shopping_cart

Modernist Art in Ethiopia

By Elizabeth W. Giorgis

“Giorgis has assembled the archive of Ethiopian modernism that she brilliantly critiques. With deep personal knowledge, she takes us from magical healing scrolls to miniskirts, from monarchy to socialist tyranny, from Paris to Oklahoma. The details are fascinating and the artists’ works themselves extraordinary, but the real revelation is Giorgis’ understanding of the politico-cultural cross currents that converged in Ethiopia. Her presentation of them with an unflinchingly critical eye does more to celebrate Ethiopia’s singular achievements than any narrowly national story could provide.”

Susan Buck-Morss, author of Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History

Modernist Art in Ethiopia offers an incisive account of twentieth and twenty-first century art in Ethiopia. Drawing on original archival sources, and using a rigorous interdisciplinary approach, Elizabeth Wolde Giorgis reads Ethiopian modern art against the broader literary, cultural, and political contexts that have come to define Ethiopian modernity. A major achievement, Modernist Art in Ethiopia will be a touchstone for anyone interested in Ethiopian and African visual culture and intellectual history.”

Dagmawi Woubshet, author of The Calendar of Loss: Race, Sexuality, and Mourning in the Early Era of AIDS

“Modernist Art in Ethiopia is the first critical study of Ethiopian modernism. Opening with a long-overdue critique of the Orientalist gaze that has biased writing about Ethiopian art, the book presents a provocative analysis of the social, political, intellectual, and aesthetic dynamics of Ethiopia’s tumultuous twentieth century. Giorgis masterfully weaves insights gleaned from untapped primary texts written by and about artists with reflections upon her encounters with artists who shaped the visual and literary arts of modern Ethiopia.”

Raymond A. Silverman, Painting Ethiopia: The Life and Work of Qes Adamu Tesfaw

If modernism initially came to Africa through colonial contact, what does Ethiopia’s inimitable historical condition—its independence save for five years under Italian occupation—mean for its own modernist tradition? In Modernist Art in Ethiopia—the first book-length study of the topic—Elizabeth W. Giorgis recognizes that her home country’s supposed singularity, particularly as it pertains to its history from 1900 to the present, cannot be conceived outside the broader colonial legacy. She uses the evolution of modernist art in Ethiopia to open up the intellectual, cultural, and political histories of it in a pan-African context.

Giorgis explores the varied precedents of the country’s political and intellectual history to understand the ways in which the import and range of visual narratives were mediated across different moments, and to reveal the conditions that account for the extraordinary dynamism of the visual arts in Ethiopia. In locating its arguments at the intersection of visual culture and literary and performance studies, Modernist Art in Ethiopia details how innovations in visual art intersected with shifts in philosophical and ideological narratives of modernity. The result is profoundly innovative work—a bold intellectual, cultural, and political history of Ethiopia, with art as its centerpiece.

Elizabeth W. Giorgis is the former director of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies and the dean of the College of Performing and Visual Art of Addis Ababa University. She is currently an associate professor of critical theory and criticism as well as art history at the College of Performing and Visual Art and the Center of African Studies at Addis Ababa University.   More info →

Order a print copy

Paperback · $31.96 ·
Pre-Order

Retail price: $39.95 · Save 20% ($31.96)

Hardcover · $72 ·
Pre-Order

Retail price: $90.00 · Save 20% ($72)

Cover of Modernist Art in Ethiopia

Share    Facebook icon  Email icon

Requests

Review Copy

This book is not yet available for desk or examination copy requests. Please check back soon.

Permission to reprint
Permission to photocopy or include in a course pack via Copyright Clearance Center

Formats

Paperback
978-0-8214-2347-9
Retail price: $39.95, S.
Release date: February 2019
53 illus. · 360 pages · 7 × 10 in.
Rights:  World

Hardcover
978-0-8214-2346-2
Retail price: $90.00, S.
Release date: February 2019
53 illus. · 360 pages · 7 × 10 in.
Rights:  World

Electronic
978-0-8214-4653-9
Release date: February 2019
53 illus. · 360 pages
Rights:  World

Related Titles

Cover of 'Reel Pleasures'

Reel Pleasures
Cinema Audiences and Entrepreneurs in Twentieth-Century Urban Tanzania
By Laura Fair

Reel Pleasures brings the world of African moviehouses and the publics they engendered to life, revealing how local fans creatively reworked global media—from Indian melodrama to Italian westerns, kung fu, and blaxploitation films—to speak to local dreams and desires.

Media Studies · African History · 20th century · African Studies · Tanzania · African Film

Cover of 'The Art of Life in South Africa'

The Art of Life in South Africa
By Daniel Magaziner

From 1952 to 1981, South Africa’s apartheid government ran an art school for the training of African art teachers at Indaleni, in what is today KwaZulu-Natal. The Art of Life in South Africa is the story of the students, teachers, art, and politics that circulated through a small school, housed in a remote former mission station.

African History · African Art · Colonialism and Decolonization · Art History · South Africa · African Studies · Apartheid · Art Education

Cover of 'Authentically African'

Authentically African
Arts and the Transnational Politics of Congolese Culture
By Sarah Van Beurden

Together, the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium, and the Institut des Musées Nationaux du Zaire (IMNZ) in the Congo have defined and marketed Congolese art and culture. In Authentically African, Sarah Van Beurden traces the relationship between the possession, definition, and display of art and the construction of cultural authenticity and political legitimacy from the late colonial until the postcolonial era.

African History · Museum Studies · African Art · African Studies · Democratic Republic of the Congo

Cover of 'Emperor Haile Selassie'

Emperor Haile Selassie
By Bereket Habte Selassie

Emperor Haile Selassie was an iconic figure of the twentieth century, a progressive monarch who ruled Ethiopia from 1916 to 1974. This book, written by a former state official who served in a number of important positions in Selassie’s government, tells both the story of the emperor’s life and the story of modern Ethiopia. After a struggle for the throne in 1916, the young Selassie emerged first as regent and then as supreme leader of Ethiopia.

Biography, Heads of State · African History · Ethiopia · African Studies