„Empty Room", 2011

Engdaget Legesse

Engdaget Legesse was born in 1971 in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, in the district Zebgna sefer – or the district of the village guards. His artistic talent was discovered by his mother. An Ethiopian tradition states that children at the time of the New Year (which is celebrated in Ethiopia on September 11) should paint pictures to give to their neighbors or acquaintances. They receive money in return to buy materials for the new school year. Engdagets images were already promising in his childhood and his mother encouraged his talent and brought him into contact with Ethiopian as well as European paintings. It was she who gave him his first art book - an illustrated book onabout Renoir.

In 1988, Engdaget underwent his studies at the Art Academy in Addis Ababa, a renowned Fine Arts School. At 16 he was the youngest student of the Academy. From 1988 to 1991, he received basic training in the fine arts after two years of specialization followed "Monumental Painting”. In 1993 he graduated "with distinction".

Engdaget is now considered one of the most innovative and successful Ethiopian artists of his generation. This unfolds on the one hand against the background of his artistic CV and on the other from the consideration of a traditional Ethiopian artistic tradition that has survived many centuries, demonstrating a Christian influenced painting tradition.

by Kerstin Volker-Saad

Read the whole article  (in German)