Addis Fine Art will be presenting at Frieze London for the first time this year with a solo exhibition of new works by abstract symbolist artist Merikokeb Berhanu.
Merikokeb Berhanu was born in 1977 in Addis Ababa and graduated from the Addis Ababa University, Alle School of Fine Arts and Design in 2002. Berhanu currently lives and works in Maryland, but she spent the first fifteen years of her career painting in relative obscurity in her studio in Addis Ababa. During this fruitful period, she developed her own transcendental visual language where figuration meets abstraction, and rich symbols derived from the natural world are intertwined with ambiguous forms.
Following Merikokeb's move to the United States in 2017, her subject matter shifted to incorporate depictions of the new, consumerist society she found herself in and its catastrophic impact on the environment. Meditated yet organic, her paintings are multitudinous in meaning – speaking at once to the experience of a migrant assimilating into a foreign culture, to the universality of life and nature which she explores through her depictions of animals and cell-like networks, and also stand as testament to her sophisticated understanding of colour and composition.