Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Addis and Khartoum Art Movements


“On objectively reflecting the East African art scene, we can generally assume the Addis and Khartoum art movements were, among other events, two important artistic platforms, which helped shape the Ethiopian and Sudanese modern art. Both countries lived through hard times in which social and political calamities were not uncommon; in fact, there were several anomalies that dragged on for long affecting every citizen. And this is how, in addition to the standoff there, this setting has created the current Africa’s chronicles – including its visual culture.” Mulugeta Tafesse on the art scene in East Africa.

Postscript: Nine Positions Regarding Addis’ (East Africa’s) Art Scene Now


“We brace our own visual culture as our music tradition. Keeping the middle-tone in the lyre’s single rhythmic line, at the same time patting all the different chords is great a pleasure. The lyre’s strings make beautiful hums whilst one plays the distinct lyric rehearsed. If we’re jointly acting, we could be effective like the lyre’s unfailing tune!” [1]

On objectively reflecting the East African art scene, we can generally assume the Addis and Khartoum art movements were, among other events, two important artistic platforms, which helped shape the Ethiopian and Sudanese modern art. Both countries lived through hard times in which social and political calamities were not uncommon; in fact, there were several anomalies that dragged on for long affecting every citizen. And this is how, in addition to the standoff there, this setting has created the current Africa’s chronicles – including its visual culture.

African visual culture marvels with its’ own story layers, vivid accounts that invoke of worldly rules and divinely parables. The contrasting parallel of heaven and hell; the unfolding stories about the “after life” (ancestors’ souls cohabiting in the present-day) and the “here now” exist side by side (Mbiti, 1970), (Gyeke, 1996). Earthly duties thus are not overlooked and fantasies unvalued. African artists keep their communities’ ancient artifacts as well as their living cultures – both, delightful and desperate, but no wonder historic episodes.

1/ For AFEWERK TEKLE (1932-2012) – one of the first Ethiopian modernists – wanted to display Ethiopian historicity in his art. As a multi lingual erudite and advocate of art and culture, he demanded his society to respect artists – to show a higher reverence to imaginative artists and their creative occupation. A renowned multimedia artist, Afework has achieved his highest pursuit in painting as an international artist and for this; he remained on national level celebrated until his death. A perfect artist, Afewerk used diverse art media, which involved also the stain glass – just to mention his most famous public commission – like the one he made at the Africa Hall (secretariat of the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa) (no. 2). He was not limited to public commissions, like the very striking large monumental piece mentioned here. Haile Selassie routinely guided world leaders to Afewerk’s workspace, Studio Alpha (no. 1) in the Old Air Port area, Addis (presently a public estate) to show Afewerk’s crucially important paintings, like Meskal Flower.










Afewerk Tekle, painting from a life model in his Studio Alpha, around 1950.











Afewerk Tekle with recipients of Haile Selassie .I. Prize, 1964. Behind the awardees is Afewerk’s well-known Africal Hall Stain glass, 1958. (All 3 partitions cover 150 sq. meter)


Regarding the Addis-Khartoum and Addis-Nairobi art scenes, the significant time marker ‘now’, is reserved to settle the expediency of “contemporary” African artists with the modernist pioneers’ pedigree and stripe. Ahmed Shibrain’s (1931- ) Arabic calligraphy of Koranic verses emphasized with a strong graphic abstract form is an exceptional quality and has fascinated many. The Sudanese painter Hassan Musa who lives and works in Montpelier, France is not an exception, as i.e., Shibrain enchanted him. Hassan also like Afewerk a multimedia artist experiments often with painting and its supports (on textile motifs). Through performance art and graphic design, Hassan uses the Arabic calligraphy in the plastic art’s expressive genres and test how far it can go.

2/ IBRAHIM SALAHI (1930- ) is celebrating his long life as an honest artist whose profession in art is unusual; connecting the western and the nonwestern visual art cultures. Actually his art is connecting the world: The African, the Arab and The Western world. Working hard in an extraordinary determination and perseverance, a predicament he has earlier in his life taken as a painter, he stays nowhere, except becoming a global trotter like the perpetual itinerant, or today’s hi-tech employee. He has offered us his stunning well-toiled oeuvres; most of which astounding ink drawings. His long endured artistic project launched in the early 1960s while he studied in London, is still intact. It could be said that simplified and personalized geometric forms and symbols from the Sub Saharan world and Arabic calligraphy, dominate Salahi’s art universe. Certainly it is with his geometric forms and Arabic calligraphy echoing his creative conundrum, Salahi refined his style to the uppermost stage. The evidence to the prior is his internationally running shows now, from Europe to Middle East, from the Tate London to Dubai Art Fairs.

