Collection: Seyoum Ayalew

Seyoum Ayalew, one of Ethiopia's great influential artists was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1968. He studied at Beyene Mereed elementary school and his high school at Tikur Anbessa high school. In 1981 he joined Addis Ababa University arts and Design faculty, where he studied for four years and graduated in Mural Arts. After Seyoum's graduation he stayed in Dessie, Ethiopia where he worked to promote art and produce heir artists. As a result of his commitment to training young people, he produced many young artists. Some of his students are currently teaching art at Addis Ababa University Arts and Sculpture faculty. 

Besides his arts profession he has worked for ten years with governmental and private organizations. Seyoum has participated in exhibitions in various Ethiopian venues, including; the Venezuelan Embassy, Alliance Ethio-Francis, Lafto Gallery, Work Economic Forum, African Union, Makush Art Gallery, Serenade Art Gallery, and the Sheraton Addis Hotel / Art of Ethiopia exhibition. He has also shown his work abroad in exhibitions in Ireland, Bulgaria, Nigeria, Djibouti and the USA. 

Seyoum illuminates the relationship between light and shadow by contrasting the warmth and power of light through hot and cool colors with cool and hot colors in his pieces. He works towards resolving conflict and tension between these themes through the use of color and emotions. He explains that his attraction to these themes of conflict and resolution result from his experiences of theatrical courses when he was younger. 

In recent times, he has begun to concentrate on Tej House scenes, and the dramatic characters that frequent them and the expressions of happiness and sorrow that hang from their faces. Seyoum is stimulated by the human impact of modernity and its demolition of older buildings and poor settlements and communities in Ethiopia. 

"The destruction and uprooting of the old and the poor in Addis Ababa reminds me of the former Soviet Union and the Cossack people by the elitist Russians. I want to capture by way of sketched portraits the expressions of the poor in Addis for posterity. The Tej House is a gravitational center for the disenfranchised and disposed. As an artist I want my sketches to contribute to our social history" says Seyoum. 

Seyoum played a major role in establishing the first Ethiopian Visual Artists association and is currently serving its president. 

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