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:: The Elegance of Effort

Saturday, February 16, 2008, 6–10 pm
Sunday, February 17, 2008, 2–7 pm
The artist will be present

February 16–March 17, 2008



Abebe Zelelew
The Elegance of Effort

The artistry of Abebe Zelelew lies, in part, in the effort it takes to achieve some of his complex carved and painted works. Like the subject he depicts, there is a marriage of elegance and effort, and the result is a tangible expression of the dignity of the human condition.

Beginning first with canvas and goatskin as substrates for his vision, he moved into using wood, which has a long tradition in African art. While woodcarving is arduous work, Abebe is enamored of the permanence of the medium and of its inherent resonance with Christian, Muslim, and animistic traditions.

Daily life in Ethiopia, as seen through Abebe’s eyes and communicated on his panels, is distilled into bright,
intensely worked or patterned surfaces. While the images themselves might describe sorrow, joy, familial affection, or farming, building, and food preparation, the treatment of these prosaic themes are given significance and depth through the artist’s intensive intervention.

:: Ethiopia from the Heart

Saturday, August 18, 6–10 pm
Sunday, August 19, 2–7 pm
The artist will be present

August 18–September 1, 2007



Andarge Asfaw
Ethiopia from the Heart

Washington, D.C. photographer, Andargé Asfaw, returned to the Ethiopia of his youth and found a country changed by environmental stresses, war, poverty, and disease. He looked closer and discovered there was much that could be saved—if he could make people see it through his eyes. Armed with the mission of increasing environmental and cultural awareness through his work, Andargé traveled throughout Ethiopia, capturing images that moved him and would, hopefully, inspire others to action. He brings his sensibility as an award-winning commercial and fine arts photographer to the body of work in the exhibiton and to his book, Ethiopia From the Heart. Andargé will be signing his book at the opening receptions. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book goes to environmental organizations combatting deforestation in Ethiopia.

:: Wordplay

Saturday, April 28, 6—10 pm
Sunday, April 29, 2–7 pm
The artist will be present

April 28–May 26, 2007



The Art of Wosene Worke Kosrof

Born in Ethiopia in 1950, Wosene Worke Kosrof is a contemporary artist of international acclaim. Best known for his inventive renderings of the Amharic script—one of the oldest indigenous to Africa—Wosene is a master translator of human experience. His richly textured, lyrical paintings allow us to “see” the sounds, smells, rhythms and spaces that surround and inspire him. Be it the improvisational impulse of American jazz, the pungent waft of roasting coffee beans, the lilting sound of an Amharic prayer, or the psychic violence of political oppression, Wosene’s art takes us beyond the canvas into a deeply personal exploration of, in his words, the “drama of human life.”

Academically trained as a fine artist in both Ethiopia and the United States, Wosene was among the first African contemporary artists to gain critical attention on the international art scene. However, having lived outside Ethiopia since the late 1970s, the artist draws from all of the places he has called home, and as such, resists fixed and facile labels that characterize him or his art as essentially “African.” Indeed, it is this ability to elude category, the familiar and the foreign, tradition and modernity, that has made Wosene’s work compelling to such wide-ranging audiences.

The plasticity of the written word—particularly of his native Amharic—has fascinated Wosene for over 30 years. As a young art student in Addis in the early 70s, his first experimentations with abstraction were inspired by the rich iconographic and written traditions of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, where word and image are deployed to create aesthetically compelling objects of devotion and healing. In Wosene’s hands, however, words became images, as he stretched and inverted their letters, and scattered them across the canvas. Discovering this slippage between the visual and literal dimensions of script amounted to a kind of epiphany that revealed to him the aesthetic, sensory, even kinetic potential of the written word.

