- Abdu’l-Baha was the eldest son of Baha’u’llah. When Abdu’l-Baha passed away on 28 November 1921, He was eulogized as One who led humanity to the “Way of Truth,” as a “pillar of peace” and the embodiment of “glory and greatness.”
I recently came across the Instagram account @gogollage_ which features the collage art of Goitoom Gebru. We’ve featured the work of various artists who work in a diversity of media but this is the first time we’ve focused on collage art.
Goitoom graciously agreed to share some of his work, as well as a few words about his work, with us:
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Goitoom Gebru. I am 25 years old. I was born and raised in Tigray, Ethiopia. I studied architecture at university and now serve at the Baha’i World Center in Haifa, Israel. In my free time, I enjoy doing collage art and illustrating children’s books.
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little bit about your art? What medium do you use?
My love for art began at a young age at the local Baha’i center. My children’s class teachers were very supportive and encouraged me to continue developing my love for creativity. I grew an interest in mostly paper models and sketching.
My interest in collages specifically started to grow a few years ago when I was an animator for a Junior Youth group. We would organize art sessions to compliment the studying part of the JY program. I found it inspiring to see how the JY were developing different virtues like patience, focus and perfection while working on their collages. I then started to dedicate more of my time to work on the skill and it helped me grow in a lot of different ways.
The art medium I use is called collage art. My technique is gluing small pieces of papers from colored magazines and newspapers on an image I’ve sketched. I like to convey messages/ideas through my art, whether it’s commenting on society or something that inspires me.
Baha’i Blog: What inspires you?
My inspiration is drawn from the virtues that we need to acquire as Baha’is. As Abdu’l-Baha wrote, “The purpose of the creation of man is the attainment of the supreme virtues of humanity…” – so I use my art to reflect virtues I see in a captured moment.
Additionally, upon arriving in the Holy Land, the beauty and perfection of Baha’i Holy Places has been inspiring me to create artworks, such as the ones based on the Shrine of the Bab, the planned design for the Shrine of Abdu’l-Baha and the Master’s House.
Baha’i Blog: What do you hope people will take away from seeing the images you’ve shared?
I’ve seen a lot of support from people who have seen the art. For me it has been a good way of expressing Baha’i ideas and teachings. I hope they remind us to reflect on virtues we need to develop during tests and difficulties.
In most recent years, there has been a lot happening across the world, including the region of Tigray where my family are living. I hope my art reminds people to have hope and faith and to remember that these tests and difficulties across the world are “sent to us for our own perfecting.” I hope to remind them to believe in God that better days will always come, as well as to be strong in life regardless of your situation or test.
Baha’i Blog: What words of encouragement might you have for anyone wishing to create art?
Be patient with yourself. Practice and give it time, focus and work on what you enjoy most. And share it with the world! There is always someone who you will make happy by sharing your art.
Baha’i Blog: Thank you, Goitoom!
You can follow Goitoom’s art here on Instagram: @gogollage_
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