Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and raised during the country’s decade-plus period of Communist rule, Sime followed the unlikely path of becoming an artist in an environment where the title was mainly associated with craftspeople. When Sime graduated from art school in 1990, Ethiopia was in the throes of political and economic turmoil. So, with limited resources available, Sime began assembling artworks from assorted refuse. His ever-replenishing source was—and is—the Merkato, a sprawling open-air market, the biggest on the continent, where hundreds of vendors hawk objects passed down a long line of global trade. These beat-up relics of Western consumerism become, under Sime’s hand, malleable and beloved materials. Combining bottle caps, buttons, and discarded clothing, he constructs large, colorful collages that reflect the realities of day-to-day life faced by his fellow Ethiopians.