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PORTRAIT

Girmay H. Hiwet was born in Ethiopia in 1948 in the environment of academical parents. After highschool he studied for five years in the Academy of Fine Arts of Addis Ababa. For over a quarter of a century Hiwet lives now in Zollikon.

For a long time Hiwet is a member of the GSMBA (Swiss Artists Union). Research studies made him go, among others, to the USA. Hiwet is always on the road to prepare single or group exhibitions, be it in Zurich, Baden or Zollikon, be it in the big cities of the world like New York, London or Paris. Every year Hiwet returns for several weeks to Ethiopia

Nevertheless, Hiwet does not see himself as an Ethiopian or African artist. When you approach him about the luminous power of paint and the combination of his colours, and call those Ethiopian or at least not middle-European, he immediately contradicts, and that even with a very good reason. He shows paintings of other Ethiopian artists from his collection, paintings which all differ, especially in the colour composition, from each other as well as from his.
 

Addis Abeba Ethiopia 1948 Zürich Switzerland 1973
 
The first thing we remark on Hiwets paintings is the unbelievable richness of their colours. They are colours, which strike directly into every limb of our body, they set us in motion and carry us away so we believe we fly into another world. Magic comes from the paintings and yet, by their creation, everything went the right way. Hiwet knows his business of painting, something that not quite all artists can say about themselves nowadays anymore. Hiwet is a painter, he is the artist who creates every zone of his paintings, even the smallest, consciously and does not leave anything to coincidence. The creative power for his paintings he finds within himself. Hiwet opens his inner sight wide and lets the vision grow until it has matured and is realised in a painting. 

The decisive factor, the artistic part with Hiwet is, therefore, not the technique of creation into which many artists read something, it is much more the inner imagination which he realises with the means of his art. Hiwet, as a painter, wants to communicate something to us. Differently from other contemporary artists, who leave their works without title or even call them "untitled", he gives each of his paintings a English and German title: Eternal Circle, Girl from the North Country, Easter 33 ad. Ethio-Jazz, Banner der Geister, Fish of Lac Léman, Technoparty-Zürifest, Roots, etc. These titles though should not tempt us to look for a programmatic statement in his paintings. What many artists claim for themselves, that it is them who take an independent standpoint, is really true for Hiwet. He is neither an exclusively Ethiopian or African artist, nor is he a conformist and enthusiastic supporter of an art trend of the modern Western world. He does not refer to an archaic fund and he does not obey any "Isms" of this century. As a private person he feels well as an Ethiopian who is adapted in Switzerland but as an artist he works within bigger, supranational connections.
 
My Parents Weheba & Hiwet Hidaru "My Family" EZANA & CHRIS HIWET
   
It is humanity, it is the inner side of the human being mostly, to which he helps to new shapes and forms again and again. Hiwets paintings consist from a special material: The first we remark is - as already mentioned - the splendour of the colours and forms. At first it appears to us as if it opens supernatural worlds. After taking it in for a while we realise that it brings something home to us, something familiar and real, yet often thought to be lost. This splendour touches in us the senses of experience, sets them in motion and makes them ring. Hiwets paintings seem like a big symphony of colours and forms to us, like the music of a big orchestra whose instrumental groups play one moment close together, the next in various harmonies. It seems to us as if we move in a space. But which space does this painted music fill? Is it the real space; is it our dreaming soul? The splendour of Hiwets paintings is undestroyable but still almost untouchable, it shines and reaches the depth; its parts move, unite, part, emerge and disappear, they consist - we realise it now - of this light but untearable material of which our dreams are made. 

In spite of this abundance we are not lost in Hiwets paintings. All these many different parts have grown together like the segments of a breathing organism: the lines, rows of dots and colour zones, the concrete and unrealistic forms, the dimming and the eye-catching parts - Hiwet puts all of them patiently and with a high sensitiveness on the canvas, watching carefully for the contrasts and counterparts, for the repetitions and the changes. But the completed painting does not reveal the time and effort put into it, at the end it looks as if a conductor brings in the different instrumental groups with an easy touch. 
Look closer at the paintings; get inspired by the music of the colours and forms, by his artistic creativeness and his commitment to humanity.

Dr. Antonino Orlando, Art Consultant 
Zurich,1999
 
TV TM3, Forumclaque Gallery Baden 1996,Swiss
& Leondardo Sky – TV Florence, Italy 2003
My Father Hiwet Hidaru (Swiss- Zürichland Exp. 1987) & 
with Skunder Boghossin – 1989 USA
Ato Abera – Ethiopian TV 2002 &
Meskerem Assegued for " Entrepreneur " 19.3.2002
Paris Notre-Dame 1998 & NEW YORK 1993
 
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