In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

Sofia Temesgien Gobena was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on August 18, 1964. She came to the United States of America in July 1972 with her parents, Abebetch B. and Temesgien Gobena. She attended William Ramsey Elementary and T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Antioch College in Ohio. She holds a Master of Arts in ceramics and glass from the University of Wisconsin at Madison as well as completing work for her Master of Fine Arts.

With a brilliance, humility, passion, and grace that came to define her over the course of her life, Sofia easily mastered a new language and a new culture on arrival in America. Her travels around the world inspired her diverse artwork. Throughout her life, she loved education and educating. She had a thirst for knowledge and the hunger to understand, explore, and process the wonder of the world. Sofia not only loved learning, but she also loved teaching as well, having taught individuals of all ages, from preschool through college.

Sofia was at home everywhere and everyone who met her instantly felt as if she had known them forever. Those who had the pleasure of knowing her quickly found out that she was an extremely generous person - giving both of her time and art. She always put others’ needs above hers. She was a nurturing person, encouraging others to reach into their souls and reach their potential. She had a warm, wonderful sense of humor - bringing joy and laughter to people around her. She was an extremely gregarious individual who loved her relatives and friends dearly

Sofia's wondrous spirit expressed itself most powerfully and profoundly through her extraordinary artistic talent. She was imaginative, a creator at the highest level. Her art professors and colleagues described her abilities as transcendent and the kind of talent that comes around perhaps once a decade. Thankfully, she has blessed us by being a prodigious artist, leaving behind numerous paintings, sculptures, glasswork, and ceramic pieces that are testament to the beauty of her creative spirit. 

As we, on this anniversary, celebrate Sofie's artistic gift to the world, the quote: "For life and death are one…" from her favorite writer, Kahlil Gibran, comforts us. Though passed on, she remains with us through her unique and beautiful works that illuminate the way she saw the world. And Sofie's spirit lives on in our hearts and minds.

Sofia passed on at the age of 38 in Madison, Wisconsin, of cardiac arrest, on June 21, 2003. She was buried at Qeraneo Medhane Alem Ethiopia Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on July 1, 2003.

We will always love, miss, and remember Sofia.


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