An excerpt from Words Unbound: Reflections on the Art of Wosene Worke Kosrof by Allyson Purpura, PhD, Consulting Curator, The University of Michigan Museum of Art

:: Rattling Color

Receptions: Saturday, February 24,
6–10 pm
Sunday, February 25, 2–7 pm.
The artist will be present

February 24–March 27, 2007



Rattling Color
Mekbib Gebertsadik and Meseret Desta

Mekbib received his BFA with honors from Addis Abeba University of Fine Arts, with a broad emphasis on painting and illustration in all media. Subsequently, he added to his repertoire a degree in graphic design, including internet technologies and software programs. Mekbib has exhibited extensively in Ethiopia and other countries prior to coming to the United States with his wife, Meseret, in 2001. Mekbib has created art his entire life. Upon completing his higher education, Mekbib worked as a full-time studio artist, winning an international competition in 2000 in the Netherlands called, The Reason to Love the Earth. His work concentrates on African motifs and traditions, both in color palette and technique. Making use of two-dimensional imagery and generous textural application, Mekbib intentionally references traditional African art forms, contributing to the establishment of a movement he calls, “Africanism.”

Meseret graduated with distinction from the Addis Abeba University of Fine Arts where she concentrated on mural art. After several exhibitions to her credit in Addis Abeba and abroad, Meseret moved to the United States to study graphic arts, web design, and animation. Since then, her work has been included in several exhibitions in the Washington, D.C. area. Meseret is a passionate colorist, using a palette that allows the eye of each viewer to mix the colors uniquely. She intends her paintings to exist in a liminal world that eases the distinctions between physical, intellectual, and spiritual spheres.

:: Zimbabwe Stone

Receptions: Saturday, February 3, 6–9 pm
Sunday, February 4, 2–7 pm

Exhibition: February 3–20, 2007



Zimbabwe Stone
From the collection of Dawit Yoseph

Stone sculpture from Zimbabwe is a relatively recent phenomenon, dating from around 1956. Ancient precedents include the rock art and ruins at the site of Great Zimbabwe (1250–1450 ce) and indigenous object-making traditions, but neither of these seem to have direct links to the present work. Rather, the proliferation of stone artwork one finds in Zimbabwe today may be inspired by a post-independence focus on cultural patrimony, freedom of expression, and awareness of art as an essential part of the nation’s heritage.

The works in this exhibition were collected over a period beginning in 1992, when Dawit Yoseph was proprietor of the African Art Gallery in Dallas, Texas. He was attracted to the lushness of form, which invites touch; the technical virtuousity of representational carvers; and the primeval quality of each artist’s expression. The sculptures in this exhibition are created by some of Zimbabwe’s best known artists: Richard Mteki, Zachariah Njobo, and Thomas Tandi. Also represented are anonymous works found in markets and homes, but which still exhibit the great talent of rural, naive carvers.

:: Elsabeth Atnafu

Saturday, October 28, 2006, 6–10 pm
Sunday, October 29, 2006, 2–6 pm
The artist will be present

October 28 – November 30, 2006



Celebration of Makeda

Elsabeth Atnafu is a free spirit—creating works of art that honor her internal passions, as much ashistorical themes and influences in the world around her.

The current exhibition, “Celebration of Makeda,” captures a significant portion of her work, focusing on the historical, metaphorical character, Makeda, or Queen of Sheba, who visited King Solomon in Israel and returned to Ethiopia enlarged by his wisdom and his son. Makeda is Everywoman and Atnafu sees her as a voice for selfrespect, for living in the present, and for creating your way out of life’s challenges. In the paintings, Sheba is illustrating the many sides of love, dreaming, manifesting peace, or riding donkeys that wear taxis like rollerskates. Always, Sheba is crowned as the queen that she is, with flowers or fantastic hats that Atnafu makes, literally, to crown visitors to the exhibition. While some works are mysterious and reflective, the most recent pieces are rendered as joyful examples of what it is to live (and to paint) without fear.

:: Contemporary work of art by Ethiopian artist
The gallery will be open every day (July
1–9) from 10 am to 7 pm, or join us for a
special reception for the artists on
Thursday, July 6, 6–10 pm.



Meet the Artists

Visit Addis Art Gallery to see an array of spectacular, contemporary works of art by Ethiopian artists. Paintings, photographs, and mixed media constructions are represented in this collection mounted especially for the week-long festivities, July 1–9, 2006.