Salahi’s Ethiopian soul mate, Skunder’s [2] art uses geometry to a certain extent, and he is not a ‘great subject fan’ that makes him a bit different from both Salahi and Afewerk. One shouldn’t hurriedly link also the styles of Skunder and Salahi because of their apparent influence by Modern painting, particularly by Surrealism. It is not secret that Ethiopian modernists from the 1960s on have been appropriating the Ethiopian medieval period painting.

We should raise the artistic ambit of the everyday that speaks of beauty transcending the commoditized realm to grasp, e.g., an Ethiopian contemporary artist who is influenced by Skunder, but from different angle, as he, unlike other Ethiopian artists, is interested in Skunder’s alteration in Ethiopian traditional art iconography. Geta Mekonnen’s appropriation of Ethiopian traditional art, using the price tag is well known in Addis’ art scene in the late 1990s; also reconstructing (or defacing) damaged under-rated parchments just like Skunder.  The interiorly developed composition (in Geta Mekonnen’s works), fragmented in patterns, by evenly spread “checkers squares” – also in the manuscript and mural, icon panel paintings – is intriguing.

Drawing example both from painters like Afewerk and Geta Mekonnen who have adopted Ethiopian traditional art forms is relevant to examine the state of art in Ethiopia now. Particularly the celebrated Ethiopian modernist, Afewerk in his Addis’ Old Airport workspace, Studio Alpha has stunningly performed this – appropriating art from Ethiopia past. Ephrem Solomon and Zerihun Seyoum working with Nairobi galleries (following Addis’ art spaces) emulate Afewerk and Zerihun and many others working in Ethiopia, – considering their painting iconography – but the young artists’ works are less classical. Ephrem and Zerihun are contributing works for Circle Art Agency in Nairobi, which hit record prices for its modern and contemporary artist’s works’ auctions in the East Africa region in the winter 2013.

3/ The “(Semi) Abstract artists” like GEBRE KRISTOS DESTA (also read, Gebre), SKUNDER BOGHOSSIAN and their compatriots who in similar vein represent this pictorial rumble were remarkable examples of the Addis School. However, I prefer to call these artists’ visual and graphic art style as “Abstract Art” to detach it from its earliest version, “(Semi) Abstract painting”. Skunder Boghossian (1937-2003) and Ibrahim Salahi wouldn’t escape this label either, since their works appeal more to non-figurative painting styles. [3]

“ The existential feature which the African modern painters — I would like to call these artists ‘Abstract-Surrealists’ — particularly, Skunder Boghossian and Ibrahim Salahi and their follower groups from Ethiopia and the Sudan respectively have pinned to their oeuvre is also a ‘quasi analogy’. Something that their work still accommodates a special section for philosophical inquiry about the fecund and the world together, the womb is this material mine, and mind-body in an organic and in a physical sense. And yet, Skunder and Salahi’s paintings can be elucidated, as the following: [i]n cosmic and physical interpretation and representation of their world. […]”

Skunder and Salahi’s painting style is also related to Surrealism (CoBrA, Afri-COBRA and other art movements), since their closeness with the Surrealism school and to the reputes of Surrealist artists using non-western or African art motifs is evident. Skunder, Salahi and their followers equally adopt some of the modernist art characteristics and traditional African art motifs. Skunder’s locus to African art in general, and Ethiopian traditional painting, in particular (from the ambits of Church murals to folklore painting) is consistently profound while Salahi’s adoption of Sub Saharan art symbolism and Arabic calligraphy remains also apparent effectively, in the Khartoum school.[4]

The Ethiopian painter and poet Gebre Kristos Desta (1932 – 1981) and the Sudanese experimental painter KHAMALA IBRAHIM ISHAQ’s (1939- ) oeuvres suggest about their free and professional activities manifesting their worlds. These two artists, male and female, both avant-gardes in their own right use a style that is much indebted to the “abstract expression”. They have left an exemplary and unmistakably original path of “Modern Art” to their followers and the public alike.

