Discussion with the visual artist Abiy Eshete

Art Kelen
3 min readNov 27, 2020


Could you introduce yourself?

My name is Abiy Eshete and I am 37. I was born in Oromiya Region, Ethiopia. I started painting when I was in elementary school. The training that I took for four years at Oromiya Culture and Tourism Institute helped me a lot to find myself and develop my skills by far.

I also have B.A from Addis Ababa University in Art. I live in Addis Ababa. At this time, I am a full time artist and organize different art exhibitions in my country and abroad.

Can you talk about your work? your inspiration?

My work basically focuses on the interaction of man with his surroundings. Since I am fascinated by the city’s unity in diversity, I try hard to describe the strong ties of man with his society in his everyday life.

My inspiration stresses the daily lives of ordinary people, the loves and sorrows, violence against the government and oneself challenges and celebrations. I focus on religious umbrella colour combination and colour attribution. Besides, I am also focused on African masks and beauty which reveals the oneness among Africans.

Series Epiphany ceremony

What is your process of creating?

The technique I apply on my works is collage. I merge different photographs with paint and create my work. Every single day, I take pictures from different angles. Then, I cut the pictures as needed and paste them on the canvas. By doing so, I apply my skill to paint on the canvas mixing with the pieces of the pictures.

How is the art scene in Ethiopia?

Art has been showing a great improvement and getting much attention in my country. Recently, four art institutions have been opened and young people got the opportunity to study art. In addition to this, the number of art lovers is increasing time to time.

Series Epiphany ceremony

Where can we find your artwork?

I have a medium size gallery in Best Western Hotel in the capital Addis, the YAA art gallery. In this gallery, different artists display their works to reach art lovers as Tesfa Solomon, Solomon Hailu , Hermela Abayenh, Henok Ayele, Sisay Teshome, Atklit Assefa …