Daniela Yohannes « THE FALL: A Woman’s Descent into the Unconscious »

Addis Fine Art Project Space, London, United Kingdom
28 Jun 2019 - 20 Jul 2019

Daniela Yohannes,

Daniela Yohannes, "Dark Matter, Deeper Into The Abyss", 2019

Addis Fine Art presents, The Fall: A Woman’s Descent into the Unconscious, Daniela Yohannes’ first solo exhibition with the gallery. The show will take place at the Addis Fine Art Project Space in London, opening on Thursday 27 May from 6 – 9 PM, and on view from 28 June – 14 July 2019, Tues – Sun 12 – 6 PM.

Daniela Yohannes’ rich and layered works are full of complex narratives and symbolism. They transport the viewer to an alternative universe where life and human nature are in a constant dialogue in search of a better world. The dark, unclothed figures, stripped of their social context, are juxtaposed against the black and richly coloured backgrounds hinting at the possibilities of an alternative universe. The artist invites the viewer to question not only the identity and social context of the painted figures, but also their own identity and position in society, re-imagine the predetermined terms of their existence.

Yohannes’ works are at once a personal journey through the discovery of identity, and a journey in redefining the politics of race. “The Fall: A Black Woman’s Descent into the Unconscious” also explores the emotional power of the artist’s dreams and unconscious. Dreams are a fascination for her. Their emotional power drawing her to investigate their metaphors and language. They are a way to confront and embrace the riches of emotions – from fears and anxiety to desire and euphoria. At the same time, the series is an examination of the artist’s experience as a black woman.

Yohannes states, “I uncovered elements of deep precarity and pain, as well as of radiant strength and beauty. The lone black female figure falling is therefore a representation of these many states of existence: as woman; as black woman; as immigrant/alien when met with that gaze of antipathy. Lived experiences are contributing factors to mental and physical wellbeing, yet not the culmination of the story. And so, whilst her fall is symbolic of multiple sites of systemic oppression; political, societal, religious, economic; during her internal and external descent though these layers of colour and hostility, she remains graceful and whole in herself: a mirror to the dignity and endurance of the black female.” At the heart of the work, Yohannes is creating a world where she can find solace and joy, one where her words and actions matter and are valued; her appearance and experience have a place; a world of tolerance and kindness, a personal utopia. “The Fall is fundamentally a human journey; my personal prism to untangle universal truths of being”.

Daniela Yohannes, born in 1982 to Ethiopian and Eritrean parents, was raised in London and currently lives in the Caribbean. Her journey as an artist has been unconventional, trained as an illustrator her path meandered through disciplines before leading her to her current place of focus and purpose. Since moving to the Caribbean two years ago, her surroundings have found their way into her creations as much spiritually as aesthetically. She describes her inspiration as that of the invisible; the forces and concepts that drive and surround us: unseen but constantly at work on our bodies and minds. Her paintings are witness to the expression of nature; explorations of the intimate experiences that are shared only with the elements: earth, air, water, magic. She confronts themes of consciousness and ancestry, the ethereal nature of the cosmos and plurality of the individual.


About Addis Fine Art

Founded by Rakeb Sile and Mesai Haileleul, Addis Fine Art is a pioneering gallery based in Addis Ababa and London. The very first local space and international platform based in Ethiopia and listed as one of the most important galleries in the world (Artsy, 2019), the gallery focuses on highlighting modern and contemporary fine art from the Horn of Africa and its diasporas. January 2016 saw the opening of the gallery’s main space in the heart of Addis Ababa, launching its innovative program of exhibitions, talks and events, showing a diverse set of modern and contemporary artists. In October 2016, the AFA Project Space was opened in London, to provide an additional international platform to the gallery’s program. Soon, the London program will move to Cromwell Place, a first-of-its-kind exhibition space in Kensington, London. Addis Fine Art has quickly become one of the leading international galleries from Africa, facilitating critical engagement with the local and mainstream art markets, championing an underrepresented yet rich space in modern and contemporary fine art.