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Filega 4 by Elias SimeElias Sime is an Ethiopian artist that lately has attracted a lot of attention and even when he works and lives in Ethiopia, his art has been seen and praised all over the western world.
I think (but I might be wrong) that the last exhibition in the US was the one in Santa Monica in 2009. It was called “Eye of the needle, eye of the heart”.
Sime’s work is deeply related to the place where he lives and reflects Ethiopian culture from the point of view of a modern artist.
He is very well known and loved in Ethiopia, by the people and specially by children. Many of them help him gather “art material” for his works, usually used stuff of all kind than he later recycles into meaningful art, so in a way he’s seen as a sort of “magician” that transforms discarded goods into beautiful pieces.
In the Santa Monica exhibition, Elias Sime main material was yarn that he carefully threaded and sew with infinite patience to transform it into these beautiful pieces. He also added buttons, bottle cups, fabric and other discarded objects to create wonderful collages. I recommend you watch the YouTube video below to listen in his own words what he tries to express in his work.
He has a very unique approach to art, clearly grounded in the traditions of his country. He works with mud and straw to create sculptures, but also to build houses, something rooted in the Ethiopian culture. He wants to recover the ancient knowledge of using mud for construction that is more environmentally friendly and more efficient than the corrugated iron that is now the norm for the locals.
He’s currently building along with other artists the Zoma Contemporary Art Center in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia.
A new exhibition by Elias Sime titled Ants and Ceramicists just ended last week in Addis Ababa and hopefully soon will travel outside the country. This exhibit was so big, that it was necessary to use four different venues to show all the work: the Alliance Éthio-Française, the British Council, the Goethe-Institut, and the Italian Cultural Institute, one more hint that his work is truly appreciated in Ethiopia and abroad.
He has added in this exhibition new materials too, changing thread for plastic shoes, coins, and tiles, avoiding limiting himself to just one material or style.
Elias Sime has also been compared to another African artist, Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui that mainly uses wood,metal, and clay for his work.

What is love by Elias Sime


Elias Sime: Eye of the Needle, Eye of the Heart
The trash of life is Elias Sime’s art CSM
Elias’s art fuses with Oedipus Rex Musical Addis Journal
Elias Sime’s thrones & bones DireTube
Ants Go Marching in Discarded Plastic Shoes Addis Fortune
Elias stuns international audience  
El Anatsui