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“I live my life as part of my thoughts: easy, tasty and with joy” artist Workneh Bezu says in his biography.
His latest exhibition “The Picture Between You and Me” opened at the Alliance Ethio-Française on Tuesday January 20. Known for his colorful paintings, Workneh says that he likes simple art.
Born in Addis Ababa, Workneh graduated from the Addis Ababa University School of Fine Arts and Design in 2001.
His inspiration comes from an entourage of his dreams, and his paintings often show many characters absorbed in a colorful and happy world.
“I want to give energy through my art. Because I appreciate powerful things in life, I want to paint them. I started with signs that affect us physically like sun, moon, and later eyes. Some series were also about the beauty of women,” he says.
The artist’s paintings, feature smiling people and angles mostly seen in Ethiopian Orthodox churches.
“Once a woman told me that, if you look after children, an angel will look after you. This sentence stayed in my mind and I adapted it into my art, painting and sculpting, I feature women and angels,” he says.
Workneh was a kindergarten art teacher; he says that experience massively influenced him. “This experience orientated my paintings toward drawing children. Kids, with their moods, make your life energetic and enjoyable,” he says. He adds that it is just the kind of feeling he wants to give to people through his art.
He has other talents as well, he also sculpts and makes puppets. “My art is a mix of my formal education, my own composition, and my feeling of strength and happiness. It doesn’t matter if I am creating oil paintings, pastels, sculpture, puppets or movies for children,” he says.
He wants to pass on values through messages to children; through his portrayal of Ethiopian themes. He reminds them not to be afraid of the rain, not to steal and to take care of their hygiene.
Workneh’s current exhibition at the Alliance Ethio-Française will stay open until January 31.