“I have always been in the mainstream, but now that I am studying Ethiopian and African art as much as I have studied Western art, you notice more usual mainstream stuff in my work,” Tadesse Mesfin said once in an interview.
The artist is known for not giving his work titles and it has been described as only being concerned with the fundamentals of forms, colors, symbols and sensations rather than clear content or ideas.
Tadesse opened his exhibition “In search of rhythm” at the Alliance éthio-française on Wednesday, February 5th.
The painter born in 1953 in Wello, Woldia, graduated with distinction from Addis Ababa University School of Fine Arts and then went on to receive a Masters of Fine Arts in painting from the Saint Petersburg Repin Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.
“Any influence I had before came from the art schools, which I followed as a good student. I did all that was expected of me. You see more of my interest in texture, line form etc., in my present works. Elements that I ignored before are getting more attention now,” he said back in 1997 regarding his previous work.
When he is not working on his own master pieces, Tadesse works as an instructor of painting at the Addis Ababa University Alle School of Fine Arts and Design.
“I want my work to create a sort of emotional impact with the spectator–the dynamic nature I want to achieve in my work is coming, but slowly. I am enjoying what I am doing now. Even before, I was not doing my paintings because people liked them. I get pleasure out of my paintings all the time, the more so now because I am totally free to do what I want to do. I am free from a sort of self-imposed slavery,” he also said.
As a testament for his outstanding work, Tadesse Mesfin has received the Ethiopian Fine Arts and Mass Media national prize for painting in 1998 as well as the Mid-American Arts Alliance prestigious fellowship and residence to the U.S.