Selected works by Ephrem Solomon

Ephrem Solomon
Political Game 3

2012

Woodcut and mixed media

85 x 86 cm

The social and political tensions that underline Solomon’s explorations of Ethiopia’s tensions are not overt. Regional instabilities rooted in inherited hierarchies could well be their concern, or might it be the swelling religious tensions that continue to pressurise rural communities. In Solomon’s gentle woodcuts, the ambiguity of location, which is often flattened, neutralised and nondescript, reveals nothing except the artist’s apparent refusal to illustrate or oversimplify the complexity of his environment. Upheaval and displacement play a significant role in the highly polarised rhetoric of Ethiopian politics, especially in the behaviours and mobilisations under ethnic federalism. Seemingly conflicting interests of traditional hierarchies, divided by generational and gender lines, have lead to systematic oppressions and inequalities based on historic ethnic affinities.

Ephrem Solomon
The Two Gamblers

2013

Woodcut and mixed media

62 x 62 cm

Plain, chequered and patchwork surfaces form the backgrounds for his signature slipper (The Political Game, 2013) and chairs (Untitled 2, 2013), which refer to the ways and manners of Ethiopian society. Here, the underutilised object becomes an allegory for the unfulfilled lives of the citizens who appear to be doing nothing more than waiting. In Solomon’s woodcuts the isolation of the human figure and his or her surroundings is often reflected in monochromatic tones. In his depictions of inanimate objects, the absence of the body from chairs, and the removal of feet from several pairs of slippers suggest a loss of presence. Solomon’s ‘Untitled Lives’ are local in scale, relating specifically to the city of Addis Ababa, yet they could have been produced anywhere. These observations reveal more than a political tension but rather a state of being at odds with a system beyond one’s control.

Ephrem Solomon
Untitled Life 4

2013

Woodcut and mixed media

90 x 95 cm
Ephrem Solomon
Untitled 2

2013

Woodcut and mixed media

74 x 74 cm
Ephrem Solomon
Untitled 2

2013

Woodcut and mixed media

85 x 90 cm

© Osei Bonsu, 2014

Ephrem Solomon
Dignity of the Lady

2013

Woodcut and mixed media

90 x 95 cm

Ephrem Solomon portrays the distance between the governing and the governed, fleshing out tender subjects whose lives are marked by a lack of political agency and meaning. Solomon’s mixed media layering of human experience in his native Ethiopia are descriptive images of everyday life, that which is neither extraordinary nor uncommon. However, these seemingly mundane objects such as the artists’ signature chair and slippers are in fact catalysts in the elaboration of a broader political story. Unpacking the artist’s anecdotal imaginings, the emergence and reemergence of Solomon’s ‘Untitled’ characters, solemn-looking men and women, allude to the negotiation of will in the face of immobility and oppression. Suddenly, the chairs, slippers, and paper clippings become the characters of a personal narrative, recurring in meaningful ways as if torn from the pages of the artist’s own diary.

Ephrem Solomon
Untitled

2013

Woodcut and mixed media

90 x 95 cm
Ephrem Solomon
Unknown Life

2013

Woodcut and mixed media

85 x 90 cm
Ephrem Solomon
The Unknown Lady

2013

Woodcut and mixed media

90 x 95 cm
Ephrem Solomon
The Two Sorrow Faces

2013

Woodcut and mixed media

90 x 95 cm
Ephrem Solomon
Gamnler 5

2012

Woodcut and mixed media

59 x 64 cm
Ephrem Solomon
Untitled (Portrait Series)

2013

Woodcut and mixed media

32 x 32 cm
Ephrem Solomon
Untitled (Portrait Series)

2013

Woodcut and mixed media

32 x 32 cm
Ephrem Solomon
Untitled (Portrait Series)

2013

Woodcut and mixed media

32 x 32 cm

Ephrem Solomon's Biography

Ephrem Solomon
Born in 1983, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Lives and works in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia



SOLO EXHIBITIONS


2016
LIFE VS TIME, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London

2014
Untitled Life - Tiwani Contemporary, London, UK

2012
Le Rustique Exhibition - Nairobi, Kenya


GROUP EXHIBITIONS


2017
NGV Triennial, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (Forthcoming)
VOLTA 13, Basel
A Painting Today, Stevenson, Cape Town

2016
What about Africa?, Witteveen Visual Art Centre, Amsterdam

2015
Nine Artists, Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town
Art 15, Circle Art Agency, London
Concerning the Internal, Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi
Cape Town Art Fair, Circle Art Agency, Cape Town
Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America II, Saatchi Gallery, London

2014
Art of Ethiopia, Sheraton Hotel, Addis Ababa
Modern and Contemporary East African Art Auction, Circle Art Agency, Nairobi
In and Out Life Stories, GraceFruit, Alliance Francaise, Dar es Salaam
Pop Up: East African Encounters, Circle Art Agency, Nairobi
PAPER, Circle Art Agency, Nairobi
1.2.3.4.5 Years Best G

2013
Modern and Contemporary East African Art – Auction,
Circle Art Agency, Nairobi, Kenya.
6th Edition - East Africa Art Biennale, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Art of Ethiopia - Sheraton Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
African Aesthetics - Addis Ababa University Institute of Ethiopian Studies Museum (Addis Ababa Ethiopia)
Contemporary African Art and its Caricature -IchonoYakata Gallery Yokohama City University, Japan.
Chewata, The Game of Life - Italian Culture Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

2012
Swahili Beach Art Gallery, Mombasa, Kenya.
Sanaa Ya Makaratasi African Paper Art-Process, Substance & Environment - Nairobi National Museum, Nairobi, Kenya.

2011
Diani Beach Art Gallery - Mombasa, Kenya.
NETSA Art village Group art show, Ethiopia.
DUCTAC – Dubai community Theatre and arts centre, Dubai.
Elsamere Conservation Centre C/O Kuona Arts Trust, Nairobi.
Fana Wogi Modern Art Museum / Gebre Kirstos Desta Center, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

2010
2nd International Biennial of painters and sculptor - Croatia

2009
Entoto TVET College - Ethiopia

2006
Nairobi Goethe-institute - Kenya.
Nairobi Alliance Francaise - Kenya

2004
Addis Ababa City Hale, Ethiopia.

2002
Russian Centre for Science & Culture, Ethiopia