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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: City exhibitions feature Ethiopian artwork and women's stories

1/15/2013  10:00:00 PM

City exhibitions feature Ethiopian artwork and women's stories
'Ethiopian Art: Tradition, Assimilation and Change' at City Hall through March 4
'Women's Stories' at Seattle Municipal Tower through April 1

SEATTLE — The city is currently hosting two exhibitions, an installation of Ethiopian art at Seattle City Hall and a selection of works by women artists at Seattle Municipal Tower. Both exhibitions are open and free to the public whenever the city buildings are open. The works in Ethiopian Art: Tradition, Assimilation and Change were selected by Ethiopian artist and curator Admassu Guessese, while Women's Stories features work from the City of Seattle's Portable Works Collection, selected by Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs curatorial assistant Blake Haygood.

In Ethiopian Art: Tradition, Assimilation and Change, 45 paintings by 10 Ethiopian artists are on display through March 4 at City Hall. The show highlights Ethiopian art, artists and the country's visual culture through a wide range of painting styles, both traditional and contemporary. The artists, some professionally trained and some self-taught, hail from Seattle; Washington, D.C.; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. An artist reception will be 4 to 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 7 at City Hall.

The exhibition reflects the dynamics of current artistic movements both in the country and among the diaspora. The show also presents current artistic philosophies among individual artists and groups. Unlike the traditionally known and religiously themed Ethiopian style, this body of work deals with personal, social, historical and psychological subject matters. Artists in the exhibition are: Admassu Addisu, Kerima Ahmed, Atakilt Assefa, Nebeyou Assefa, Seyoum Ayalew, Getachew Brihanu, Meseret Desta, Mekibib Gebretasadik, Fasika Moges, and Melaku Tesfaye.

Women's Stories, on view through April 1 at Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery, features 20 artworks by 11 female artists in a variety of media, including watercolor, paper batik, oil on canvas, collograph, fabric appliqué and quilting, gouache on silk, acrylic on paper, photography and mixed media. Artist included in the exhibition are Marsha Burns, Claire Cowie, Pat DeCaro, Jody Isaacson, Fay Jones, Deborah Lawrence, Sherry Markovitz, Anne Mathern, Liza Von Rosenstiel, Sima Elizabeth Shefrin and Barbara Earl Thomas.

Shefrin's Food Drops in Afghanistan depicts women collecting food parcels dropped by the Bush administration in 2001. Above the scene, Shefrin has stitched the contents of one of the humanitarian daily rations, or HDRs. "I stitched Food Drops in Afghanistan in compassion for the Afghani people who have done no wrong, and in distress about the bombing, and about the travesty of airline meals as food aid."

Conversation, a series of watercolors by DeCaro, features a young girl in the foreground with silhouettes of adults in the background. DeCaro states, "My interest in creating the Conversation suite was to relate an idea in the form of a sequence, as if it were a video."

"The narrative artworks in this exhibition can be explicit or mysterious, suggestive or didactic, political or humorous," explains the show's curator Blake Haygood. "The show features only a few of the many women in the collection, but it shows the strength and variety of work and highlights some lesser known artists alongside more established names."

Ethiopian Art is on view at the City Hall Lobby Gallery and Anne Focke Gallery (located on the L-2 level of City Hall), 600 Fourth Ave. Gallery hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Women's Stories is on view at the Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery, 700 5th Ave., located on the third-floor concourse, open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information about either show, call (206) 684-7171 or visit

The Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs supports the health and vitality of our city by providing access to arts and culture, advancing the role of artists in our community, and advocating for issues affecting the entire cultural community. The 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council, supports the city agency.

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