The particular penchant of the “two-way art” models, the binary painting reverses – the one being “Expressionist and figurative”, and the other, “abstract” – represent an important artists’ track in the East African painting vow. Gebre Kristos’ and Afewerk’s adherents in Addis visual culture lingo also retain the same pursuit. It is easier therefore to follow up these two grand art streams that the troika, Skunder, Gebre Kristos and Afewerk represent. The “realistic” and the “non-realistic” styles jointly evidently weigh up their levels. They are real and they do exist as they contest each other’s fields and impacts, to manifest art larger and bigger in its time and space values.

4/ What is the mainstream insight of African diaspora artists like WOSENE WORKE and RASHID DIAB, respectively for their “Symbolic painting” and “lyric abstract art” contributions? What is the common trait of the next two groups of artists? Hassan Musa and Khamala Ishaq Ibrahim (again in her other match, Hassan) with the Goshus (Barbara and Worku, duo artists and partners), respectively recognized as initiators of the “Crystalist Manifesto” and “African philosophical and historical inquiries”?

Unquestionably one of the most renowned African diaspora artists now, Wangechi Mutu, Julie Mehretu, Bisrat Shibabaw, Magdalene Odundo, Kebedech Tekle Ab, Loulou Cherinet, Etiye Dimma – all female group – what is their clear “feminist agenda” in their art?  Is there any link between these female artists, e.g., with their 1970-80s modernist progenitors, Mohamed Ahmed Abdella of Sudan and Mammo Tesemma of Ethiopia? How did the Bagandan popular pottery tradition and the north Addis suburban Ketchene pottery firm integrate art with their social occupation? How do contemporary artists follow popular and traditional crafts’ social ethics, material values and artistic standards? How elitist is the art of, i.e., the ceramicists, Mohamed Ahmed Abdella, Magdalene Odundo and Mammo Tessema?

Is the term plastic or decorative art still valid, regarding, e.g., the practice of the prior artists, their other disciples or contemporaries who follow suit? Do these ceramists or three-dimensional artists conceive their work in an elitist fashion, like the Bugandas’ perfect earthenware modeling? These are the questions presented for future African Art researchers and on the way; I’ll continue reviewing East African modernists and their followers now, as I’ve formerly started in this essay.

5/ For Wosene to validate the transient, the abstract, or the ephemeral painting language in two-dimensional art, by exploring the ancient Geez alphabet sign is essential. His enigmatic painting, Geez wordlist in black and white as a symmetrical dialog of forms highlights this. Wosene’s mentor, Gebre Kristos’ abstract painting, (although he hasn’t recognized Abstract art as his art style) counters the philosophy of Ethiopian traditional art, and its modernist adherents. It is not hard to see that Gebre’s black line contours encircling his figures are strongly defined, at the same time also condescended by an influence that derives from Ethiopian illuminated manuscripts. It must be noted that Gebre denies any interest or influence from local schools – ancient to modern – apart from the mainstream modern art.

There are extraordinarily well-kept manuscripts from the Gunda Gundi monastery that were done with out any exaggeration in excellent expressionist veneer. Why not these manuscripts lend influence to Gebre, as they did once to Skunder and many other African modernists, even now, like Ouattara Watts (No. 7) who uses Geez alphabet signs in his paintings? Although Gebre is a realist (painter), the Ethiopians call him an abstract artist. Depicting the sufferings of the Ethiopian urbane poor, and the social impact that this underclass has created for this reason only, Gebre should have been labeled a realist. It is also for the prior reason that he used expression techniques, which made him to be called an “abstract painter”, but incorrectly.  This happened because of the most known painting practice in Ethiopia is traditional art, and Gebre was, ways far from Abstract art, using his strong expression and experimental technique in a loose and immediate way, in a robust earthly palette. Officially he was called a Semi-Abstract artist. It seems as if he didn’t mind. This might be for him, taking a stark difference from his rival, may be his arch nemesis – Afewerk, a modern realist art master.

6/ The “mentor – disciple” relationship in Addis’ art scene is superbly prevailing; i.e., Worku Goshu to Behailu Bezabih, Tadesse Gizaw to Eshetu Tiruneh, Tadesse Belayneh to Bekele Mekonnen, Zerihun Yetimgeta to Elias Sime.  The master class heads Abdulrahman Sherif, Worku Mammo and Tadesse Mesfin, e.g., were mentors of artists like Assefa Gebre Kidan and Dereje Demissie of Nubia Group.

