Kebedech Tekleab

enter exhibition

Julie Mehretu
Ink and latex
438 x 430 cm. (172 x 170 in.)
National Museum of African Art,
Smithsonian Institution

Mehretu created this unique wall drawing specifically for this exhibition. To date, she has created two other site-specific paintings--one at the Studio Museum in Harlem (2001), the other at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville in Paris (2001).

Because it is impossible to capture the large-scale drawing in one frame, the museum produced a video record to convey the artwork's scope to audiences. Click the appropriate Internet connection below.

DSL version ISDN version Modem version

Click to play video.

The video contains no narration or music.

After the completion of the wall drawing, Julie Mehretu was interviewed by David Binkley, Chief Curator, and Kinsey Katchka, Research Specialist, on March 28, 2003.

Ethiopian Passages brings together the artworks of 10 contemporary artists working within the diaspora. Their creative approaches, chosen media, artistic narratives and personal histories are eclectic, but they all share an attachment to Ethiopia. Perhaps more than any other group of African peoples in the last part of the 20th century, Ethiopians embarked on journeys, both near and far, fleeing difficult circumstances at home. As heirs to significant artistic traditions, Ethiopian diaspora artists have continued to contribute innovative artistic visions to the world.

By no means comprehensive in scope, this exhibition strives instead to elucidate the complex and often fruitful relationship between aesthetics and experiences of diaspora. It asks how conditions of exile and movement have nurtured and helped define artists' oeuvres. Moreover, the exhibition questions anachronistic and pernicious definitions of Africa as a closed universe and notions of identity as fixed and primordial.

Welcome | Migrancy and Placemaking | Peopling the Diaspora | Frontiers of Memory |
Fruits of Exile | Video Interviews

Back to: NMAfA past exhibits