Netsa Art Village: Ethiopia’s Cutting Edge Contemporary Art Movement

Contemporary Ethiopian artist Tamrat Gazahegn with his artwork at Netsa Village. (photo courtesy AFP/Jenny Vaughan).


April 2nd,2013 | AFP Jenny Vaughan

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Under a canopy of trees in a park not far from Addis Ababa’s National Museum, home of many of Ethiopia’s historic national treasures, a contemporary art revolution is quietly afoot. It is here at Netsa Art Village that the experimental work made from shoelaces by Merhet Debebe can be found, or the vibrantly-coloured work of Tamrat Gazahegn, who uses tree trunks as canvases. Nearby are the giant sculptures of jazz musicians, trains and horse-drawn carts made from metal scraps and trash by Tesfahun Kibru. The collective, the only one of its kind in Ethiopia, is made up of 15 artists who are spearheading Ethiopia’s contemporary art movement, shifting away from endless copies of Ethiopia’s ancient Coptic Christian paintings. Still in its infancy, the movement marks a daring shift away from the commercial art that dominates many of Ethiopia’s mainstream galleries, and seeks to put the country on the map in the international art world as a source for cutting edge work.



















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