Antonio Fiorente
Elsabeth Atnafu
Esseye Medhin
Girma Kifle Meskel
Merid Tizazu
Meseret Desta
Mekbib Gebertsadik
Nebyou Tesfaye
Tadesse Mesfin
Tamrat Fekadu
Tesfaye Legesse
Wondwossen Beyene
Yohannes Tesfaye
Yosef Kebede

:: Shiferaw Girma

Saturday, April 1, 2006, 6–10 pm Sunday,
April 2, 2006, 2–6 pm
The artist will be present

April 1– April 30, 2006



The Lure of Women

Since finishing his university education in 1991, Shiferaw has been a painter. His subject is Ethiopian women—going about their lives, socializing with each other, cap-tured in private reflective moments. Although Shiferaw cannot explain how he became captivated and why he has continued to paint women for so many years, he knows that his personal exploration and growth as an artist is facilitated by them. He uses color to express his emotions and changes in technique to expand his creative repertoire.

Rooted in hieratic symbols of the Coptic faith and inspired by modernist Ethiopian movements, Shiferaw’s paintings offer a mosaic of influences applied to intimate, abstract portraits of daily life. The result is work that speaks to everyone with universal symbols of dignity and beauty.

The current exhibition consists of examples from a continuous river of artistic accomplishment. This group of paintings is not informed by chronology; rather, they are individual pieces picked from an unwavering body of work.

:: Yohannes Tesfaye

Saturday, November 19, 2005, 6–9 pm
Sunday, November 20, 2005, 2–6 pm
The artist will be present

November 19– December 4, 2005



Yohannes Tesfaye
Two- and Three-dimensional paintings

One is struck immediately by the exuberance and implied physicality of Yohannes Tesfaye’s paintings. There are no self-imposed limitations, no endless variations on successful themes. This artist is exploring and doing so with a great deal of confidence and joy.

Schooled in classical technique and traditional subject matter, Yohannes stayed within these academic restrictions just long enough to complete his formal education (he received his Diploma from the Addis Abeba University Fine Arts School in 2001). Having learned the rules, he set about breaking them.

It is his relative isolation from the icons of contemporary art that make this body of work so interesting to contemplate and behold. There is feral energy and a freedom from intellectualization that speaks directly to observers and rewards them with a rare and honest talent.

:: FELEGA: The Quest

Saturday, September 17, 2005, 6–9 pm
Sunday, September 18, 2005, 2–16 pm
The artists will be present

September 17– October 8, 2005



The Photographs of Rachel Samuel and
Adam Overton

Partners in life and in work, Rachel Samuel and Adam Overton embarked on a journey in Ethiopia in 2005: she, to take her own measure after ten years of living in America and to share her homeland with her fiance, and he, to learn more about the culture of the woman he loves. It was a journey that taught them as much about themselves and each other as it did about Ethiopia. Their quest—which began as a five-week migration throughout the country—will continue for a lifetime: Rachel and Adam will relocate to Ethiopia next year.

Felega: The Quest provides a unique experience—glimpsing a world from two simultaneous perspectives. This exhibition of the photographs of Rachel Samuel and Adam Overton represents their first collaboration as artists and is seen by both to be the genesis of work to come. Their work will be on display at the Addis Art Gallery from September 17 to October 8.


:: ENEHO: "The Offering of Art"

Saturday, August 6, 2005, 5–10 pm
Sunday, August 7, 2005, 2–8 pm
The artist will be present

5524 West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Phone: 323.935.3800

Gallery hours:
Wed–Sat: 2–7 pm
Closed: Sun–Tue
and by appointment

The Offering of Space: Addis Art Gallery

Addis Art Gallery, the first venue for contemporary Ethiopian art in Los Angeles opens its doors on August 6–7, 2005. A gala opening—5 pm to 10 pm on Saturday and 2 to 8 pm on Sunday—at the gallery—5524 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles 90042—celebrates the establishment of the first permanent space devoted to the rich, diverse works of Ethiopian artists working in all media. Exhibitions will feature artists with international stature, as well as emerging talent. Intended as a cultural hub for the large Ethiopian community in Los Angeles, Addis Art Gallery is also a unique opportunity for all Southern Californians to discover exciting work being done on the other side of the world.

