I know how lucky i am to have had the opportunity to go to ethiopia for two weeks, sit silently with my thoughts, open my eyes to a different reality and open myself up to artists that have ethiopia running through their veins. i still dont think i have had enough time to process my entire experience, but i have come to one very simple conclusion- each artist that i met is unique in their interpretation of how they "fit" in the world. every artist is ethiopian, but each experience is totally different from one another. that should be quite obvious to me, but at times i'm a bit dense. visiting a traditional artist, contemporary male artists, female artists, world-renowned artist and "professional drunk" artist ;)- i was amazed to see the diversity in talent- all the paintings capture "ethiopia" but in such different ways. they are all valid points of view. they are all spectacular. they are all fearless. one thing that i have learned is that i need to figure out what my voice is in all of this. what do i have to say? what am i?
part of what has helped me is that when i met these artists, i spoke the same language with them- instantly. it's kind of weird- a different kind of shop talk that sets off fireworks in my head. when i was a therapist, i "shop-talked" with fellow therapists, but never had such an intense reaction. for the longest time, i felt strange calling myself an artist- yes, i have sold many pieces and made a little $, but does that make an artist? nah. i think i have finally figured out that i am an artist, because of the "shop talk" and the craziness that only another artist understands. it doesnt need to be explained- we all speak it.