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Art: Etiyé Dimma Poulsen’s Mixed-Media Sculptures

Etiyé Dimma Poulsen [Ethiopia]

Etiyé Dimma Poulsen - Trois Statuettes

[Image credit: Trois Statuettes – Etiyé Dimma Poulsen]

Adorn your walls with these rather intriguing mixed-media sculptures from Ethiopian-born artist, Etiyé Dimma Poulsen. Distinctive forms in bright earthy colours show humanity stripped back to its most basic forms, displaying a frail-like vulnerability in the process.  Etiyé is an artist from a diverse multicultural background; born in Ethiopia, she was adopted by a Danish family living in Tanzania and attended an English school in Kenya before going to Denmark with her family. Later establishing herself as an artist, Etiyé opened a workshop in France and then moved to Belgium in 2003 where she currently has a workshop. 

Etiyé Dimma Poulsen - grand444
Etiyé Dimma Poulsen - Sun Goddess

[Image credit: top, Grand444; bottom, Sun Goddess – Etiyé Dimma Poulsen]

Etiyé bases her sculptures on traditional African art, seeing them as a kind of reinvention of the ancient art form; and on a personal level nostalgia for a continent, she left long ago. With African art as a base Etiyé’s creations also display influences from ancient Greek art and through her work Etiyé primarily creates Primordial figures in a process which could be called an examination of human nature. Processes like baking the clay in the oven draw parallels with one of humanity’s basic, most essential activities; that of cooking. Harnessing the elements of earth and fire, the sculptures are handmade using iron mesh and clay – soil from the earth – which is then painted before being fired in the kiln where the final results are left to chance due to the natural chemical reactions that occur.  

Etiyé Dimma Poulsen - Couple
Etiyé Dimma Poulsen - Maji

[Image credit: top, Couple; bottom, Maji – Etiyé Dimma Poulsen]

Grouping figures together give them a sense of belonging and it could be said a way of highlighting our shared existence from the joys to the sorrows. They are some funky looking sculptures, but they are also ones that make you reflect on humanity and its basic needs; for me even more so when I see what is currently happening on the streets of London and across the UK.

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