- Title: ETHIOPIA: MODERN ART IN ADDIS ABABA
- Date: 22nd January 2001
- Summary: VARIOUS LOCATIONS, ETHIOPIA (RECENT& FILE) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. VARIOUS OF STUDENTS PAINTING AT THE FINE ARTS SCHOOL, ADDIS ABABA (4 SHOTS) 0.20 2. SV/ MV PROFESSOR TADESSE MESFIN TALKING TO STUDENTS WHILE THEY WORK 0.32 3. M/S OF PAINTING 0.35 4. SCU (SOUNDBITE) (Amharic) PROFESSOR TADESSE MESFIN SAYING: 'We have to bring people to modern art. But the problem is that we dont have any museums or galleries. All the work of our best painters is abroad, no one is gathering them here (edit). We have lots of talented painters, but we dont have an art scene, no art historians and critics. For the moment the artist is alone, with nobody to promote and support him.' 1.00 5. VARIOUS SHOWS OF STUDENT, DAWIT ABEBE PAINTING 1.23 6. SV, (SOUNDBITE) (Amharic) STUDENT DAWIT ABEBE SAYING: You do painting because you want to express something or liberate yourself from some feeling. Art is there to satisfy the artist first. If other people dont feel that satisfaction, then too bad. If I manage to say what I want to say through my painting, then Im happy and that's the whole point.' 1.44 7. CLOSE UP OF PAINTING ON EASEL 1.50 8. SCU (SOUNDBITE) (Amharic) TADESSE MESFIN, PROFESSOR SAYING:" People want to see paintings which imitate nature, which are easy to understand. But we cannot do our work by following what people like or understand." 1.57 9. SV, DAWIT ABEBE PAINTING 2.02 10. VARIOUS, ARTIST BEHAILU BEZABIH AT WORK IN HIS STUDIO 2.15 11. SCU (SOUNDBITE) (Amharic) BEZABIH SAYING: I used to paint very realistic and traditional paintings . But more and more I do this kind of work, and its not something that I decided , it just came like that." 2.23 12. GV, INTERIORS OF TAITU HOTEL, ADDIS ABABA 2.35 13. VARIOUS, PAINTINGS DISPLAYED ON WALLS OF HOTEL 2.39 14. GV, EXTERIOR OF TAITU HOTEL 2.43 15. VARIOUS, INTERIORS OF HOTEL/CHAIRS IN LOBBY OF HOTEL 2.54 16. VARIOUS OF ART ON DISPLAY IN HOTEL 3.06 17. CLOSE UP OF PAINTING TITLED 'HOW LONG' BY GETACHEW YOSEF 3.21 18. VARIOUS OF ARTWORK ON DISPLAY 3.42 (RECENT) 19. VARIOUS OF EXHIBITION OF ETHIOPIAN ARTIST DANIEL TAYE'S WORK 4.06 VARIOUS LOCATIONS, ETHIOPIA (RECENT& FILE) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 20. SCU (SOUNDBITE) (Amharic) TAYE SAYING: I think I don't really love myself. I have not gotten answers for some old questions such as where do we come from and where are we going? Im not sure about the paradise thing. I know bugs will come out of my own flesh when I'm dead. It means we are rotten from the inside.' 4.26 21. VARIOUS OF TAYE'S PAINTINGS ON WALL 4.37 23. SV, (SOUNDBITE) (Amharic) TAYE DESCRIBING ONE OF HIS PAINTINGS SAYING: 'This dog is walking freely, but his soul is up there attached to this wall. We act like free people but were all prisoners. There are lots of impassable walls in my life that Id like to destroy.' 4.53 24. PAN OF MAN VIEWING ARTWORK 5.00 25. SCU (SOUNDBITE) (English) ANDREAS GETACHEW SAYING: 'It's the expression of anxiety, pain, of suffering, which is what you see all over the place in Addis Ababa, and Ethiopia, its part of our existence." 5.12 26. VARIOUS OF PAINTINGS 5.33 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 6th February 2001 12:00
- Location: VARIOUS LOCATIONS, ETHIOPIA
- Country: AFRICA Ethiopia
- Reuters ID: LVA7WFW7XTQTFEUE6XC7U1F084U6
- Story Text: The Fine Arts School in Addis Ababa is a temple of contemporary art in Ethiopia. The most famous artists in the country have passed through this school, which has just been
upgraded to a university. Only 25 students are accepted into the painting
department every year, after very stiff selection.
Renowned artist Tadesse Mesfin is one of the professors at the Addis Abeba Fine
Many young Ethiopians long to study here, but Mesfin says, contemporary art
lacks support in the country.
Contemporary artists feel the general public, unfamiliar with abstract forms of
art, does not understand them.
Twenty-year old Dawit Abebe is one of Mesfins most promising students. He says
painting is a private conversation between the artist and his canvas.
"You do painting because you want to express something or liberate yourself from
some feeling. Art is there to satisfy the artist first. If other people dont
feel that satisfaction, then too bad. If I manage to say what I want to say
through my painting, then Im happy and thats the whole point," he said.
One day, Dawit Abebe will become an artist of the same calibre as Behailu
Last month Behailu had some of his paintings exhibited in this Addis Ababa
hotel. Opened in 1905, Taitu hotel is one of the oldest lodgings in Africa, and
was named after the then Ethiopian empress. The chairs in the lobby where a gift
from Tito, the former Yugoslav leader.
And famous people such as Winston Churchill have stayed here. Now the hotel is
also an art gallery, where dozens of artists recently participated in a
retrospective of Ethiopian modern art.
Compelling and dramatic - a painting by Getachew Yosef entitled 'How Long',
describes the suffering of Africa, through the holes of an eyeless skull.
A traditional Ethiopian-style drawing superimposed with a Picasso figure -
symbolizes the dilemma of Ethiopian artists : to do abstract or figurative art ?
Avant-garde compositions decorate the old attic of the hotel.
Despite the indifference of the public, some Ethiopian artists have become
successful and organise regular exhibitions. One of them, Daniel Taye, is
getting more and more international recognition. The Smithsonian museum in New
York is planning to buy some of his paintings. Taye is a tortured soul, and
lives with the disturbing impression of being a stranger in this hostile world.
'I think I dont really love myself. I have not gotten answers for some old
questions such as where do we come from and where are we going? Im not sure
about the paradise thing. I know bugs will come out of my own flesh when I'm
dead. It means we are rotten from the inside,' Taye said.
Taye's work is sometimes puzzling, and uncovers social pressures of an almost
Some amateurs believe Tayes art reflects the situation in the country.
One man who thinks so is Andreas Getachew, a follower of Taye's work: 'It's the
expression of anxiety, pain, of suffering, which is what you see all over the
place in Addis Ababa, and Ethiopia, its part of our existence.' Ethiopia is full
of sophisticated and daring contemporary artists. But the country is poor, and
art is not a priority. If something doesn't change soon, some exceptional
talents will continue to lurk in the shadows of anonymity.
- ENDS -
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