Spotlight Wednesday | Zerihun Yetmgeta


[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]Zerihun is an internationally acclaimed Ethiopian artist whose artistic talent was discovered at a very early age. He was nicknamed as the “scientist” while attending boarding school because he enjoyed working with his hands and making things. He won a national art competition, known as the “All Ethiopian School” competition at the age of fifteen, since then he knew his destiny was to pursue the life of an artist. He started painting classes at the Empress Menen Handicraft School soon after he completed high school. He proceeded to Alle School of Fine Arts, Addis Ababa a year later, where he studied from 1963 to 1968. [/dropcap]
Three artists have had a great impact on Zerihun artistic development; Alexander Boghossian, known as Skunder Boghossian. Boghossian with whom he shared a studio with in the mid-1960s, Gebre Kristos Desta who Zerihun regards as Ethiopia’s greatest artist, and Karl Heinz Hansen (his professors at the School of Fine Arts).
Place of Birth: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Date of Birth:  1941.
His paintings are usually a mix of contemporary art with Ethiopia traditional forms, particularly from the icons and scrolls of Ethiopian Orthodox art. Zerihun’s has tremendous empathy for his Ethiopian heritage and his identity as an African, but also sees himself as a citizen of the world.
the shield and the shadow by zerihun-digest.bellafricana
One can easily observe his passion for history and the cultural heritage of Ethiopia and Africa in many of his works, like in his recent “bamboo strip” painting, Wax and Gold. Here he integrates images of ancient rock art from eastern Ethiopia (ca. 2,000 B.C.), the great stone stele of the Aksumite period (second to eighth centuries A.D.), an Aksumite coin from the fourth-century reign of King Ezana, the cruciform stone church of St. George from Lalibela (thirteenth to fourteenth centuries), motifs from magic scrolls, and Ethiopic script. In addition, his ties with the rest of Africa are represented by renderings of a Akan akua’ba figure from Ghana and one of Zerihun’s own mask creations emerging from his study of West and Central African masks.
Zerihun is said to be the best known Ethiopian artist. For over 25 years now, his works have featured in international exhibitions. He received a special recognition in the last five years with his participation in major exhibitions in Switzerland and Cuba. In 1992, he was awarded the prestigious Prix de la Biennale at DAK’ART 92 (the 2nd Biennale Internationale des Arts de Dakar). He also has works in a number of European and American museum collections, as well as in many private collections.
gettoheaven by yetmgeta- digest.bellafricana
philosopher by yetmgeta-digest.bellafricana
courtship by yetmgeta-digest.bellafricana
yesterday and today by yetmgeta-digest.bellafricana

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