Exploring new cities through ikebana is an exciting way to get to know new places. Every new city has its peculiarities and exciting plants that can be used in ikebana. Addis Abeba, አዲስ አበባ, Ethiopia’s capital is no exception. The name of the city is very symbolic – it means a new flower. Difficult to find a better name for a city – it is music for an ikebana artist exploring the city. The city is also known by its Oromo name Finfinne which means “natural spring”. The city has grown into diplomatic capital since its establishment in 1886. You can read more about the city here.
Addis Abeba, Finfinne is a big city and large amount of time is spent in transport from one part of the city to another. While being driven in a new city, I like to observe the life that is flowering on the streets. Some of these snapshots have inspired my ikebanas and some of my ikebanas have inspired the snapshots. Both photographs and ikebanas help me tell you stories about my experiences. However, you can retell those stories and make them your own. Enjoy!
This Ikebana is made in a wonderful clay vase made by Kechene women potters from Addis Abeba. The branch comes from my neighbour’s fence that had to be cut, and the rose is bought at the local Lafto mall. The high-rise on the right is one of spectacular new buildings in central area – Bole. The symbolics of the ikebana is not only in the form it tries to imitate. It is also about the feeling and the connection between past, present and future.
Ikebana on the left plays on the regularity of the low chairs in one of many sidewalk coffee shops in Addis. The palm leaf is complemented with an African lily that readily grows all over the city, both in wild and in gardens.
Such a big city as Addis Abeba needs a continuous supply of fresh food. You can see sellers selling everything from vegetables and fruits to masks and cleaning equipment. Ikebana is made in a locally made clay pot with a modern design. Materials used are tomatoes and papyrus.
The combination of cut and formed palm leaves and lilies are inspired with the green lines of corrugated iron sheets protecting a building place. The old man on the photo is represented with two pink flowers – representing the youth in him.
This wonderful vase is locally made, bought at Entoto Beth Artisans. Since the vase is meticulously painted, the material I chose for it is simple – dried Mexican sunflowers and a green leaf. The arrangement wants to be a part of the beautiful scene on the right, a family walking and looking at the rainbow.
Africa is connected with strong colors in the imaginations of many Europeans. The entrance to a restaurant across the Swiss Inn Nexus hotel is a welcomed colorful spot. The ikebana honoring the colors is made from papyrus and bellflowers. The plaque showing Amharic alphabet, fidel, is playing with the advertisement in Amharic on the restaurant.
The vies of Addis taken from the hotel Swiss Inn Nexus shows a black and white photo of polluted city. However there is always hope in flowers, and city inhabitants love their flowers. Ikebana, again, made in the locally made pottery, features aloa vera leaf, symbolising healing and red/white amaryllis symbolising beauty.
A city scene at Bole, a fashionable part of the city. Colors are present everywhere, sometimes you have to look a bit closer. The ikebana, made in the locally made vase bought at Entoto Beth Artisans, is an explosion of colors – orange red pokers, violet African lilies and a giant green leaf.