Painting Ethiopia heftetEngelsk, 2005


Schooled in the fifteen-hundred-year-old painting tradition of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and ever sensitive to its narrative and iconographic requirements, Ethiopian artist Qes Adamu Tesfaw has managed to transcend the formulas that tradition requires him to embrace. By giving up the priesthood and turning to painting full-time, the artist has also found the freedom to venture outside the realm of religious subject matter to produce work that chronicles historical events both inside and outside Ethiopia, as well as scenes that depict the everyday life of his native country. Adamu's remarkable oeuvre includes saints on horseback, soldiers gathered in historic battles, Solomon and Sheba's courtship, and Ethiopians attending church or praying at mosques.