During my first year in Canada I traveled frequently on the bus between Montreal and Kingston. I remember being on the highway, watching the fall colours and making sketches.
That year eastern Ontario was also hit by a once in a century ice storm: trees and grasses were startling beautiful with
Fall, 1999, Collage
their coats of ice, although the thick ice created a great deal of havoc. Canadian falls and winters were all new to me. The idea that an ice storm was unusual didn’t occur to me.
Moving to Canada I used Canadian images, as well as creating work that was rooted in my Ethiopian experiences. I worked largely with collage, although my shows have always been a mixture of different media: collage, ink on wood, pastel, acrylic, oil, mixed media at different times. I enjoy variety, so my shows tend to be selected images rather than a unifying theme.
When I create with collage I start with a rough sketch, and cover the background. My collage is a painting technique, where cut paper serves as brush strokes. The final part of creating can take the longest. I like to set up my pieces in my studio, and watch them over time. Finishing is about getting the colours and texture just right, and making sure my collage is settled.
Montreal, 1998, Collage
Montreal was the first place I lived in Canada. (A year later I moved to Kingston.) My collage of Montreal was from the view out of my apartment window. It took several months of playing with elements to get the look just right.
This was one of the pieces I took with me to Montreuil, France
for the 5th Salon du Livre de la Plume Noire exhibition in 1999.