"Beauty and Courage is a commemoration of a dying tradition – the practice of scarification that’s common to many African cultures, including to Yohannes’s native country of Ethiopia. This form of body-modification has fascinated the artist for many years. He has admired the various marks he has seen both for their aesthetic quality but also for what they symbolize. This ancient cultural activity also has a functional quality in that it transmits complex messages about identity and social status. Permanent body markings emphasize fixed social, political and religious roles and are used to indicate rites of passages. This work is an exploration and celebration of this custom. The surface of the painting is textured with a pattern of “scars” reminiscent of the body decorations. For Tesfaye this practice whereby a gash is made in the skin using a sharp instrument and the raised scars the cuts leave behind represent both beauty and courage. It is a long and painful process which demonstrates the wearer's bravado. Now it is a tradition that is gradually beginning to disappear and being abandoned for reasons both valid and obvious but also some less honorable such as Westernization and Yohannes felt strongly about immortalizing it in this painting and several others." ~ Yohannes Tesfaye
Yohannes Tesfaye was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1978. He studied painting for four years at AlleSchool of Fine Arts and Design at Addis Ababa University, graduating in 2001 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. After graduation, he traveled to Moscow for training at Surikov Art Institute. Upon returning from Russia, he became a workshop instructor at Addis Ababa University. His work experience is diverse – from creating illustrations for children’s books at Macmillan Publishers, to restoration of wall frescoes for Addis Ababa Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Before he left Ethiopia in 2005, Yohannes regularly participated in both regional and international solo and group shows. Since arriving in the United States, Yohannes has continued to actively exhibit his art both regionally and nationally.
Yohannes Tesfaye focuses on two and three-dimensional paintings in acrylic, oil on canvas, wood, fiberglass and a variety of mixed media.
Adelman Fine Art represents Yohannes Tesfaye in San Diego, CA.
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