“The inspiration for my works is dominantly nature. I use natural forms and textures that I observe from my surroundings and I divert them in my way to translate them into something meaningful. Collage, as if I am documenting different ideas on my diary: my sketches are my words. I usually use amorphous forms to play with the unframed essence of nature, and collage for me is an unfinished piece that shows utter dynamism just like nature itself which is continuously affected by change.”-Genet Alemu
Alemu was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Growing up in a family dominated by women, the main focus of many of her works are women. Depicting her ideas from a women’s perspective, Alemu likes creating and exploring new ways of transmitting her ideas. Alemu is very much into collage and print making techniques and hand makes her own papers from natural fibers which greatly compliments her collage and print works.
Alemu runs a studio called ‘Meftle’, where she provides short term trainings of etching and paper making. ‘Meftle’ in Amharic means spinning which is the early process in producing the traditional clothes – a major activity in women’s life in Ethiopia . During ‘Meftle’ something as weak as thread is transformed into something real, strong and beautiful such as the traditional Ethiopian dresses. Alemu has the same mentality when creating these handmade papers in the studio. She uses natural fibers that were basically unwanted and thrown away, and transforms them into colorful papers which adorn her intricate and colorful masterpieces.
Alemu’s work has been shown in exhibitions to include the Fort Lamu and The French Cultural Institute, Nairobi, Kenya (2006) of which during the 5th Wasanii International Artists Workshop, Alemu presented a wind chain installation work in an open space.
St. George Gallery has exhibited Genet Alemu’s work since 2011.