“Bohemian” artists’ revolution in Ethiopia

Above: Ethiopian painter Dawit Abebe stands in front of one
of his paintings.

AFP
By Aaron Maasho
ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopian art, which for centuries has been synonymous with portraits of saints and political figures, now has a new breed of “bohemian” painters tackling bolder subjects, including sex-themed works. In a studio littered with squeezed paint tubes and drab canvases, Dawit Abebe, one of the artists spearheading the revolution, gazes intently at his latest paintings that include nude portraits. “You know, years back they would have been way too extreme,” he said. “Now Ethiopians have begun to understand that they’re just art, and not meant to encourage sex.” In the olden days under the patronage of Ethiopian emperors, clerics and feudal lords, artists illustrated manuscripts, painted icons and adorned the country’s remote monasteries with depictions of doe-eyed saints and angels as their main profession. Read more.

1 Response to ““Bohemian” artists’ revolution in Ethiopia”


  1. 1 Bemused Oct 14th, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    I am glad Dawit and his friends are following the tradition of Art School of the sixties when art school was the center of bohemian talented youngsters like Getahun, Behre Temelso, Merry, Abeba, Tesfaye,Tadesse Gile, etc. thought by great painters Iskunder Boghosian and Gebre Kiristos Desta. Ethiopia needs more Art Schools in every big city.

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