Art exhibit dedicated to the work and life of Beijing-based artist Martha Woldu and her father Woldu Afewerki.
When Martha Woldu was about three, she slipped into the underground studio where her artist-combatant father and his colleagues used to work, got hold of his paint and brushes and completely blotted out a painting that he had been toiling and paining over. "I finished it for you," she declared to him triumphantly.
To avoid a repeat of such catastrophe, Woldu Afewerki, a student of the School of Arts in Addis Ababa, and his colleagues created a little corner in which the toddler could scratch, draw and paint to her heart's content.
This exhibition, a blend of realism, modernism and and Byzantine art, is remarkable both for its content and the moving journey of love, hardship, fortitude and talent that an artistic family (Martha's mother Terhas Iyassu is also an artist) had to travel to make it a reality.
Woldu Afewerki has drawn liberally from Eritrean culture, costumes and movement to give his art more of his own essence and quiet expression than seems to have been the case previously. This is, indeed, a welcome development. Woldu has been a major influence in the training and development of young artists. This exhibition will provide the reason for and the magnitude of that influence.
As for Martha, little did those of us who saw her grow up in the EPLF art studio suspect that her almost absent, expressionless stares at all the activities surrounding her was actually registering the talent of some of the best artists that the struggle for independence was producing. With very little formal training and a little more help from her parents and friends, she has come a long way... and a long way she will go.
This is an exhibition that is also a moving story.
Opening is on April 16, 4-6pm.