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“Chewata”, in Amharic literally means “entertainment” but it also means “discussion”. The newly opened art exhibition at the Italian Cultural Institute on Wednesday March 13 evening, is by two artists, Ephrem Solomon and Emanuel Tegene, who collaborated to build a collection based around the theme of “Chewata”.
The idea for an exhibition was born a few months ago when both artists discussed the possibility of working together and decided that it would be a great opportunity to create a collection of work based on a theme that complemented their styles.
“With this in mind, they chose the word “Chewata”, because for them it reflected the many conversations they had on the impact encroaching modernity is having on the society at large. The works they produced and are displayed now are manifestations of their feelings. “When we first see the works of Ephrem, it is clear that his creative outlook is both humble and complex,” said Aida Muluneh, curator of the exhibition.
Ephrem uses wooden boards as a canvas and works with collage backgrounds using old newspaper clippings. He draws only using black, white and red colors. He often uses slippers and chairs to echo a part of the society that is often disregarded and forgotten.
This young artist says that his chairs are created in response to the “social crisis” which he perceives in today’s world; a questioning of power, shared and distributed.
“My feelings are expressed in my art works along with my thinking and my philosophies. This new concept has meant that my work has taken on a new format that helps me with my thinking,” he says.
Emanuel’s collection is filled with pulsating colors. He mostly uses the color blue and chooses to portray society in the form of a fish, which he believes describes a state of ceaseless motion, a condition of always moving forward, never standing still and difficult to predict.
This young artist, born in Addis Ababa, says that to this day he doesn’t know where he got the “bizarre” idea of becoming an artist.
According to him, his work is inspired by his eclectic view on his surroundings and most of his art is a reflection and a comment on society. He hopes that through his work he can show the international art community that contemporary art in Ethiopia echo the changing cultural dynamics of a new generation of artists from the continent.
“This exhibition probes and at the same time poses the question of the roles that we play in society, and regardless of our differing positions, we all take part in the game of life, which as anything else, inevitably has a winner and a loser,” Aida noted. The exhibition will stay open until the 28th of March.