We are excited to be starting a blog post series exploring the incredibly diverse and colourful art from Africa!
Let’s dive in! The first country we’re looking at is . . .
The continent of Africa holds a deeply varied set of cultures. Ethiopia is one of its largest countries, found near the Eastern tip. The famous river Nile extends into the region.
The nation’s vibrant heritage is woven from pride and independence, cultivated from overcoming recurring times of political and social strife, particularly its defiance to being colonised by European countries.
The history of Ethiopian Art
In the late seventies, Ethiopia suffered widespread genocide and poverty at the hands of their Communist government. The period was dubbed ‘The Red Terror’. After a famine during the following decade, the nineties began with a fresh, open-minded democracy in power. In response to this new era, citizens felt freer to express their creativity in radical ways, prompting the birth of Modern expressionism and other art styles like realism.
Ethiopia’s art draws inspiration from its religious roots: Orthodox Christianity. Strong, primary colours form the main colours in both traditional and contemporary art. Traditional art focuses on the everyday activities of the Ethiopian people, using artforms such as woven baskets, paintings, sculptures, textiles, and jewellery.
Modern Ethiopian Art
Nowadays, Ethiopia’s economy is growing rapidly, thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of its expanding middle class. One of the most exciting recent developments in Ethiopia’s art scene is the Zoma Museum, which showcases traditional architectural practices as well as modern, eco-focused art. A pioneering hub of education and sustainability, it houses a gallery, garden, school, library and more!
Well known Ethiopian artists include the twentieth century creative Alle Felegeselam, who founded the country’s oldest art school, Alle School of Fine Arts and Design. Other notable individuals include Gebre Kristos Desta, Afewerk Tekle, Alexander Boghossian, Kidist Hailu Degaffe, Julie Mehretu and award-winning photographer Aida Muluneh.
Create your own Ethiopian Art
Inspired to make your own? To help you start collecting the right materials for your designs, we’ve listed SFXC products that have the primary colours used in Ethiopian art and the main colours of Ethiopia’s flag.
Our neon Fluorescent screen printing ink honours the bright resilience of this great nation. We stock Red, Yellow, Blue and Green colours.Thermochromic Colour Switch Ink Trial Pack contains three Ethiopian colours: Blue, Green, Orange, and Yellow. These inks change from one colour to another when heated. Blue Photochromic Plastisol Screen Printing Ink? When exposed to UV light, this ink turns blue! Perfect for applying to fabrics and textiles.
Next is our gorgeous, vivid, earthy Oxide pigments, another nod to Ethiopia’s art and natural landscape.
What type of Ethiopian art would you love create?