Mutual Identity : Dawit Abebe
Addis Fine Art is pleased to announce Mutual Identity, Dawit Abebe's first solo exhibition at Addis Fine Art's main gallery space in Addis Ababa from 18 September - 22 December 2018.
Mutual Identity is a body of work following Dawit Abebe's X-Privacy series from 2012 in which he critically examines the themes of power and individual and collective freedom. Experiments in composition and form, explore the collective human experience. A growing sense of responsibility in the face of social and cultural shifts, questions of national and global urgency and their implication on the social fabric, are explored in this exhibition.
Collages carefully constructed in Dawit's signature style, confront the viewer with questions of personal ego and its impact on society. The ego removes contact with nature as humans more divided and isolated. Magazine cutouts of famous figures are juxtaposed against each other, taken out of their usual context. Vladimir Putin occupies the same space as Tony Blair, Kim Jong Un, Mulatu Teshome, Adolph Hitler, Martin Luther King Jr., a fashion model and a lone, armed soldier. The giant figures seem to represent these individuals' combined egos. These giant nude male figures explore the ego under difficult social conditions. Stripped of clothes, knowledge and identity, these figures flagrantly present themselves for view. The small collage city below is oblivious to the behemoth above. At times this dominant figure seems to be carrying the weight of the world like Atlas or Sisyphus and at times cowered, shamed by his nakedness, like Adam banished from Eden. Nonetheless, the giant's masculinity is unquestionable. The cityscape filled with tiny celebrity figures questions civilization and modernity. The god-like role of camera surveillance asks the viewer to question socially constructed ideals of proper behavior. The imagery of the cage explores systems that encourage power imbalance. These collages ask what our contribution is to the world. They question national identity in the face of privilege and global systems of power. Are we ignoring our surroundings, entranced by our own selfhood and distracted by the personal shadow we cast?