Chairs, Slippers and Contemporary Ethiopia: The Work of Ephrem Solomon

 

 

Ephrem Solomon: Grow Chair, 2013 Wood cut and mixed media  Size: 73cmx73cm

Ephrem Solomon: Grow Chair, 2013
Wood cut and mixed media
Size: 73cm x 73cm

Ephrem Solomon: The Black Beauty Wood cut and mixed media Size: 24cm x 24cm

Ephrem Solomon: The Black Beauty
Wood cut and mixed media
Size: 24cm x 24cm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In many ways, the work of Ethiopian artist Ephrem Solomon differs from the prevailing artistic style ones generally comes across in Ethiopia. Although his works are also two-dimensional and on canvas, a strong graphic approach makes his works stand out in the midst of the ever-dominating painting, be it figurative or abstract.

Solomon was born in Addis Ababa in 1983, and developed an interest in art early in his life. After high school he pursued this interest and obtained a diploma in fine art and graphic design in 2009. His portfolio features clear traces of an upbringing in graphic design and his works are often very descriptive and literal. He is largely occupied by the world around him; the city of Addis Ababa, its people, places, spaces and nature. Various objects such as the signature chair and slippers are incorporated as a reflection on broader political and social issues. ‘’My works portrait the distance between what the governed people needs and wants and what is the response to them from the governors, and I have tried to picture as precisely as possible the actual and innocent feeling of the governed,’’ Solomon explains.

With a limited color-scale and a somewhat minimalistic style, Solomon combines the tradition of woodcut and collage with graphic design and creates compelling contemporary artworks that balance various artistic styles, traditions and eras. “In a world where newness has become a value in and of itself, I am more moved by the compliment that what I am doing technically feels like something from the past, while embodying something that is currently relevant”. Solomon reflects on the different dimensions of society and time that he experiences in contemporary Ethiopia where modern and traditional lifestyles both clash and go hand-in-hand creating an a tense and prospective atmosphere that serves as an ideal playground for an artist.

 

Ephrem Solomon: Up and Down, 2013  Wood cut and mixed Media  Size 73cmx77cm

Ephrem Solomon: Up and Down, 2013
Wood cut and mixed Media
Size 73cmx77cm

Ephrem Solomon: Grow Chair, 2013  Wood cut and mixed media  Size 73cm x 73cm

Ephrem Solomon: Grow Chair, 2013
Wood cut and mixed media
Size 73cm x 73cm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bits and pieces of old newspaper get a new life under Solomon’s hands and are meticulously put together to form a patchwork on which his signature elements such as chairs and slippers can stand out. Asked about the functioning of the slippers and chairs, he explains: ‘’The slippers co-inhabit the ways and manners together with the existing society versus the chairs which symbolize the walk of an individual stepping onto the slipper’s journey.’’ On this backdrop, elements often perform solo installing a sense of loneliness and absence – nobody is sitting on the chairs, nor wearing the slippers, and people are always alone – and this feeling is only emphasized by the limited color-scope. According to Solomon this reflects a ”…simplicity drawn from my personal life and experience within myself and the surrounding society, simply describing in an easy going way life”. However, breaking with the simplicity, clarity and douche colors, Solomon often adds strong contrast full bright colors to focus on particular things or planes.

At once minimalistic and naïve, drawing on tradition in a contemporary scope, Solomon navigates in a vacuum of time and space, introducing viewers to elements of Ethiopian life while at once reflecting critically on the same theme. His graphic style and signature elements please the eye and provides the observer with an at once aesthetic and thought-provoking experience.

 

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For more info on Ephrem Solomon please visit his page on African Colours or click here. Solomon will exhibit at the  annual Art of Ethiopia show at Sheraton Hotel in Addis. The show opens on August 30th and closes on Semptember 2nd.

 

 

Ephrem Solomon: The Black Beauty  Size: 24cm x 24cm Wood cut/mixed media

Ephrem Solomon: The Black Beauty
Size: 24cm x 24cm
Wood cut/mixed media

 

 

Ephrem Solomon:Ephrem Solomon: Exist Chair Medium: Wood cut, engraving, collage and painting  Size: 90 x 95cm

Ephrem Solomon:Ephrem Solomon: Exist Chair
Medium: Wood cut, engraving, collage and painting
Size: 90 x 95cm

 

 

Ephrem Solomon: No Title Wood cut and mixed media  Size 73cmx73cm

Ephrem Solomon: No Title, 2013
Wood cut and mixed media
Size 73cmx73cm

 

 

Ephrem Solomon: Political Games, 2013 Wood cut and collage Size: 80cm x 80cm

Ephrem Solomon: Political Games, 2013
Wood cut and collage Size: 80cm x 80cm

 

 

Ephrem Solomon: The Unknown Lady Medium: Wood cut, engraving, collage and painting Size: 90 x 95cm

Ephrem Solomon: The Unknown Lady
Medium: Wood cut, engraving, collage and painting
Size: 90 x 95cm

 

 

Ephrem Solomon: Get up stand up  Medium: Wood cut, engraving and painting  Size: 86 x 90cm

Ephrem Solomon: Get up Stand up
Medium: Wood cut, engraving and painting
Size: 86 x 90cm

 

 



One Comment

  1. […] Ein Künstler, den zu entdecken sich lohnt. Mehr Gemälde finden sich auf der Seite “Addisrumble”: Chairs, Slippers and Contemporary Ethiopia. […]

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