Ethiopia is home to some of the fastest rates of development in the world and a changing political landscape. Two young local artists, Girma Berta (b. 1990) and Eyerusalem Jirenga (b. 1993) aim to tell its story through their photography. They represent the new voices in contemporary Ethiopian photography, pushing the boundaries of the medium and questioning the definitions of documentary photography. Their works have been exhibited internationally and selected to adorn Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s new public and private offices.
Eyerusalem Jirenga (b.1993) is an exciting emerging artist and fashion designer based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Shot in the walled city of Harar, her series The City of Saints documents a living history. Informed by her experience in design, Jirenga specializes in evocatively bright and discerning portraits, enliven with distinctive and striking colour detail. Her use of rich textures and colours plays against the crisp focus of her photographs, enhancing their warm, visually stimulating effect.
Girma Berta (b.1990) is an award-winning photographer whose work fuses street photography with fine art. In his Moving Shadows series, solitary figures are juxtaposed against vibrant backgrounds, creating truly unique artworks, which exemplify the contrasting colours and personalities on the streets of his hometown. As one of the first photographers to travel to Eritrea once the blockage was lifted in June 2018, his new Asmara series documents Eritrea’s capital frozen in time. Berta, who is self-taught, uses a combination of street photography and graphic design to create images of passers-by with a painterly quality. Berta’s use of digital media, to produce and present his artworks, is in itself a commentary on the digital revolution underway across Africa. He represents the vibrancy of the millennial African.
Addis Fine Art is pleased to announce, From Our Perspective: Young Ethiopian Photographers Changing the Gaze, a dual exhibition by dynamic young photographers Girma Berta and Eyerusalem Jiregna at Addis Fine Art Gallery in Addis Ababa, from 9 April – 25 May 2019.