Cellular Universe: Merikokeb Berhanu

2 - 29 July 2020 Online



Addis Fine Art is pleased to present Cellular Universe, Merikokeb Berhanu's third solo show with the gallery.


Merikokeb's vibrant works at first glance appear abstract: swirls of colour circulate organically across the canvas creating imagery that mesmerises and draws in the viewer. Closer inspection reveals recognisable forms; familiar patterns from the natural world start to emerge, creating a mysterious almost subterranean atmosphere. Life-generating forms, such as orange seed pods, embryos, fallopian tubes, and pulsing cells, are set against a network of gaunt, drooping figures, and surreal earthly structures.


Absorbed by questions of life and death and the human condition, Merikokeb draws inspiration from nature and life itself. She uses recurrent themes from nature to referring to personal concepts and emotions. For example, her image of the brain situated outside the body, signifies imbalances of life caused by human conciseness and ingenuity. With repeated references to cells, "the building blocks of life" in both human and organic forms, Merikokeb reminds us that all life is interconnected. She aims to create an opposition to the imbalance and injustice she sees in the world around her. The embryo, another recurrent symbol, represents the nurturing and birth of people's ideas and opinions. Merikokeb also embraces ambiguity in her works by leaving them untitled, thereby allowing the viewer to interpret the enigmatic symbolic language for themselves.


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