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Art

Witnessing art

‘Witnessing the Piece’, a group exhibition featuring young painters is on view at the Alliance Ethio-Française. The artists, Amanuel Wondwosen, Mieraf Girum and Lejkidus Bezzawork are young graduate artists trying to put a mark on the contemporary Ethiopian art scene.

The exhibition was supposed to include works by Mewded Dagnachew who was unfortunately unable to participate due to health problems.

‘Witnessing the Piece’ is based upon the premise that our inner lives are infinitely more interesting and immersive than the external world’s distractions. Humans are straying further away from the self, looking further away from the internal. The exhibition calls for more self-reflection and assessment.

Amanuel Wondwosen’s eight pieces play with the notion of layered personalities, projections of the self to the external world. Feminine faces in white facemasks, hinting at a face not yet ready for public view. His QR code self-portrait comments on society’s overvaluation of material possessions and social status over the intrinsic value of a person. Amanuel sardonically mocks the trappings of the information age.

Mieraf Girum’s nine pieces in the exhibition movingly depict solitary human condition. Figures in anguish, their bodies inhumanly contorted, are displayed in ‘Backstabbing Vulture’. A bird’s eye view of another bent figure with his/her head between her legs is titled ‘God’s View’. Although unfortunately titled and clearly personal to the artist, Mieraf’s works break away for the individual and speak to collective human experiences. Her figures, usually in dark and misty greens and greys, portray pain, loneliness, lack of connection and the inevitable erosion of memory with the passage of time.

The youngest of the three artists, this is Mieraf’s first time showing her works in an exhibition.

Lejkidus Bezzawork showed 14 abstract pieces from his ‘Gradual Effect’ series. Interesting composition and bold brushstrokes with a modest use of colors make his works distinct. Gradual Effect explores variety of differences that occupy a shared space. Freely playing within the borders of the canvas, Lejkidus fights against limitations or boxes, he says, that restrict knowledge of each other.

All three artists are graduates from the Tefefi Mekonnen School of Art. Witnessing the Piece will be on view until October 26.