Math was not his forte as he once explained to his elementary school teacher. For Yared Nigussu, the noted Ethiopian artist, art was the destination he envisioned for himself. Painting to be exact. Little did he know that would be his livelihood.
Now, after years, Yared Nigussu, the Vancouver resident artist, is recognized in front of a wider audience as a featured artist by the Vancouver SAGE foundation .
Yared’s fascination with the human face is reflected through his large scale paintings.
Born and raised in AddisAbaba Ethiopia, Yared studied at the Addis Ababa School of arts and design. He then went to France where he thought Art. After moving to Canada, Yared’s artistic works have been focused on urban architecture.
He staged several exhibitions including at Toronto’s Hash Tag gallery, France and Austria.
Yared who also won Toronto’s art battle (live Painting) for three years in a row, has recently been recognized by the Vancouver based “SAGE Foundation for his featured art work “Immigration, a natural Phenomenon”.
He reflected about the award and his featured art work with the producer of ethiofidel.com, (EF) Johnny Ayalew
Here is the interview :
1. Johnny/EF: First of all congratulations . Tell us a bit about yourself?
Yared Nigussu: Thank you . I was born and raised in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. I graduated from Addis Ababa University school of Fine Arts and design. After graduation, I was teaching art and then I went to France to study the French Teaching Curriculum. Currently , I am full time Studio Artist.
2. Johnny EF : Why did the SAGE foundation decided to recognize you?
Yared Nigussu : The SAGE Foundation is a non-profit organization that awards and gives recognition for people who achieve
excellence in their profession and inspires the community. The SAGE foundation believed my Art has a great importance in our community and that brings positive and cultural impacts in the society in general.
3. Johnny (EF): What were you trying to put across with your featured art work?
Yared NIgussu : This is a great opportunity for me to reach out to the international Audiences to showcase not only my body of art works but also an opportunity to explain my ideas. The characteristics of my day to day life is mostly, locking myself in my studio(I call it my Temple) and chances are limited to discuss with large numbers of Audiences about my works. As an artist I always hoped and considered my artistic activity will bring people together and mainly allow them to discuss, and exchange ideas, show the different angle in artistic form.
The recognition will allow us to get a free advertisement in the Local Newspaper (Afro News), which is Valuable for me. It’s like a fuel for my creativity. It’s a great feeling that my art work stands out among many talented artists and got attention. For me it’s more than anything that my name and my country mentioned in a good way. I do believe that it’s not going to be that far the world will understand the fact that Ethiopia doesn’t only have a great runners but also many other professionals who can put our country’s name on the list.
4. Johnny EF: What was your reaction at the event?
Yared Nigussu : I had been given a 10-15 minute of speech about my art that included a short question and answer. I used this opportunity to talk about my child hood, where I came from and my inspiration like who inspired me to be an artist and talked about my current art works which is about ‘’IMMIGRATION-The Natural phenomena.” As you might remember this, it’s a very sensitive topic that the politicians, media and the rest of the world didn’t want to give a lot of attention. While thousands of people from all over the world, mainly from Africa to Europe migrate to fulfill their basic human needs. In my speech, I tried to give a metaphysical approaches rather than a political and Economic view. I highlighted that we are all Immigrants since the time we stepped out of our mother’s womb to this world, and event by the time when we came out from our father’s waist… we can go further and deeper. So my conclusion was that we should have to have a compassion for any strangers outside of our door. To understand and to help them is a moral obligation to all of us, to remember that we are all human beings that we need to compromise and help each other.
5. Anything upcoming for you?
Yared Nigusssu : I am working on my upcoming art festival that will be held in IBIZA Spain. The Opening is on August 06, 2015. I am also committed to paint several large size paintings for for Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Vancouver.