[...] A PROMINENT FIGURE in Ethiopian Modernism, Tadesse Mesfin thrives on two creative fronts: making paintings and training the next generation of artists. Women are the protagonists in Mesfin’s ongoing series “Pillars of Life.” The paintings pay homage to the many women who work as smallholder vendors in Ethiopian markets. Rendered in muted colors and cast against abstracted backgrounds, the women have a poetic presence. Bringing attention to what might appear to be uniform ubiquity, the paintings celebrate the diversity of his subjects and their vital role in the community.
Addis Fine Art in Addis Ababa is currently showcasing “Pillars of Life.” The online viewing room exhibition is scheduled for May 22-June 2, 2020.
Mesfin has an eclectic background. He earned an undergraduate degree from the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design at Addis Ababa University (1972), worked for the Ethiopia’s National Theatre designing sets and costumes (1973-77), and later earned an MFA in Russia, where he studied painting at the Repin St. Petersburg Academy Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in St. Petersburg. Then he became a professor at his alma mater, the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design. [...]