An Ethiopian Cab Driving Painter



Seleshi Feseha listens to classical music while driving his taxi through busy traffic in the U.S. capital. He says the music soothes him to get through the day, until he gets to his real passion, which is painting.

"By that, I survive. It is not that easy because I drive all day and I get tired. When I get home, I do not sit, I do not sleep. I start my other duties which are painting and doing some artwork."

He spends almost as much time painting in his basement apartment, as he does driving his cab. Dozens of paintings crowd his living space.

Feseha used to design uniforms and badges for Ethiopia's armed forces.

Even though he first came to the United States nearly 40 years ago, he says as a member of the diaspora, it is very difficult to navigate the American art world.


"If it was in Ethiopia, I would know so many people, so I can communicate and explain what I have but in the United States, I have to find who gives the avenue."





Despite his struggles, he says it is important that he continue painting against global warming, whether or not politicians and scientists agree on its severity and cause.

The Ethiopian American artist says he understands there may be a contradiction between the messages in his art and the pollution caused by his taxi, but that he has no choice to survive for now.

To compensate, he avoids using chemicals in his artwork, preferring water-based materials and threads that he meticulously colors and glues onto his canvases.

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