[PhotoSparks] ‘Paint your own destiny’ - Selamawit Alene


PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In this photo essay, we feature some of the brilliant creativity from the art galleries of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia!

In the earlier 95 posts, we brought you a wide range of creative photographs from an art fair, world music festival, painting fair, telecom expo, art museum, mobile showcase, math museum, social hackathon, bookstore, co-working space, sensorium, international design week, flower show, outdoor ads, startup roadshow, computer museum, startup T-shirts, business cards, art therapy, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, Vesak, jazz festival, modern art gallery, ecopreneurs, painter-poets, health activists, eNGOs and digital innovators.

My travels this month brought me to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the FutureSat Africa conference and Art & Design Week. Discussions on emerging satellite data services and creative business models alternated with exhibits at local art galleries and the Hub of Africa Fashion Week.

Saba Alene opened Ethiopia’s first art gallery, St. George Gallery, in 1990; she won the WIPO Gold Medal in 2005. Her sister Selamawit Alene manages the Addis gallery, which also has a branch now in Washington DC. The art reflects Ethiopia’s rich culture and heritage, ranging from handicrafts and fabrics to design and music.

Here are some samples of the contemporary and traditional art work at the St. George Gallery and other exhibitions spaces in Addis. Featured artists include Fasil Assefa, Teshome Bekele, Addis Gezehagn, Mezgebu Tesema, Ousman Hassen, and Seyoum Ayalew.

In a chat at the gallery, Selamawit explained that the artistic movement in Ethiopia is growing from strength to strength. “Paint your own destiny,” she advises. She urges members of the creative community to focus not just on admiring and emulating established stars, but to strike out on their own and find their own styles. Fitting advice indeed, for artists as well as entrepreneurs!

Got a creative photograph to share? Email us at PhotoSparks@YourStory.com!

See also the YourStory pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups,’ accessible as apps for Apple and Android devices.