Frieze London: Addis Fine Art to Open First Permanent Gallery Outside of Ethiopia

Phoebe Fraser, Alt Africa, October 8, 2021

[...] Joining a handful of black-owned galleries in London, the gallery launches with a show of Nirit Takele in collaboration with Frieze London.


This will be Addis Fine Art’s first permanent gallery outside of Ethiopia, the split-level, 2,000 sq. ft space on Eastcastle Street, in the heart of #Fitzrovia’s gallery district will begin with Takele, who was born in Ethiopia in 1985 and moved to Israel in 1991 as part of Operation Solomon that saw more than 14,000 Ethiopian Jews evacuated.


Drawing from her experience as an Ethiopian Israeli, Takele offers a deeply personal insight into the everyday reality of the Beta Israel community and the beauty of this unique culture, along with exploring issues relating to the community. Through her vibrant figurative paintings Takele tackles questions surrounding gender and race, whilst introspectively interrogating her own memories of the folkloric Ethiopian culture she was taught as a child.


Rakeb Sile, who co-founded Addis Fine Art in 2016 with Mesai Haileleul, says that they will retain their original space in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which she describes as an “incubator” for younger artist and a “gallery that allows artists to come home and share their artwork in Ethiopia.” It’s a place for a local audience to be able to come and see art in a country where public institutions are in short supply. 

She adds: “Africa is not one place, Africa is huge and so diverse. So I think that one of the things we’re really proud of at the gallery and we want to continue doing is only dealing with this little part of Africa [Ethiopia]… it’s actually not little, it’s massive – 110 million people!”


The gallery will exhibit at Freize London (13 – 17 October) in the Focus section, with a presentation of paintings by Ethiopian artist Merikokeb Berhanu, and has already championed 1:54’s Contemporary African Art Fair at Somerset House with an array of works by its diaspora artists – Tariku Shiferaw, Helina Metaferia, Tsedaye Makonnen and Tesfaye Urgessa. Addis has just returned from New York where they showed at the Armory Show, exhibiting works of Titza Berhanu, another Ethiopian artist. [...]

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