Life Histories of Ethiopians:Remembering the Red Terror
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Esther in Ethiopia (Spring 2008)
Fall 2009 : Teatr Lul
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2008 : august 30 --
For immediate release
Anatoly Antohin, publisher
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Astewatso means Offering
This book is a product of an exhibition of Princess Wolete Israel Seyoum (1914-1988), considered one of the first female artist of 20th century Ethiopia. The year 2008, marks the twentieth anniversary of her death. This project was initiated as a commemoration of her lifework and of her spiritual and artistic contribution to Ethiopian arts. A collection of 21 paintings were displayed to the public for the first time at the Gallery of the institute of Ethiopian studies, Addis Ababa University on April 14, 2008. From this occasion sprung the idea to publish a catalog of her work, as well as a biography of this remarkable woman, in an effort to preserve and share her vision. A brief summary of this book follows.
This is the story of an extraordinary woman who lived in a world which has long disappeared. It is a rare and intimate portrayal beginning in 1914, one year after the death of Emperor Menelik and the year of her birth. The story unfolds in the span of seventy four years ending in 1988, amidst the turbulent period, the latter years of the Ethiopian revolution and military dictatorship of the Derg (1974 – 1991).
The reader enters a fascinating world of personages and significant events in Imperial Ethiopia. It is a story of a pioneer; as she is celebrated as one of the first women artist in Ethiopia. She dared to cultivate her God given talent during a time when such a vocation was neither encouraged nor appreciated. She fully devoted her art as a form of worship and for the purpose of her spiritual fulfillment. It is a powerful story of a woman and her unwavering struggle to live a life of purpose. Born into the aristocracy, she lived through two arranged marriages; endured countless personal tragedies including the death of her only daughter. In the end, her spirit soars . . .it is the power of her love and the awe-inspiring dedication that overrides all. Princess Wolete Israel is a remarkable model and truly a triumphant figure.
On the occasion of the twentieth year of her death, this book pays tribute to her remarkable contribution as an accomplished artist and an inspirational figure. It includes a catalog of the artist's collection of paintings. Told from a granddaughter's perspective, and based on accounts from close family members, this work attempts to reconstruct the personal life of Princess Wolete Israel Seyoum some thirty years later.
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