The vision of Mesai Haileleul, Addis Art Gallery is the literal extension of the virtual art space he has been developing on the internet over the last several years. The web site will continue as a corollary to the gallery, allowing works by artists constrained by geography or economics to have international exposure for their work.

Join us in celebrating this historic event—the offering (ENEHO) of space for the _expression of a culture that will engage you, and artists who will reintroduce you to the joy of sight.

The Offering of Art: Lulseged Retta

The work of renowned international artist, Lulseged Retta, constitutes the seminal exhibition at the new Addis Art Gallery. Retta’s show is titled, ENEHO, which translates as “offering in a respectful manner,” and is the latest of his career which spans decades and geographies. His dedication to Ethiopian imagery has remained steadfast–from his early studies in Addis Ababa; to his later schooling in St. Petersberg, Russia; through his long association with the Ethiopian Tourist Trading Enterprise, where he created the posters for which he is so well known.

Immersed in the traditions of his own country, and enlarged by his study of European art movements, Retta approaches his own work as a personal _expression of a world citizen. People respond to his artistic voice because he speaks to everyone and offers his art with respect.

:: ADDIS ART Presents Addis Odyssey
copyright, Addis Art Artist

Saturday, January 15, 2005
Reception 6pm - 7pm
Show 7pm - 10pm

Sunday, January 16, 2005
Show 1pm - 6pm

10469 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles,CA 90025

Mesai Haileleul 310.666.6252
or visit us @

Admission is Free


The works of art in this exhibition have made a journey — from the ateliers of Addis Abeba to this venue mounted by Addis Art, which is committed to celebrating the work of Ethiopian artists and presenting them to a broader audience.

So too, have the ten artists embarked on their personal odysseys. All have as a point of departure, the powerfully sentient ethos of Ethiopia, replete with centuries-old iconic formularies, yet all are moving toward unique destinations. Without abandoning conceptually the country that enriched and informed their work, some have moved far beyond their cultural roots, while others hover nearer and celebrate the aesthetic virtuosity that characterizes much of Ethiopian art. In each case, they are engaged by the passion that inspires artists all over the world — an exploration of the personal unknown. This is why you see — even among the five artists who live and work together wholly unique answers to existential questions. The sensibilities represented in this display will appeal to both traditionalists and those firmly committed to the avant-garde.

" Addis Odyssey " establishes itself as another jewel in the crown of exhibitions presented by Addis Art.

Antonio Fiorente

Merid Tizazu
Merid Tafesse
Aklilu Temesgen Bizuayehu
Zekiros Teklehaimanot Meless

Habesha Group
Girmachew Getnet Belew
Dawit Abebe Ayenew
Yosef Lule Tuafe
Workneh Bezu Kassa
Mathias Lulu Yetneberk

:: ADDIS ART Presents the work of

copyright, Addis Art Artist

Shiferaw Girma

Saturday, February 28, 2004
Reception 6-7 pm
Exhibit 7-10 pm

Sunday, February 29, 2004
12-6 pm

365 Santana Row / Suite 2000
San Jose, California 95128

Nebabie 408.505.4149
or email us @


The passionate work of Ethiopian painter, Shiferaw Girma, will be presented at Red Ink Studios in San Jose, California, on February 28-29, 2004. His subject matter is the people of Ethiopia and other African countries he has visited. His paintings portray an intimate, abstracted vision of daily life, transformed by Shiferaw's brush into universal symbols of dignity and beauty. With roots in the hieratic symbols of the Coptic faith and strong influences from modernist movements within Ethiopia, Shiferaw Girma has infused his paintings with the totality of his life experienceÜcreating mosaics of meaning that explain what it is to be human. Shiferaw, who left a successful career as a studio artist in Ethiopia in 2002, with several individual and groups shows to his credit, now resides in Las Vegas with his family. With these paintings, Shiferaw Girma continues the tradition that has made his work prized by collectors throughout the world.