Caribbean Days (work of art)
Key Ideas about this Work of Art
- This painting was inspired by the African diaspora, African languages and designs, and jazz music. Wosene Worke Kosrof (who goes by the name “Wosene”) describes his work as a type of improvisation in which he allows the paint to guide him.
- The painting is part of a series about migration and the immigrant experience, the Caribbean diaspora, and Pan-Africanism.
- Wosene uses the script form of letters from his native language as a key element in his paintings and sculptures.
The title of this painting refers to the African experience in the Caribbean. It also refers to the Caribbean diaspora (the large number of people of Caribbean descent who have moved to other places throughout the world). Caribbean Days combines Ethiopian written language, sacred symbols, and African motifs. It is part of a series titled Words: From Spoken to Seen (2004–2008). The series explores the themes of migration, immigration, and Pan-Africanism.
Wosene (wo-sinny) is best known for transforming Ethiopian lettering and designs into colorful abstract art. He is the first Ethiopian contemporary artist to use the script forms of the Amharic language in paintings and sculptures. He distorts, takes apart, and reassembles letters and symbols into a unique visual art form. Wosene says he is inspired by improvisation in jazz music. When he creates his paintings, he improvises by letting the paint guide his actions. His paintings invite viewers to look closely at his work and discover their own meanings.
“I create a visible, interactive surface – like visual icons accessible to everyone. My paintings invite viewers to dialogue with them, to take them into their memory.”
–Wosene Worke Kosrof
Resources for Teachers:
- Watch a video interview with Wosene.
- Learn about the Amharic script in this painting.
- Watch a video discussion led by Carolina Public Humanities on “Engaging the African Diaspora in K-12 Education.”
Resources for Students:
- Watch a video interview with the artist.
- Watch a video tutorial on how to make a Wosene-inspired drawing.
- Watch part two of the video tutorial.
- Visit the artist’s website to see more of his paintings.