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Solomon Kifle

Ethiopian 1992- 

Solomon Kifle vividly remembers, when growing up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, how he would sketch on leftover pieces of paper. His close friends would say he could sketch before he could write. His artistic growth has been an organic development.

Kifle graduated from the Alle School of Fine Art and Design at Addis Ababa University in 2017. “My family's support has been so important to me,” says the artist. “My father forbade copying someone else’s work and encouraged me to come up with my own original ideas. My mother – my first curator and fan – would review my artworks before they went into the public sphere to ensure I was giving my best. Her reviews provided me with much-needed feedback and positive reinforcement.”

Even though he focuses on painting, Kifle usually presents his work using other art media, including video art, installation and mixed media. Working as a multidisciplinary artist helps him to see things in different lights and explore art in many different ways. The artist uses ‘speech stands’ as a medium to question expressions of power. A speech stand, Kifgle explains, is an ambiguous place where you can either stand and empower people, or lie to them and intimidate them. “It's a place of propaganda, where you can create either war or peace. Who is behind the speech stand? Through painting, video art and installation, I attempt to reveal what power dynamics are, and how they are relevant to society. In this way I show an image of the world, the good and the bad, the past, present and future.”

“As a professional artist, I am always driven by the situations happening around the world. I thrive on movies and music experienced in various context and perceived through various lenses, whether political, social or philosophical. Art is a way to leverage power and create opportunity as art engages with events in the past and present and could help forge our path to the future. Globalisation enables me to broaden my horizons and see politics and social lives beyond my own country, which further enriches my perspective on art.”

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