HeberTizta Berhanu: Heber

Addis Fine Art
21 Jan 2021 - 13 Feb 2021

HeberTizta Berhanu: Heber

Addis Fine Art presents Heber, the debut solo exhibition by Ethiopian painter Tizta Berhanu, on view on Vortic until 13 February 2021. Heber, meaning union, will showcase new works by the artist.

Trained as a figurative painter at the Alle School of Fine Art and Design in Addis Ababa, Tizta uses oil paintings to interrogate every facet of human emotions. From moments of melancholy to elation, the full litany of our emotional life is on display. The protagonists in Tizta’s canvases can be found seeking comfort in the bosom of a sympathetic listener or brooding, flanked by apparently concerned loved ones. The artist captures outpourings of vulnerability, love, excitement and sadness, and immortalises them in powerful images.

Painted with expressive, swirling brush strokes, the paintings have a dreamlike air. Colours absorb the figures, with only their lips, weighted eyelids, and reassuring outstretched hands clearly defined. The entangled nature of Tizta’s compositions alludes to the importance of community, in providing support for one another, an essential trait in Ethiopian culture. Tizta’s bold use of colours provides each painting with its own distinctive emotional tone; her luminescent red paintings, for instance, conjure images of love and passion, whilst the oceanic blue works convey a sense of despondency.

The scenes depicting affection, intimacy and closeness are hallmarks of Tizta’s work, which take on a particular poignancy in our new context of social distancing, increasing polarisation and conflicts between communities. The paintings in this show evoke a certain nostalgia for the times when expressing our emotions physically and supporting each other with care was the norm – and remind us of the importance of such acts.