How often is the Ethiopian Church painting iconography being adopted by Ethiopian artists, handed down from old masters to their apprentices? How do modernists and contemporary artists alike adopt Ethiopian visual art culture?  The Checker square – juxtaposing black and white flat surface (tabular composition) as one of the most remarkable manifestations of basic forms is passionately depicted in the Gondar Debre Berhan Selassie ceiling by an anonymous master. Being the blue print to the prior artists’ pioneering achievement, my article promptly stumbles upon the unending travel of this motif in “Ethiopian painting and design”, creating flat surface, picture, (tabularizing) etc., in specific times and on existing imaginary spaces. Here I will try to explore the “New Abstract Painting” of Wosene Worke who has interpreted the Ethiopian alphabet system into his own “wordplay”, painting universe, tabularized[5] aesthetic manifest – unquestionable by his own account, epic aesthetic norm.[6]

“Wosene’s geographical distance from Ethiopia may explain how he has been able to fragment the letters of the Amharic alphabet into singular elements, to consider their various shapes, and forms, and to “refabulate” them, lending them new meanings, forms, relationships, and imaginaries for legends of his own devising […].











Hassan Musa, Who Wants Banana? Oil painting on textile print.









Ibrahim Salahi, watercolor and ink on paper.







Wosene Worke, Word Play IV, 2007, acrylic on canvas, 170 x 216 cm., courtesy Color of Words.








Wosene Worke, Learning to Write I, 2008, acrylic on canvas, courtesy: Color of Words

7/ AIDA MULUNEH, a photographer and MEZGEBU TESSEMA, a painter, from the onset, respected Ethiopian artists; outside that unalike artists using very deferent mediums, what do they have in common amongst each other? Aida’s and Mezgebu’s respectively photographic gesture and representational build up have got some adorable method between them. What is that slice they share amongst themselves? What can their striking images – from portraiture to landscape – tell about artistic travel to their society or in general to the public?

Aida Muluneh is a new frontrunner of ‘fine arts photography’ but mark my word, with the “contemporary artist profile”. The former, paraphrased technique was not well recognized in Ethiopia until recently with the exception of the Photo salon studio that began with the Boyadjan family about a century ago. There is no conflict between the last two, “Fine Arts Photography” and “contemporaneity”, at least in Aida’s treatment of photography as an art medium and practice. As an independent curator and a developer of her own artist company, Desta enterprises, it looks she has gradually made it, to live and work as a photographer. A “photographer” in a legal and professional sense. Aida produces congenial photos, freezing moments of her country’s recent history, social and cultural predicaments, and its feel-good state – both, latest urbane and rural features.

Aida’s camera indiscriminately captures the edgiest angles of reality but with a precisely steerable reality check – a mildly standby. Her society dreads troubles, not overlooking its own jubilant seconds. The annual “Addis Photo Fest”, an international photo festival that is taking place for the 3rd time round, in Addis is her initiative. It is not per chance, I relate Mezgebu Tessema’s name with Aida. It’s because I want to inquire whether or not the social and popular aspect of photography and painting intermingle each other. I wanted to check whether the fresh question they raise now is appropriate. [7]

“Aida made an exhibition at the Goethe Institute, Nairobi in 2008, called ‘History: Soul and Land’, while the Kenyan/German artist Ingrid Mwangi at the same time and venue opened her show, named ‘Quest: Recognizing the Crisis’. In 2010 Aida was invited to participate in the group show called Amnesia, organized by the Nairobi National Museum. A number of photos and audios of this show from Nairobi were presented in the 2010 ‘GEO-graphics: A Map of Art Practices in Africa, Past and Present’, at the Bozar, Brussels. David Adjaye was the artistic director of this show. He has shown along the show his own photos, hundreds of them, shot in different sections of Africa. “

There is an open public remark in Ethiopia at the present that Mezgebu is performing better than a camera (that he emulates the world better!) Because his admirers believe a human eye is superior to a camera’s lens as the later can be manipulated. See the film clip of the public’s direct reaction on his Nigs show.[8] This is the current talk of Addis and it would be once again reverberated as an “exciting debate” as to how these two media appropriations, photography and painting are looked upon. The human eye as a camera lens or vice versa, the camera lens as a human eye.

DAWIT PETROS’ photos inquire the abstract art form a la Malevich, reducing the realistic art (or realism) into its basic essentiality. In photographic art aspect, supplementing realist undertones that differ from Dawit, Aida’s closeness to Mezgebu is not arguable, at least, in exploring the Ethiopian countryside, its broad terrains, rock-strewn mountains and bluish skies.

