This beautiful painting is by the incomparable Ethiopian artist Tadesse Mesfin. Currently, Mesfin is showcasing his first international solo exhibition, Pillars of Life, in London, under the representation of Addis Fine Art Gallery. In an interview accompanying his work, Mesfin noted that he draws inspiration from the West African Mask tradition and the Russian schools of thought, yet his focus rests on everyday people in his community. In Pillars of Life, he highlights female market vendors; whom he captures elegantly sitting, standing, and engrossed in conversation. By centering his paintings around small-hold traders, Mesfin pays critical attention to the role these women play in the country’s economy. Yet, one cannot help but to be captivated by the sheer beauty of his subjects. With elongated necks, bright almond-shaped eyes, and full lips–his paintings direct us to see the dignity and vibrancy of everyday workers. Mesfin has done an outstanding job as a cultural ambassador of Ethiopian Art and it’s wonderful to see him receiving the global recognition he deserves. This show is a gem and worth checking out.
The exhibition is open to the public, 3-13 December 2020 at Cromwell Place, London.
Reviewed by Lydia Kakwera Levy