Our guest today is Isak Abraham, a young artist who has introduced String Art, a new form of art, to Eritrea. Isak was born in 1996 in Ethiopia and came to Eritrea in 2003. He studied Construction Technology at Eritrea Institute of Technology at Mai Nefhi and is currently working at Badme Construction Company.
How did you get into string art?
I was introduced to string art through an exhibition that was broadcast on television. I was amazed to see such splendid art of various curves done only by strings. On my vision board I wrote a plan to make 30 string art and have an exhibition. But due to the pandemic I wasn’t able to achieve my goal. Then I had the opportunity to make 25 pieces of work. I had to learn how to do it by watching YouTube videos that I downloaded from the Internet. At the beginning it was very hard but when you keep on doing it, it becomes easy.
Tell me something about string art.
String art is a form of art done by using string, nails and wooden table. There are two types of string art – Representative cure and Geometric patterns (quadratic Bezier curve). In Representative curve, the strings serve as colors because the sketch is already designed by the nails, but string art is represented better in Geometric patterns, which make it possible to create different types and more meaningful curves without the use of nails. What makes string art unique is that whenever you see it, it always conveys new messages and meanings. String art makes the artist more creative, especially Geometric patterns.
How do you choose your colors?
I have never taken any class about color. I learned through trial and error, which is why it took me longer than intended to complete my works.
What messages do you convey through your work?
All of my works have messages. For instance, when I was making “Africa” I had to redo it several times because I wanted to show today’s Africa in relation to the bright future it could have. Through my work called “Green Legacy,” I wanted to pay tribute to those who contributed in the past and those who are contributing toward making our country green. And through my work titled “Unity,” which took more strings to make than the others, I wanted to say that fullness is found in unity. Again through “Two worlds” I want to show that although every person lives in some part of the world that others do not live in, we need to recognize that we all live in the same one world. For me all of my works have meaningful messages, but there are some that don’t have titles because I wanted to let the admirers of art to make their own interpretations. After all art is for the people.
Aim of your exhibition…
To create a space for a totally new form of art in our country, where we seem to be familiar only with paintings, and also show that the beauty created by string art can’t be found in paintings and vice versa. Each type of art has its own beauty. The goal is to create a new platform of art. For example, an idea to make a new form of art by combining string art with painting has been born at the exhibition as a result of suggestions from several painters.
Feedback of the people…
Probably because it’s been done for the first time in our country, I’m being admired. I think the real evaluation will be given in my 2nd and 3rd exhibitions. I know what I have done so far is the most basic and understand that I have to do more, especially considering that the Asians are taking string art to its highest level.
Challenges you had…
Mostly my own mistakes were my biggest challenges, but they are also my base for my present status and my future. Also, not having anyone to consult for feedback did make it a bit difficult. The most disappointing moment is when you discover at the last stage that you have made a mistake or aren’t satisfied with the combination of colors you wanted. This means you have to do it all over again. It takes a lot of patience . And there were financial issues. But if you have a clear vision and are willing to work, no stumbling block can prevent you from achieving your goal.
I believe what can make me a fine artist is portraying or creating a beauty by using materials that are found around me, including things that people throw away, and help create a sustainable environment. I intend to improve the art by using recycled materials to persuade every person to play their own role in creating good environment.
Sixty percent of those who wrote comments show that they have a good taste of art, I would recommend to the associations involved in art and in recycled materials to create platforms to assist those who have wonderful ideas but lack the means to showcase them. By helping those that aren’t known and the young as a whole, we help develop the art of our country to an international level.
Any final messages…
I would like to thank Segen Art Gallery who have given me space for the exhibition free of charge to encourage me. I also thank my parents and my friends who have supported me in every way. Without their support, this exhibition wouldn’t have been successful.
Finally, I would like to say to the youngsters that it is never enough to be a dreamer. We must go out there and give what we would like to do a try no matter what the challenges are. We shouldn’t be afraid of trying new things; we should be practical people as the world has enough dreamers but not enough people of action.
Thank you for your time.