Art of Ethiopia, an event that has made its mark on the art scene of the country concluded its 9th edition exhibition on Monday, September 5, 2016. The event is known for featuring new up and coming talent and giving them a chance to shine. Organizers said the event that also showed famous artists attracted a significant number of visitors, according to organizers.
“The event has been very successful, just the last couple of days we have had around 10,000 visitors. We believe it is a huge accomplishment that we bring to the public every year. Sheraton Addis’s support has been solid and we are grateful for that,” said the founder and well known painter, Lulseged Retta.
Lulseged says this year’s exhibition was dedicated to the late artist Ale Felege Selam the founder and the first Director of the Addis Ababa University School of Fine Arts. “He has contributed a lot to the arts in this country and we wanted to commemorate him through this event,” Lulseged added.
The ‘Art of Ethiopia’ exhibition was hosted by the Sheraton Addis since its inception in 2008 and forms part of the hotel’s community outreach program aimed at raising money for the Sheraton Addis Art Endowment Fund, which in turn supports the initiatives of local art schools in the city.
For each art piece sold, 10 percent of the price is contributed by the artists to the endowment fund. The first sponsorship was a lithograph printing machine to Ale School of Fine Arts & Design of the Addis Ababa University, and currently the fund is being used to landscape the school to provide pleasant surroundings to inspire students.
“Beyond this glamour and the impressive paintings, and besides benefiting the artists themselves, this event also provides support to art schools through the initiatives of the Sheraton Addis. So it is not just about putting on a show, we are also carrying out support that will help expand and grow the arts scene in the country,” Lulseged said.
Overall, 50 have showcased their work at the exhibition of which 33 are young and up and coming artists. “I understand that it is important to support and give the chance to new artists but the way I see it, It would have been better if we (experienced artists) had a separate platform, said Adiskidan Ambaye, who was one of the artists the featured their work and who sold one of her paintings for 55,000 birr.
As in previous years, over 400 Ethiopian artists submitted their application for consideration in the 2016 show and their applications were reviewed by a selection panel as part of the acceptance process. This ensures that only the ‘best of the best’ local works are displayed and viewed by the thousands of visitors who annually pass through the four day event in the Lalibela ballroom, according to organizers.