Aklilu Temesgen, Speaking lines-2, 2021. Mixed Media – Acrylic on Wood, 50×31 Inches
I use Ethiopian traditional ‘Telsem’ art as an inspiration. I also use people’s portraits and masks together with different forms to represent identities of people. It communicates with a question to bring answer of the identity crises. I combine portraits of the African people to bring question that answers the question of identity. Using different types of portraits of people with a variety of African heritage and patters I depict how complex people’s identity is because everything is under twined each other as there is no such fine line.
Aklilu Temesgen (Born in 1980, Ethiopia), is a contemporary visual artist, who researches on African visual art, art education and globalization. Based in Silver Spring, MD, USA. BA in painting, School of Fine Arts and Design, Addis Ababa University 2004. MA in African Studies, Addis Ababa University 2014. MA in Culture Media and Society, Lancaster University 2016. Aklilu’s recent abstract paintings create a vibrant deep rhyme in decorative narrative representation of African indigenous wisdom, culture and traditions by combining the East and West African art. Aklilu uses Ethiopian ‘Telsem’ and ‘Kitab’ art as ongoing experiment and exploration. His strong play of pattern, color, and expressive form is a result of his on-going exploration of the traditional abstract style found within African culture which interprets to his visual language. His interpretation of contemporary African life creates a harmonious aesthetic which is characterized by a vibrancy of color and movement. Aklilu Temesgen has exhibited his work and participated in several artist workshops consistently both locally and internationally including Ethiopia, Djibouti, Sudan, Zambia, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Kenya, Poland, and the United States. Aklilu is a cultural activist who visually researches on culture, social and political issues of Ethiopia as well as Africa. He is one of the founders of the Ethiopian Visual Artist’s Association (EVAA).