Existence is based on conditions. And these conditions create reality. Yet, the situations we live in a given reality make us to be part of it or create our own reality. My family, the community and the religion that I grew up in Ethiopia bear greater affinity to Israel. Such conditions created a vivid picture and imagination about Israel which remained colossal throughout my life. Hence, I cheerfully accepted the invitation of the artist residency right away. I traveled to Israel with all the detailed pictorial accounts I had in mind. However, as the saying, "When you go there; there is no there"; my experience was completely different from what I have ever imagined. Yet, my encounter which was so expeditiously eccentric couldn't even give me a chance to comprehend the boundaries of the paradoxes between the pictures I had and the reality I discovered there. I was swiftly taken by the intensity of my 'new discoveries' through the trips I had to various parts of Israel. The constant unearthing of history, culture, economy, society, religion, politics, reality and what could be embedded in every minute details of my adventures made me realize the conditions that Israel is created. In short, I faced 'the reality' in Israel. Nevertheless, I was rather in the blurred boundaries among comprehending the conditions that created the reality; sticking or not to the imaginations I had; creating my own reality or becoming part of the reality in Israel. Through the first ten days visit I had to various historical, religious and politically contested places as well as museums and art schools; I began to materialize every bit of the complexities that Israel is made of. The ways and reasons that the people of Israel convened after 2,000 years; the peculiar notions of boarders and boundaries between Israel and Palestine; and the reality and conditions of "Ethiopian Israeli's" were among the augmentations that I reaped during my trips. Yet, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jericho, Haifa, Hebron, Jordan River and Dead Sea are some of the places that opened various doors that let me in and out of numerous inquiries and dissect a range of trajectories. That was how, where and how I began to think about Existence. Though notions of history, language, race, religion and so forth that put human beings in conflict as well as the questions that one grapples to entertain the very essences of Existence are broader; the four pieces I created during the residency capitalized on the spectrums of existence based on the impressions I had as well as the inquiries I made that created a sort urge within me to articulate.
The four pieces I created during the residency could evidently be looked at in relation to the pretexts of the body of works that I've been making recently within various series. This is attributed to the larger-than life size drawings of human body that portray the magnitude of the gigantic notions of ego and power implanted within addressing the ambivalences of Existence. Such a visual depiction is backed by the collages at the rear. I believe that what position a human being in different conditions, which in turn creates a given reality, are its/human being's/ intentions and the very idea of creating another 'preferred' reality for the sake of realizing its Existence.
Africa First Artist Residency, Tel-Aviv, Israel, Nov-Dec 2018.