Traditional Ethiopian Paintings and Folk Art
There are two styles in traditional Ethiopian paintings. The first group includes artists who use the style found in old religious paintings in churches, manuscripts, or icons. These paintings always include religious themes or stories from the bible or from the Kebre Negist, an addendum to the bible used in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Some of the paintings are of a single subject while others have several panels featuring a story from the bible or Kebre Negist.
The second group of painting is distinguished by the bright colors, two-dimensional figures and the large eyes associated with many traditional Ethiopian paintings and folk art. These folk paintings can be of a single subject or several panels illustrating telling a folk story, historical event, or bible story. Most paintings done in this style are painted on stretched parchment.
For many years, most of the traditional paintings sold at St George Gallery came from Tadesse-Wolderegay and Priest Legessa, a well-known priest and traditional artist. Since Priest Legessa’s death a few years ago, Itsub Dink, his daughter (Ethiopian priests can marry), has carried on his work and paints in the same style as her father.
These bright paintings are some of the best examples of African folk art and are a colorful addition to any décor.
“St George Gallery has served as a springboard and catalyst for many artists’ careers.” - Addis Tribune