Tizta Berhanu was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1991 where she has lived and worked her entire life. She graduated in 2013 from the Addis Ababa University, Alle School of Fine Arts and Design where she studied under the influential modernist painter Tadesse Mesfin.
Trained as a figurative painter, Tizta uses the medium to introspectively delve into human emotions. The figures in her work often express an array of sentiments, some comfort and embrace one another, whilst others are found isolated and searching in the backdrop of the enigmatic canvases. Her paintings are awash with lucid colours which flow across the canvases through the use of heavy undefined brush strokes. By portraying her subjects expressing love, hate, sadness, and loneliness, the observer is invited into moments of vulnerability and intimacy.
Painted with expressive swirling brush strokes, Tizta’s work possesses a dreamlike atmosphere. The figures swim in a tide of vibrant and subdued colour, with only their lips, weighted eyelids, and reassuringly outstretched hands clearly defined against the luminous haze. The entangled nature of Tizta’s compositions alludes to the importance of community in providing support for one another, an essential trait in Ethiopian culture. Tizta’s bold use of colour infuses each painting with its own distinctive emotional tone; her lustrous red paintings, for instance, conjure images of love and passion, whilst the oceanic blue works wash the viewer in a wave of despondency.