One of the youngest of a family of 12, Hirut Yosef was the first Ethiopian to graduate from Shenkar. Her family now lives in the U.S., Israel, Ethiopia, and Canada.

By Leeron Hoory ( |

Wide-eyed superwomen mesh with history in an eye-catchinge new exhibit by an emerging Israeli artist, currently on view in Harlem.

Bold, lively, and abstract, “Mulu and the Beta Clan” by Hirut Yosef features a range of medium from collage to painting to woodworking. Some prints are intimate photographs of her family members overlaid with graphic motifs of embroidery, weaving and textile design, a homage to the most powerful and influential women in her life.

“My biggest inspiration, where everything started, is thinking about my mother and my grandmother, and how amazing and strong women they were — especially in the Jewish Ethiopian community back in Ethiopia,” Yosef said.

The 37-year-old immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia when she was five and began this series, which is on display at Tsion Cafe in Sugar Hill until July 31, living in Turkey. A world traveler, Hirut Yosef’s work explores themes of immigration, belonging, and identity, seeking to build a visual bridge between Ethiopia and Israel as well as the other countries she’s lived, most recently, the United States.

As a student of fashion design at Tel Aviv’s Shenkar College of Engineering, Hirut Yosef realized that if she wanted to contribute something innovative to the artistic conversation in Israel, “I have to go back to my roots. I have to go back to where I came from and do the research there.”

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2 Responses

  1. Ethiopian-Israeli Teen Leah Avuno Delivers Message of Diversity

    […] ALSO READ: Ethiopian-Israeli Artist Hirut Yosef Creates Gorgeous Paintings to Celebrate Her HeritageAvuno had been born in Ethiopia a few years prior, into an environment she described as apprehensive about Jews. Due to several aliyah operations beginning in the late 1970s, much of Ethiopia’s Jewish community had already left for Israel, including a large amount of her extended family. “Honestly, we were the only Jews in the neighborhood,” Avuno said. “All of the community just left.” […]


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