NEW WORKS BY FOUR ARTISTS at different stages of their careers are being presented by Addis Fine Art at Art Dubai 2021 (March 29-April 3). Hailing from Ethiopia and its diaspora, their diverse works address similar themes—the human condition and our resilience and adaptability in the contemporary moment given the myriad challenges and upheaval around the world. (main image: tadesse_mesfin_pillars_of_life_2021_oil_on_canvas_165_x_170_cm_courtesy_of_the_artist_and_addis_fine_art)
A pioneer in Ethiopian Modernism, Tadesse Mesfin (b. 1953) is a longstanding professor at the Alle School of Fine Art and Design in Addis Ababa, where he is training the next generation of artists. On view at Addis Fine Art in London in fall 2020, “Pillars of Life” was Mesfin’s first solo show in Europe.
Rising figurative painter Tizta Berhanu (b. 1991) participated in Art Dubai’s 2020 residency program. “Hēber,” her first solo show at Addis Fine Art in Addis Ababa in December 2020, showcased her emotional, complex compositions. She lives and works in Addis Ababa.
Employing acrylic paint and magazine cut-outs, the layered collages of Addis Ababa-based Addis Gezehagn (b. 1978) depict the evolving urban landscape of Addis Ababa, referencing the past, documenting the present, and imagining the future of residential homes and public spaces. According to the gallery, “the works archive walls and towers destined to crumble, tracing a pattern of classism and social injustice and offering a commentary on the socio-economic context of urban life.”
The multidisciplinary studio, curatorial, and research-based practice of Tsedaye Makonnen (b. 1984) centers Black lives and is rooted in her identity. An Ethiopian American who lives and works in Washington, D.C., she is an artist, doula, mother, and daughter of Ethiopian immigrants. A recipient of a 2019 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, Makonnen participated in 100 Years | 100 Women: Part II, hosted by the Park Avenue Armory in New York in August 2020. Her Astral Sea series, a textile installation activated through performance, explores feminism and forced migration.