Elisabeth Atnafu came to the United States at the age of 14 and earned a BFA from Howard University in 1975.She moved to New York City and participated in the vibrant art scene in the East Village before returning to Howard in 1994 to pursue her MFA.Atnafu lives and works in New York City. < Saunders Media cyn mclean" vspace="10" border="0"> Full Biography The works of Ethiopian painter Elsabeth Tariqua Atnafu are drawn from her personal diasporic experiences, reflecting both East and West influences.Born in Addis Ababa to a family of traditional painters and art lovers, Atnafu spent her formative years in the tumultuous atmosphere of Ethiopia in the 1970s.She belonged to a group of young Ethiopian artists influenced by the pioneer modernists who established the Addis Ababa School of Fine Art.Her works are abound with conscious references to her Ethiopian heritage, combining the mythical world of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba with the Ethiopian tradition of religious manuscript painting, and executed in western modernist and postmodernist conventions.
Like many other Ethiopian artists, Atnafu was exiled and relocated to the United States.In the 1975, she graduated from Howard University with a BFA in painting.In 1994, after living in New York City for a few years, she returned to Howard to pursue a MFA.Atnafu has participated in a number of individual and group exhibitions in Africa, Europe, and the United States.She was the recipient of the United Nations Women's Artists Award in 1976.Her works are on permanent collection at the Paris Museum of Prints and Photography and the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico.
In recent years, Atnafu has embraced the installation and conceptual art genre.Drawn to the diasporic experiences of other women, the subject of her most recent installation, A Shrine for Angelica's Dream, reflects the aspirations and fantasies of a South American immigrant.Her works, therefore, not only reflect her personal heritage, but they also incorporate African and Latin American motifs with Western modernist ideas and styles.Atnafu's diasporic experience of exile and dislocation have allowed her to explore her own culture and artistic heritage in relation to the cultural experiences of others.Her works speak a universal language of persistence and growth, aesthetically rooted in her own history, resulting in a significant contribution to global modernism.
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