Addis Fine Art Exhibit Puts Focus on New Generation of Ethiopian Photographers

(Photo by Girma Berta)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 2nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – A new generation of Ethiopian photographers are redefining the way people perceive Ethiopia both at home and internationally. Among them are Girma Berta and Eyerusalem Jiregna whose latest works are set to go on display at Addis Fine Art Gallery in Addis Ababa, from April 9th through May 25th, 2019, in an exhibition titled From Our Perspective: Young Ethiopian Photographers Changing the Gaze.

“They represent the new voices in contemporary Ethiopian photography, pushing the boundaries of the medium and questioning the definitions of documentary photography,” the gallery stated in a press release. “Their works have been exhibited internationally and selected to adorn Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s new public and private offices.”

Girma Berta (b.1990) is the winner of the 2016 Getty Images Instagram grant. As Getty Images noted: “Berta uses his iPhone to photograph vibrant, gritty street life in Addis Ababa, crossing street photography with fine art by isolating his subjects against backdrops of rich color.” Addis Fine arts adds: “As one of the first photographers to travel to Eritrea once the blockage was lifted in June 2018, his new Asmara series documents Eritrea’s capital frozen in time. Berta, who is self-taught, uses a combination of street photography and graphic design to create images of passers-by with a painterly quality. Berta’s use of digital media, to produce and present his artworks, is in itself a commentary on the digital revolution underway across Africa. He represents the vibrancy of the millennial African.”

Eyerusalem Jirenga

“Eyerusalem Jirenga (b.1993) is an exciting emerging artist and fashion designer based in Addis Ababa,” the press release shares: “Shot in the walled city of Harar, her series titled The City of Saints, documents a living history.”

“Informed by her experience in design, Jirenga specialises in evocatively bright and discerning portraits, enliven with distinctive and striking colour detail,” states the Addis Fine Art press release. “Her use of rich textures and colours plays against the crisp focus of her photographs, enhancing their warm, visually stimulating effect. Eyerusalem Jirenga has received considerable acclaim for her work both within Ethiopia and internationally. She has exhibited in the New York photography festival Photoville 2016 and participated in the New York Times Portfolio Review 2016.” Eyerusalem has also participated in solo and group shows in Johannesburg, Cape Town and New York City.

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