Concept: Lelasew is an Ethiopian book written in the Amharic language. The main illustration on the cover design is an image of an Ethiopian face that represents the hidden self and the masked self. The illustration style is distinctively reminiscent of traditional face illustrations (mostly seen depicted in Ethiopian churches) in order to depict a familiar face as the subject matter is written for the Ethiopian context and about Ethiopians. Artistically, it is an attempt to use the usual illustration style in a different format/subject matter as the book also attempts to challenge and change our perspective/perception of the state we live in.
As per the tagline which translates into “Every person is also somebody else, but other people are also the same as us.” There are 2 meanings to this. The first, is that everyone of us have a hidden self (with pains and suffering) and the masked self that we like to show others; we are all the same in this regard. The second, is about the mentally ill (the others); it is meant to create empathy towards them as those people were just like us at one time in their life and should be regarded like we would ourselves as they only lost control of their hidden self. The book was mainly written to bring light to the issues of mental illness and to humanize the marginalized people who are suffering from it in order to create awareness around this otherwise taboo subject.