One of the top art galleries in Ethiopia, Addis Fine Art, is taking part in the 12th edition of Art Dubai takes place March 21-24, 2018, at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, U.A.E.

By Sudeshna Ghosh (Arab News) |

DUBAI, U.A.E.―One of the most exciting features of Art Dubai is the Ethiopian art on show, as the country’s leading gallery, Addis Fine Art, brings two notable artists to the emirate in a thoughtfully curated collection.

While the annual art fair – like its home city – is as multicultural as it gets, this is the first time Ethiopian art has made an appearance, with the hope of building an international audience for the country’s burgeoning arts scene.

While Ethiopia has a rich and ancient art heritage – dominated primarily by religious art led by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, until around the middle of the 20th century, when secular art started to be created – the arts have certainly made a resurgence in recent years. According to Rakeb Sile, co-owner of Addis Fine Art: “The number of Ethiopian artists invited to participate in art fairs and to show their work in prominent galleries and museums around the world today is unprecedented.

International collectors are noticing and buying, while local collectors are also spending significant amounts on artwork, which was unthinkable just a decade ago.

“The growing public participation in art-related events is also very encouraging. The youth of the city, in particular, are the most visible participants, and the most receptive to new forms of expression that challenge traditional norms.”

Getting to this point hasn’t been easy, however, with the geopolitical challenges that the country has faced for decades. “Soon after the transition from church-influenced art to modern expression occurred, the political revolution from the early 1970s onwards greatly inhibited artists’ ability to practice freely along with their counterparts across the continent,” explained Mesai Haileleul, Rakeb’s partner and co-owner of Addis Fine Art gallery.

However, thanks to the persistence of dedicated members of the art community and institutions such as the pioneering Alle Felegeselam School of Fine Art and Design, today there is a growing number of gifted Ethiopian artists practicing their craft across various media, and enjoying increasing interest and appreciation from the global art world.

Continue reading this story at Arab News
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