by Alison McGann, Photography / Design / Visual Arts Worker
Last April I went to work with an organisation called the Gemini Trust, who are linked with Valley and Vale Community Arts who I freelance for. My specific reason for going was to work with Gem Art, 8 talented individuals who sell their art in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
While I was there we did the first ever Skype (or so I was told) between Wales and Ethiopia, and that was with Margaret at SUSSED. Two Gem Artists Yednakechaw and Bekele showed some of their work to a group of people in Porthcawl. We exchanged words in Welsh and Amharic and that’s where the seed was planted for the GeminiSUSSED link.
Last friday we held an event at SUSSED a community cooperative in Porthcawl. It was an evening for people to experience a little taste of Ethiopia, as we celebrated the fact that Gem Art are now selling some of their creations at the shop. There was food, supplied by The Rainbow Restaurant – 34 Corporation Rd, Grangetown, Cardiff (well recommended if you’re in the area!) Dance, by Addisu Demissie, who is part of the world famous contemporary Ethiopian Dance Company Adugna, and also part of the Gemini Trust, who performed a beautiful duet with local Welsh dancer/choreographer Jessie Brett. The Betws Community Choir along with the Canton Singers sang a mix of Welsh and African songs. It was all infused together with the smell that will always remind me of that country, frankincense which of course was part of the coffee ceremony.
My visit to Ethiopia has brought a smile and a little sunshine into my life and regardless of the weather that evening there was such great atmosphere, I think that everyone who joined us felt the same. So I’d like to say thank you to Margaret for giving us this opportunity. We couldn’t think of a better shop to put our first display in.
I can honestly say that the individual pieces for sale are made with creativity and a genuine passion for art. So spread the word, call into the SUSSED shop and support this little gem of an organisation.