Words Matter, Two
Wosene Worke Kosrof’s recent work continues his long-standing exploration of the interplay between language, identity, aesthetic beauty and material using the language symbols of Amharic – one of the few ancient written systems in Africa – as a core compositional element. His work is dense with visual complexity that reflects an awareness of a vast array of both formal and inherited traditions. He relieves words of conventional meanings and, instead, explores their aesthetic, sensual, and visual content to speak boldly and clearly to a universal audience. With Amharic calligraphy, Wosene explores the aesthetic dimensions of the script rather than producing legible text. "I am seeking the poetic or artistic value of the "fiedel" or language symbols themselves, and I see my work as visual poetry. The writing in my painting does not tell a literal story, but rather a visual story. The Amharic "fiedel" are extremely beautiful and have rhythmic and dancing forms. I "choreograph" them on canvas, I cut them apart, turn them upside down, repeat sections of them to discover the beauty of written language and to think about how we communicate. I communicate with color, line and composition, rather than with sounds, conventional words and literal narratives".