Kirubel Melke | Contemporary Arts



My name is Kirubel Melke, I was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I am an artist who lives and works in Addis. I graduated from Addis Ababa University, Alle School of fine arts and design with a degree in Painting. Currently, I am a full-time studio artist. The main reason I chose this medium is to narrate my contemporary observations to my audience who share my time and to the future generation. I record the present and hope to transform tomorrow through the arts. The inspiration for my art comes from my life experiences ( daily life) and current situations. Art makes it possible for me to frame my observations.

The distance between me and my home

I am currently working on a project ( exhibition) that is supposed to happen at the Alliance Ethio-Francaise after the pandemic. My upcoming show is my second solo exhibition under the title of ” ( the distance) between me and my home.” I try to do several things for inspiration such as discuss with friends, walking, follow different media, reading…etc

Cloth and Self

As I mentioned earlier I graduated in painting, but I am now working with textiles. The cloth is part of the self. The cloth and fabrics that society is characterized by is an integral fragment of its entirety. When a society or nation manifests a certain trend in fashion; the roots and extensions of the vogue can easily be revealed. I chose to produce a collection of interesting works that combine used cloths sewn on canvas. I try to give new life and stories to each article of clothing in a way that poetically addresses society and the ever-encroaching globalization of our country. I invite, my audience to re-think assumptions about everyday clothing and materials in general.

Creative Ethiopia

There are so many kinds of challenges for an artist in Ethiopia; some challenges are like the shortage of galleries, curators, the lack of media coverage,….etc. but as a creative person, I see personal progress when artists use different social media platforms and promote their ideas and their artistic practices. I am working on experimental art. So, I’m facing these challenges and it’s part of my journey as an artist. My work is new to most art lovers so it has not been collected by many.

Hopes and Dreams

I would like it if some sort of art policy in Ethiopia existed and, I would like to work with the government and support art associations and activities. There should be recognition of the importance of proper art education starting from elementary to higher education levels. I feel that the future is bright for art because of the spread of technology. Technology gives access to so much knowledge and gives us the chance to explore art virtually; artists have a higher reach and can share their ideas and make their lives a little easier.

Social Conversation and Art

Social conversation and art de nitely inter- sect. In my opinion, the destination of both creates mutual interest. Some of my art deals with indigenous knowledge and it is highly connected with nature (climate). I try to address issues in our world that are not only the problem of one nation, issues like climate change. Consequently, through government and private sector initiatives, a global conversation has become a central part of the future of the world.

This conversation has also included the participation of artists who chose to use their art as a tool to spark awareness and lead the conversation with responsibility. As Ethiopians /Africans/ we tend to lose indige- nous knowledge for the sake of modernity, colonization, political uncertainty. Unless we begin to take serious action to care for nature, our world might transform into an artificial one.


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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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