my friends, superiors and family members were asking me to make my work public in Eritreo-German and sell my products to make a living. But I kept my work and waited for almost six years until I found the right time. My exhibition was also delayed because of the spread of Covid-19.

I heard you are a teacher at Maitesfa Ceramics School

I worked as an assistant teacher for almost three years after returning from Sawa. Later on, I was assigned as a full-time teacher.

Any hobbies

I love making biscuits, which I intend to grow into a profession.

Were your parents supportive?

I wouldn’t be able to reach this stage without the motivation and financial support of my parents, teachers and relatives, especially my uncle, Solomon. I would like to express my gratitude to them for all their assistance.

Also, I would like to thank Segen Art Gallery for hosting the exhibition.

Your future plan

First of all, I would love to change the perspective of our society toward clay and its products because it is often despised and not valued. I also would like to make a masterpiece and hold a large exhibition to make my work more evident nationally and internationally.

Any message for those who took courses on making ceramics but are not applying it.

Ceramic artwork might appear to be difficult, making you wonder how it is made. But once you start making it, it begins to guide you. If you have learned how to make ceramics, stand up and start walking and the door will open for you. Don’t wait for opportunities to come; you are the one who creates your own opportunity. Instead of hanging your certificate on the wall, put your creative and spectacular work in high places.

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