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A Spotlight on Ethiopian Art - Cromwell Place speaks to Rakeb Sile, Co-Founder of Addis Fine Arts - On view at Cromwell Place from 3-13 December.

by Wilfred Kenneth

Addis Fine Art's latest exhibition, Tadesse Mesfin, Pilars of Life, is on view at Cromwell Place from 3-13 December. Photography from Lucy Emms.


Cromwell Place speaks to Rakeb Sile, Co-Founder of Addis Fine Art about the enduring modernist influence on artists practicing in Ethiopia.

Over the last decade Ethiopian artists have become more widely recognised by the global art market. Despite being historically overlooked, the country has a thriving art market – especially in the capital, Addis Ababa. Still, those working within the Ethiopian art market would be the first to admit that it hasn’t always been that way. 

When we launched, there was a distinct lack of Ethiopian art spaces – especially ones which actively engage with the wider international contemporary art world,” says Rakeb Sile, who co-founded the capital’s Addis Fine Art gallery alongside Mesai Haileleul in 2016. “After three years of art consulting, we decided to open a gallery emerging from a local space in the heart of Ethiopia's capital.”

The idea behind Addis was simple – to provide a platform for contemporary artists from Ethiopia and its diasporas. Now in their fourth year and working across both Addis Ababa and London, the pioneering gallery is an important voice not only in Ethiopian art but in art from the wider region, as well as the Ethiopian diaspora worldwide.

“I consider Addis Fine Art to be a regional specialist, where collectors can explore the diverse artistic practices from Ethiopia, and eventually the wider Horn of Africa region, in depth,” Rakeb explains. There’s no-one better to shed some light on Ethiopian art from a collector perspective – including everything from its historical groundings to the modernist-influenced practices which set the region’s art apart right now.

Rakeb Sile, Co-Founder of Addis Fine Art. Photography by Bandele Zuberi.



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