Tariku Shiferaw: Erase Me

Addis Fine Art Project Space, London, United Kingdom
17 Sep 2017 - 08 Oct 2017

Tariku Shiferaw, installation shot, courtesy of Addis Fine Art

Tariku Shiferaw, installation shot, courtesy of Addis Fine Art

Addis Fine Art presents Erase Me, a solo exhibition of recent works by emerging Ethiopian-American artist, Tariku Shiferaw (b.1983), at its new project space in London.

Erase Me is an exhibition of Shiferaw’s current body of work titled “One of These Black Boys” which interrogates the concept of mark-making both physically and metaphysically. Using titles of songs from Hip-Hop, R&B, Jazz, Blues, and Reggae music, these paintings embody both the experiences and struggles expressed through music by Black artists. The topics range from expressions of being black bodies in a white social construct to expressions of romance and sex. In appropriating song titles as painting titles, the work automatically inherits the references, identities, and the history portrayed through the songs. For Instance, “If I Rule The World” is a song-title used as a title of a painting. It is a 1996 song by Nas featuring Lauryn Hill, where Nas re-imagines a world different from the unjust one he lives in. Every song used to title paintings tells a story that refers to a certain reality. The work becomes a reference of a reference, much like a signifier to another symbol. This creates repetitive patterns both aesthetically and conceptually. Subtle, yet intricate works that overtake a space with authority, these paintings are placeholders for Black bodies, creating a literal way of being “seen” in a society that does not often see the “other.” These works are in some way as minimal and subtle as Ad Reinhardt’s black paintings, where he exhibited large black paintings with slight variations in luminosity between grades of black paint. “One of These Black Boys” creates an overwhelmingly immersive experience without losing the qualities of the little moments of subtlety.


Tariku Shiferaw (b.1983) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is a Brooklyn based artist whose work deals with mark-making in ways that addresses both the physical and the metaphysical spaces of painting and societal structures. At the age of nine, he moved to Nairobi, Kenya with his family and shortly after immigrated to the U.S. He spent the latter part of his childhood in Los Angeles, California. He studied for his bachelors in Fine Arts (BFA) at the University of Southern California (USC) in 2007 and later attained his MFA at Parsons The New School for Design in 2015. Shiferaw has exhibited throughout New York and Los Angeles.Recent exhibitions include The 2017 Whitney Biennial as part of Occupy Museums’ Debtfair project (New York, 2017); Hard Cry, Lubov (New York, 2017); Life Sized, Anthony Philip Fine Art (Brooklyn, 2016); Introduction 2016, Trestle Gallery (Brooklyn, 2016); The LA Art Show, Werd Gallery (Los Angeles, 2016); ATAVAST, Roomservice/Standard Practice (Brooklyn, 2015); New Work New York, 1st MFA Biennial Presented by St. Nicks Alliance & Arts@Renaissance (Brooklyn, 2015).

Founded by Mesai Haileleul and Rakeb Sile, Addis Fine Art is a gallery specialising in contemporary African Art, with particular focus on art from Ethiopia and its diaspora. In January 2016, Addis Fine Art opened its main gallery space in the heart of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, launching an innovative programme of exhibitions, talks and events, showing a diverse set of modern and contemporary artists from Ethiopia. In 2017, the AFA Project Space was opened in London, to provide an additional international platform to the gallery’s programme.

Erase me is the first exhibition to take place in Addis Fine Art’s new project space in London, UK.

Opening Reception:14 September 6-8pm
Artists Talk with Sharon Obuobi: 16 September 2-4pm


Addis Fine Art Project Space
Tafeta, 47 – 50 Margaret Street
London, W1W 8SB, UK




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