8/   Netsa Art Village is exulted by its gesamtkunstwerk, sculptures made from recycled objects; painting and relief sculpture supports – exteriorities that define the superficies. The distinction between “applied” and “fine” arts in Netsa Art Village is thin. Popular and creative hobbies are also part of their scenic strategy, as they interactively play with Addis social dynamic.

HABESHA GROUP, NUBIA ART GROUP, and other unmentioned artists groups practice the longstanding art medium, painting, which has triumphed, existing like in the West and other ancient civilization abodes. The mainstream painting also thrives back on the world stage, thanks to African international artists. Prior to East African modernists with whose works I began this essay, there are also other artists like Salem Mekuria, Haile Gerima, Lucie Mebrahtu, Kebedech Wolde Ab, Julie Mehretu, Wangetchi Mutu, and Wosene Kosrof who are moving to new and untested frontiers. All for the search to discover new form of art, in the terribly inaccessible universal fame it looks they are lucky, the whole world of art is eyeing them.










The Addis Nubia Group members, Khartoum, History and Antiquities’ Museum

Dawit Petros, a Canadian, born in Ethiopia to Eritrean parents, living in New York and Awol Erziku, Ethiopian-born Bronx based photographer, although both very young, they have made their presence felt in the New York art scene.  Ezra Wube, Ethiopian-born showing his video in Addis and New York is a film animation artist. Dawit Petros could be considered a conceptual artist with a hi-spirited nostalgia to the Russian Avant-garde, very especially to Malevich’s reductionist method, pictorial space, and minimalism, understood in any of his basic philosophical and geometrical logic.








Dawit Petros, Addis Chrome, No. 4, 24. Ready Found, Color and Exterior Walls, on the way around the boundaries, digital color prints, 50 x 60 cm., 2010, image credit D.P.






Owusu Ankomah’s, Thinking the Microcron, 2011.






Julie Mehretu, 2002 –b, Empirical Construction, detail, 2003, courtesy Marian Goodman, New York







Awol Erizku, Girl with a Bamboo Earring, 2009, courtesy: Hasted & Kraeutler Gallery, New York

Alongside a contrasting palette, filling the picture plane with bold drawings, Ephrem Solomon uses woodcut and collage – or emulates these techniques – in the Art School’s graphic art tradition. One may say he is technically keen to contest Zerihun Yetimgeta, the leading artist in Addis whose mastery of the high relief print is fabulous, but we leave this story for time to reveal. Yet in his own way, Ephrem draws his compelling cartoons of unveiling his own world and omitting not also his contemporaries’ “symbolist” gestures[9]. He uses often very narrative, word loaded (he literally uses Ethiopian newspapers’ texts as collages) and repetitive symbols, such as chairs, slippers and tables to discuss sensitive political and social issues within Ethiopia.[10]

9/ In the last part raised AWOL ERIZKU’s large and enchanting photographs portray New York’s black townsfolk; courteously projecting its elegance and glorious stares, at the same time Ezra Wube is manifestly using beautiful Ethiopian subjects and stories in animation videos. Perhaps Walt Disney’s stop motion old filming techniques or other contemporary animation artist could be his model. We don’t know that but Ezra is an excellent draughtsman – Google him! – he draws, paints and films as is needed in the animation movie. He strikingly uses with great simplicity his Ethiopian urban topics in this short film medium – and adding to it at spot, an effectively working recorded sound.

MICHAEL TSEGAYE lives and works in a quiet residential district of Bole where cozy houses are hidden with foliage unobstructed by the demolition upsurge of Addis.  He mingles easily as a noble Addis wanderer in the street cafes and wherever to find his subjects for his photo shooting. Michael’s photographic series range from tackling social issues, such as climate change to capturing the flowing time and the shrinking space across Ethiopia’s locales – familiar places, unidentified sidelines – all the same. [11]

“(…) While the spirit of my culture — its traditions in music, poetry and literature — informs my photography, my goal is that of any artist: to understand my life and standpoint in the 21st century, and express these through art.”


Ethiopia - woman       





Michael Tsegaye, “Ankober”, 2007.


