“I left Ethiopia with my family at the age of five. As the affairs of immigration and absorption filled our lives over the next several years, the memory of my African roots came only in flashes – games, songs, tastes, smells, and color. Growing up in Israel I found myself drawn to American hip hop and soul, street art and fashion. As I entered school for fashion design, I needed to develop a creative identity – but where would I start?
“A 2002 journey back to Ethiopia sparked a new connection to my roots. Inspired by my vivid childhood memories, I began exploring the traditional and current Ethiopian cultures. That trip, the first of several, sharpened my memories and focused my attention on what would become the inspiration for my work – my mother and grandmother.
“From Ethiopia to Israel, through immigration and absorption, my mother and grandmother, continued the traditional crafts of fine embroidery and basket weaving using colorful threads. Those simple geometric patterns have become a strong graphic motif in my paintings. Combining these patterns with images of strong women create the series I call MULU and the BETA CLAN. Mulu is a female name in Amharic, meaning ‘whole’ and ‘perfection’. Mulu is my alter ego; she represents the special women in my life and empowers them.
“In my work, I seek to empower women and build a visual bridge between my native origins and contemporary art and culture, reflecting my connection to fashion, street art and graphics. In doing so, I create a language of my own, redefining a place where the vast influences of my life can coexist.”
~ Hirut Hiroots Yosef
Artist, Fashion Designer
American Debut Exhibition – Sunday, February 8th @ Katz Family Mainstreet Gallery / MJCCA in ATLANTA, 4-6pm
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Hiroots on Flickr