If you are one who knows Amharic well, then you are familiar with the term “Sem ena Werq”, literally ‘Wax and Gold’, in English. If you are not familiar with it, it is a creative way of communicating or passing on a message in a roundabout way, a double entendre. You will say or write something obvious and apparent on the surface, but without changing a single word, it will convey the real message when heard or read in a certain way. Hence, the obvious is said to be the wax of the message, while the not so obvious or real message is considered the gold. And now, a project developed by Netsa Art Village has been named ‘Wax and Gold’ and apparently intends to invigorate artists and engage them in a unique way, participatory artworks, with forays into the community to display their works and hold dialogues with them.
Netsa Art Village states that this will be done through the sharing of information by experts on local and international laws regarding freedom of artistic expression, the sharing of extensive experience with local and foreign professionals with knowledge on the subject, presentations, discussions and practice-based experience sharing with different artists from various parts of Africa.
With this initiative, the Art Village, which holds its events within the confines of the village itself or other venues since its establishment and hopes to echo the voices of children and the youth through workshops, musical concerts etc., feels that it should actually do a lot more among the community.
Wax and Gold is intended to create an environment where artists can develop courage and strategy in the form of enjoying and producing works of Art with dual meanings that will be understood in the ‘sem ena werq’ context. 15 artists from Ethiopia will be involved through an open call for participation of the 15-day workshop.
Five young Artists, Boniface Mwangi from Kenya, Jelili Atiku from Nigeria, Peterson Kamawathi from Kenya, Zenzele Chulu from Zambia and Ayman Ramadan from Egypt will share their experiences and produce works of art with Ethiopian artists, which will then lead to a collective art exhibition that will be held at the gallery of the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design on July 17th.