Elias Sime Set for Major U.S. Museum Shows in NY, Ohio and Kansas

Elias Sime. (Photo by Mekbib Tadesse)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 30th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Elias Sime is set for his first major traveling U.S. museum exhibition this year starting at Wellin Museum of Art in New York in the fall followed by shows at Akron Art Museum in Ohio, the Kemper Museum of Art in Kansas City, and the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada.

According to organizers the first exhibition at the Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College will be held from September 7 through December 8, 2019 and will feature work by the Ethiopian artist spanning over a decade. The exhibit entitled Elias Sime: Tightrope includes “a large outdoor site-specific sculpture, created out of repurposed computer parts, electrical wires, bronze and clay.”

Elias’ latest body of work titled Noiseless is also currently on display at the James Cohan Gallery in New York City.

As the Wellin Museum notes “Elias Sime (b. 1968 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) is a multi-disciplinary artist who lives and works in Addis Ababa. He is highly regarded as an artist and as the co-founder of the ZOMA Museum, the only contemporary art museum in Addis Ababa, with curator and anthropologist Meskerem Assegued.”

Below is an overview of the exhibition courtesy of Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College:

“The exhibition Elias Sime: Tightrope marks the first major museum show to focus on the work of contemporary Ethiopian artist Elias Sime (b. 1968). Sime’s brightly-colored tableaux and sculptural assemblages feature found objects including thread, buttons, bottle caps, electrical wires, and computer detritus. The exhibition highlights the artist’s work from the last decade, much of which comprises the series entitled “Tightrope,” alongside a selection of early works critical to the artist’s development. Repurposing salvaged electronic components, such as circuits and keyboards, Sime incorporates the refuse that results from technological advancement, and points to the urgency of and different approaches to sustainability. A post consumerist critique, the artist’s work is a commentary on the fact that countries in Africa are often the repositories of e-waste imported from elsewhere in the world. The work also incorporates redundant technologies from the former Soviet Union and the the West, highlighting Ethiopia’s complex political past. The resulting abstractions reference landscape and the figure, and often employ patterning drawn from traditional Ethiopian textiles. The title “Tightrope” refers to the precarious balance between the progress technology has made possible and its detrimental impact on the environment. Featuring over 20 works of art of varying scales, including new work created by the artist to debut in this exhibition, Elias Sime: Tightrope explores the breath of Sime’s work which focuses on interconnectedness as both a literal and conceptual practice.”

Elias Sime: Tightrope will be accompanied by the first monograph focusing on the work of Elias Sime and features contributions by Tracy L. Adler; Meskerem Assegued, anthropologist, curator and founder of the Zoma Museum; Karen Milbourne, Curator of the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution; and Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi, Curator of African Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art. This book will be co-published by the Wellin Museum of Art and Delmonico Books • Prestel.”

Additional dates for Sime’s other museum exhibitions are as follows:

Akron Art Museum in Akron, Ohio – February 29 – May 24, 2020

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri – June 11 – September 13, 2020

Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada – December 12, 2020 – April 18, 2021

You can learn more about the Wellin Museum of Art at www.hamilton.edu/wellin

Noiseless: Elias Sime’s New Exhibition Opens in NYC

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