Addis Fine Art , Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 16 Apr 2016 - 11 Jun 2016
Leikun Nahusenay , Colours of Ethiopia: Somali II, 2014, Copyright: The Artist, Courtesy of: Addis Fine Art
Addis Fine Art gallery continues its programme with a solo exhibition of works by multidisciplinary artist Leikun Nahusenay (b.1982), featuring works in photography, painting, mixed media, and sculpture.
Process and Progression is a retrospective of Nahusenay’s work over the last 16 years. Though wide-ranging in his choice of medium, Nahusenay’s exploration of the Himeme Siqlet, a sacred Ethiopian Orthodox text, is what grounds his seemingly disparate pieces together, through its evocation of the world’s opposing forces (light, dark; flesh, spirit; good, evil) and the futility of their reconciliation.
Using the checkerboard motif that appears throughout his work, Nahusenay probes the Biblical passage, which illustrates the drunken gambling and revelry that took place underneath the cross during the Crucifixion. Using rows upon rows of black and white squares and etchings, he takes this meditation to a more secular context, as the alternating squares sinuously trace the calm repose of a woman seated behind a café table, clasping her mobile phone.
In his photography, the use of double exposure, collage, and scratch-and-peel methods allows Nahusenay to create irreproducible, dreamlike worlds in which the spiritual ostensibly strains against, and spills into, the physical. The ghostlike rendering of a busy street scene hollows out the solid but battered exterior of a green and yellow public bus, in turn allowing us a glimpse into its inner function. A colorful market scene curdles and coagulates—its participants juxtaposed against the raw grains they will soon consume.
Nahusenay’s fascination with life’s cyclical nature, and its expression in physical spaces, is evident throughout the collection. Informed by the simple yet layered, circular structure of a traditional hut, Gojo Bet (2000) one of his earliest works, features interposed cardboard shapes, each of various textures, sizes, and shades of taupe, suggesting movement, and a certain playfulness of perspective. This playfulness seeps into other pieces where Nahusenay quite literally offers us a window into a dark, tenuous landscape, albeit through the protective shield of a woman’s shawl.
About Leikun Nahusenay
Leikun Nahusenay was born in 1982 in Addis Ababa. While primarily identifying himself as a self-taught artist, he nonetheless completed his art degrees from the Ale School of Fine Arts (2006) and Teferi Mekonnen School (2011). His multidiscipline practice is based in Addis Ababa, where he works from the Nas Gedame studio. He is also a member of the Netsa Art Village and contributes to the growing Ethiopian art scene. His work has been shown at numerous exhibitions, including Addis Calling Group Show, Addis Fine Art (2016), Flying Spoons sculptural exhibition at Asni Gallery in Addis Ababa (2015), Draw Me A Castle, Alliance Ethio-Française, Addis Ababa and Paris (2011), Future Makers international group photo exhibition at the National Museum of Ethiopia and Goethe Institute (2012) and The Fine Line Between, Lela Gallery (2008). Recent solo exhibitions include Child Art 1, Lela Gallery, Addis Ababa (2011), Cartoon Relief Sculpture at Grazmach Tasse Cultural Centre and Trinity at Alliance Ethio-Française, Addis Ababa (2009). He took part in the fourth annual Photographer’s Portfolio meeting at the Bamako Encounters Biennale.
Founded by Mesai Haileleul and Rakeb Sile, the Addis Fine Art gallery addresses the limited number of international art enterprises in Ethiopia, as the country experiences resurgence in artistic expression and appreciation. The partners bring a high level of expertise to this establishment. With over 20 years of local and international experience between them, the new gallery is well positioned to promote the work of an impressive roster of artists both in Ethiopia and abroad. Located in the heart of Addis Ababa, Addis Fine Art will be a hub for an innovative arts programming, including: exhibitions, lectures, and events showcasing modern and contemporary artists from Ethiopia and the Diaspora.