Corporeal Contemplation: Solo Exhibition by Merikokeb Berhanu

2 July - 27 August 2016 Addis Ababa

Addis Fine Art gallery is pleased to present, Corporeal Contemplation, a solo exhibition of new and recent works by emerging female painter, Merikokeb Berhanu (b.1977).


Merikokeb creates an aloof, almost subterranean atmosphere in her paintings. An array of life bearing forms, such as orange seed pods, embryos, fallopian tubes, and pulsing cells, appear set against a network of gaunt, drooping female figures, and surreal yet earthly structures. There is a fertilized egg, through which the sperm, in its upward trajectory, has punctured a hole to escape from. There is a cow perched atop a mammary gland-like structure, but with its udders upturned. Merikokeb makes much of the vertical ascent of saplings, plants bursting through the surface, as well as the forces that resist and suppress their efforts. Both growth and decay appear in equal measure: a flower climbs through dense rock, if only to blossom and droop into the appreciative embrace of an exhausted and bonelike human figure. Her work at once appears to be a celebration of these life-bearing forms, as well as something more decidedly complex - in her words, “the light, line, complexity, and density of the wide, thick fog and smoke; the happiness and hopefulness, misery and bliss of this life we are passing through.”


About Merikokeb Berhanu

Merikokeb Berhanu was born in Addis Ababa, where her practice is based. She completed her

art degree from the Addis Ababa University Fine Arts and Design School (2002), where she studied mural design. She presently works from the Nubia studio, and her work has been shown at numerous exhibitions, including solo exhibitions at the Ethiopian National Museum (2011) and RedHill Art Gallery, Nairobi (2015). Her group showings include the 1.54 African Art Fair, London (2015), Art of Ethiopia, Sheraton Addis, Addis Ababa (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013), Art Lab Africa, Cape Town Art Fair, Cape Town (2015), My Self Portrait, Asni Gallery, Addis Ababa (2011), and Ashara, Laphto Gallery, Addis Ababa (2013).


About Addis Fine Art

Founded by Mesai Haileleul and Rakeb Sile, Addis Fine Art is a gallery specialising in contemporary African Art, with particular focus on art from Ethiopia and its diaspora. The partners bring a high level of expertise to this establishment, with over 20 years of local and international experience between them. The new gallery is well positioned to promote the work of an impressive roster of artists both in Ethiopia and abroad. Located in the heart of Addis Ababa, Addis Fine Art will be a hub for an innovative arts programming, including: exhibitions, lectures, and events showcasing modern and contemporary artists from Ethiopia and the



Visitor information

3rd Floor Red Building

Behind Mafi City Mall

Bole Medhane Alem

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Tel: +251 913 426553


Gallery Hours

Tuesday – Saturday 10am - 6pm

Admission: Free