To conclude, African art as African culture is an open storyboard about a fabulous social life; a story that continuously revises the African visual culture based on Africans’ social and historic manifestations. The African art is also an exegesis about Africans’ losses and tribulations recorded by their artists as they through their different creative media emphasize the relevance of their social tautologies, and numerous other things about how one sees “it self” and “the other”. The African story, is a must chronicle that has to be listened to, to help succeed its societies create and fashion their world thoroughly and favorably. Therefore Khartoum and Addis Schools’ progenies are now just doing that like their 1960s modernists.


[1] “Dimension Group”, [pub.] Semaita Press, Bole, Addis Ababa, 1996.  This statement is a blunt translation taken from the Dimension Group’s publication originally written in Amharic. All Dimension Group’s artists have signed, leaving their spontaneously written statements also spread in the whole front page. Awtar, the Amharic word for chord, triad/dimension takes the denotations of the six vibrating strings, which aren’t of identical cord and tension, but together these strings make a tune.

2  Tafesse, Mulugeta. Headways in the art of mimesis: An inquiry into the mimetic art repertoire of East Africa’, PhD. thesis, (unpublished), La Laguna University, 2012, Spain, p.p. 433-34. Aesthetic or otherwise social, not a-historic, Skunder’s method of employing art includes the random trend that would make him exploit other further enhancing painting objectives. Skunder is not a subject-oriented artist, per-se, in counter to Afewerk’s painting method.

3 Kifle, Beseat ‘Skunder’, Skunder’s exhibition poster-catalog, introduction by Beseat Kifle, Addis Ababa, 1967. This extract taken from Kifle is solely about Skunder. But my citation here deals with my own text about the art of both Skunder and Salahi as contemporaries who were not free of either of Modern Art or its original concepts.

4 Before I wrote this article, my mind was baffled to write on the already well-known East African artists or better said, the East African art scene, and so I rushed my pen immediately searching on the East Africa contemporary artists’ stories with some of whom I befriend. I hurried to review these photographers, performance artists, sculptors, multimedia artists, art educators, freelance curators, and art and culture event organizers, generally from the onset until today. My mind was filled with the recent art imageries that these young and inspiring individuals have left us. In this regard, the works of the following artists were considered as valid manifest of East African art, which looks like globally thriving: Loulou Cherinet, Aida Muluneh, Michael Tsegaye, Ingrid Mwangi, Jullie Mehretu, Elias Sime, Hassan Musa, Wangechi Mutu, Meskerem Assegid and Geta Mekonnen, to mention just a few luminaries. But again it is very important to mark that the prior artists (curators) have based themselves on a pretty much firm ground created by the so called Addis – Khartoum, and Addis – Nairobi schools’ champions. I coined the later concept. Because of these schools have left their pioneering a cultural trace, the heritage and visual culture continuum in the East Africa region was doable. So I’ll save the most recent art activity of this part of the continent for later, well until the end of this article, and/or for my next dispatch.

5 Here the italic term is my clichéd reworking of the word “fabled” that translates to flat world, superficies, etc.

6 Fracturing the Alphabetic Archive, WordPlay, “The Life of Script in paintings and Sculptures by Wosene Worke Kosrof”, National Museum of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. [Pub.] Color of Words, Inc., Berkeley, CA. Wosene Kosrof Oakland, California, Addis Ababa, with his grand show in 2010 that left an unforgettable story in Addis Ababans’ mind, has introduced the Geez (Ethiopic) in the world. Being among the most widely recognized African artists working today, Wosene in “learning to write V” (Acrylic on canvas, 36x 38 inch, 2008) delves into how he uses Geez epistle in his own devising.

7 Ibid. Tafesse. Part (6.4.), Modern art in Kenya: a space in the moment, contact with Ethiopian art, p.p. 284-5.

8 , a live interview with Mezgebu Tessema, Ethiopian National TV broadcast, December 14, 2013, Amharic.

9 Roland Barthes, in a Barthes Reader, ‘The Imagination of the Sign’, p. 211. London: Vintage, 1993, p.p. 12 – 13. I’ve a grasp of Barthes’ symbols and signs as I speak of Ethiopian artists here.

10, “Chairs, slippers and contemporary Ethiopia: the work of Ephrem Solomon. Artist reflects on the way modern and traditional lifestyles both clash and combine in the present”.

11   Chandler, Cartein. Ethiopia seen outside the box, .  9/9/2013, The Guardian Africa Network.


Brief bio: Mulugeta Tafesse is artist and researcher. He lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium.