Born in 1983 in Addis Ababa, Ephrem Solomon is a contemporary artist from Ethiopia who uses woodcutting and mixed media in his artwork. Solomon takes inspiration on social economic portraits of his environment. We wanted to share his artwork as well as some of the thoughts of on his work and motivation.

Forbidden Fruit 6 ©Ephrem Solomon
Forbidden Fruit 6 ©Ephrem Solomon

I am inspired by sociopolitical feelings concerning human and natural life. I believe any life composed of two colors that are black and white. Sometimes I paint on themes that reflect on my personal life experiences, things that happened to me in the past and my future vision. Painting to me is like writing my diary. Sometimes I paint on themes that reflects my personal life experiences, things that happened to me in the past and my future vision. I have often felt torn between what feels like a number of driving personalities.

Ephrem Solomon, Interview with Hip Hop Kambi

©Ephrem Solomon
©Ephrem Solomon
Black, white and red| 2014|©Ephrem Solomon
Black, white and red| 2014|©Ephrem Solomon
©Ephrem Solomon
©Ephrem Solomon
Wright and left face| Wood cut, Engraving paint and mixed media | 2014 ©Ephrem Solomon
Wright and left face| Wood cut, Engraving paint and mixed media | 2014 ©Ephrem Solomon

“In a world where newness has become a value in and of itself, I am more moved by the compliment that what I am doing technically feels like something from the past, while embodying something that is currently relevant”.

Ephrem Solomon, Addis Rumble

©Ephrem Solomon
©Ephrem Solomon

Sometimes I feel a strong need to make paintings that are unapologetically descriptive of what is immediately around me: Views of the city, the people I know, familiar hallways and spaces, or elements of nature that appeal to me. Other times, my work depicts a different kind of reality; one that is highly fictitious and free of the limitations of the ‘truthful’ recording of my own experiences. In these paintings, motivations might come from outside my surroundings. People, places, and objects, becoming reflect deeper political and personal narratives.

Ephrem Solomon, Interview with Hip Hop Kam

Forbidden Fruit ©Ephrem Solomon
Forbidden Fruit ©Ephrem Solomon
©Ephrem Solomon
©Ephrem Solomon
©Ephrem Solomon
©Ephrem Solomon
©Ephrem Solomon
©Ephrem Solomon

My works portrays the distance between what the governed people need and want and what the response is from the governors. I have tried to picture, as precisely as possible, the actual and innocent feeling of the governed.

 

Dignity of the Lady ©Ephrem Solomon
Dignity of the Lady ©Ephrem Solomon
©Ephrem Solomon
©Ephrem Solomon

I have often used slippers and chairs to reflect stories of fragments of society that are often marginalized or voiceless. In this essence, to challenges of the everyday person who is juxtaposed between the past and the future.

ephrem17

The Two Sorrow Faces ©Ephrem Solomon
The Two Sorrow Faces ©Ephrem Solomon
The Two Gamblers ©Ephrem Solomon
The Two Gamblers ©Ephrem Solomon

I choose black and white colors to describe some idea of life. I use a chair to express the past, present and future deputation. I also use slippers to represent the society. Both chairs and slippers depict our residence. We often do not see the presence and equality of those chairs and slippers in our home. I also question their legality. Those chairs and slippers main problem are how they perceive power and their enormous number.

Ephrem Solomon, Interview with Hip Hop Kam

Political Game 3 © Ephrem Solomon
Political Game 3 © Ephrem Solomon