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Arnolfini - est 1961

Elias Sime is known for his intricate artworks made from everyday objects. The common misconception is that Elias Sime’s projects use recycled materials. However, he doesn’t just collect whatever is at hand to create his artwork with. Instead, he patiently collects materials over time, sometimes waiting years to gather enough to complete an artwork. He’s interested in the time it takes to collect, store and make the artworks with an interest in the previous lives the objects have had.  

A coloured photograph of various bright coloured art material, flat laid and photographed.
A coloured photograph of various bright coloured art material, flat laid and photographed.

One special place that Elias goes to find his materials is the Menalesh Tera (translated as “what do you have?”) an open-air market in Addis Ababa. Let’s Make Art also has a go-to place and a list of materials that they look out for, things they find useful for future workshops. One of the places theyf ind materials is the Children’s Scrapstore and they are so grateful to them for supplying all sorts of delights.

These activities will use some items from the collection of things Let’s Make Art seek out during this festive time. They have included a guide to the variety of materials to look out for to use for future projects.


We Are Family: Let’s Make Art Festive Activity Resource

The joy is using your imagination to turn the things into something else, things that will kindle memories of the origin; the wrapper from a toffee that Grandma ate, the gift from someone special, a flyer from a theatre visit, paper from beautifully wrapped presents, an uplifting card in the post, or plates from the best party ever!

Items to make;
– Elias Sime inspired artwork  – cardboard box and curling ribbon and raffia – inspired by Tightrope 2023
– Bricolage Baubles – packaging with interesting graphics, paper plates and cups, gift wrap, sweet wrappers
– Hanging tree decor – corks and gift wrap and cards

Items to collect;
– cardboard – packaging and gift boxes
– old decorations; baubles, lametta, streamers, confetti, flower garlands etc
– recycled clean party ware; paper plates and cups etccurling ribbon, string etc
– flyers for exhibitions, concerts, pantomimes or films
– Christmas cards
– corks

About the Artist

artist Elias Sime sits at a table, head down, concentrating on the creative activity in front of him on a table.

Elias Sime

Elias Sime (born 1968 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) has exhibited extensively around the world.

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