Eritrean born Ethiopian-American analogue photographer Redeat Wondemu visits Blair

March 1, 2024, 11:05 p.m. | By Bethel Ameha | 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Wondemu shares her life story and exhibits her art

Photo of Redeat Wondemu exhibiting and talking about her art Photo courtesy of Bethel Ameha.

On Tuesday, Feb. 20, analogue photographer Redeat Wondemu (Red Won) visited Blair to discuss her work and life journey as a photographer. The event was co-sponsored by Blair’s own Ethiopian and Eritrean club (WetheEast), the CAP Program, and photography classes.

Born in Eritrea, Wondemu grew up in Ethiopia but then moved to Chicago. From a young age, Wondemu’s parents expected her to pursue a career in the medical field but knew she was meant to be an artist. 

Junior Natneal Eshetu related to this pressure in his own Ethiopian family. “As someone who’s Ethiopian, I feel like your parents try to… lead you toward a specific interest like a lawyer, doctor, etc. So just seeing her passion for photography and her deciding that she wanted to do photography and that she wasn’t going to listen to her parents… it kind of just tells me [to] follow your passion. You know, do what you love,” Eshetu said. 

Wondemu earned her Bachelor's in nursing and worked for about a decade before she quit her job and decided to be a full-time photographer. Currently, Wondemu’s photography is centered around Ethiopian woman. She frequently travels to Ethiopia to take pictures of Ethiopian women and then develops the photos in D.C. because there are no dark rooms in Ethiopia. 

Junior Soledad Gasso-Parker explained that Wondemu's art empowered her as a woman. “I liked how she represented women in a way that I see women every day, but you can’t really put it into words… I guess that’s what art is. You know, putting things into words that you can’t say. But it’s just nice to see that other people think the same way about the way women present themselves,” she said.

At the end of her talk, Wondemu gave a final piece of advice to those who seek a career in art in the future. “If you’re creative, create every single day… That practice, you can’t gain after wanting to be something down the line if you didn’t establish it,” Wondemu said.

You can check out Red Won @itslikered8 on Instagram and at her website here: 

Last updated: March 1, 2024, 11:07 p.m.

Bethel Ameha. Hi, my name is Bethel Ameha and I'm on the writing staff. I play two sports at Blair, both soccer and volleyball. I enjoy reading and listening to music. I love going out with my friends as well! More »

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