Monthly Archives: January 2016

An Ethiopian Diary: Day 3


Catching my breath from the flood of vibrancy all around me. The cars, buses, exhaust, dust, pollution, overpopulation — it’s all very “vibrant” and alive. But the color, faces, contrasts, chaos and glorious madness of all the extensive goings-on balance it out.

Driving the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is far better and entertaining than anything on your smart phone, I promise.

Today had me in my happy place. Teaching and sharing art at the International Community School of Addis Ababa. We worked on illustration for our bookmaking project.

Why are we making books?

Here is the short of it:
• There are 70 languages in Ethiopia.
• School is taught only in Ahmaric and then, by grade 7, English.
• Your mother tongue is not Amharic or English, it is highly likely you have never learned to read in your own language, making it much harder to learn and write in Ahmaric than in English.
• All early learners deserve books they can read.

So yes, let’s make books that can be translated into local language!

But first, we are off into the wilds of Southern Nations, Ethiopia, to make our own work. Eight artists in all. Oh, the joy of it!

Street life: A “hello” from a passerby.


A curious onlooker from the traffic jams of Addis.


Hello, beautiful!


Ethiopian Odyssey II team after a day of teaching art and writing!


Illustrations for our book making project, based on Ethiopian proverbs!


More illustrations …

Vibrant street art!


An Ethiopian Diary: Day 1


Travel and art, art and travel: They go together, and my eye sees composition all around me upon my arrival in Addis Ababa. The mud meets metal, bamboo, eucalyptus, building material, with skyscrapers and a brand new light rail system. It’s a city of contrasts, to say the least. Throw in my foreign self, and the juxtaposition is a bit much — but then again, this is why we travel. To look at things differently, to let our eyes and mind be surprised. It’s exhilarating, it’s exhausting; like the city itself, your interpretations are a bag of contrasts.

A composition, to say the least.


More layers …


Well, you don’t see that every day …


Puppies find rest and shade.


She’s a beauty, but look all around her. The eye has much to take in.


While the city has a brand new light rail system, more traditional forms of people movers still abound.


And the new light rail. Addis Ababa, it’s a changin’ …