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Yohannes Tesfaye was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1978. He studied painting for four years at Alle School of Fine Arts and Design at Addis Ababa University, graduating in 2001 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. After graduation, he traveled to Moscow for training at Surikov Art Institute. Upon returning from Russia, he became a workshop instructor at Addis Ababa University. His work experience is diverse - from creating illustrations for children’s books at Macmillan Publishers to restoration of wall frescoes for Addis Ababa Holy Trinity Cathedral.


Before he left Ethiopia in 2005, Yohannes regularly participated in both regional and international solo and group shows. Since arriving in the United States, Yohannes has continued to actively exhibit his art both regionally and nationally. Yohannes Tesfaye focuses on two and three-dimensional paintings in acrylic, oil on canvas, wood, fiberglass and a variety of mixed media.


Artist Statement

Yohannes Tesfaye, the contemporary abstract painter, was born and educated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

His mixed media paintings reference African traditions and culture. Using contemporary materials and techniques, his current work examines the practice of ritual tribal scarification in a twenty-first-century artistic and historical context.


Yohannes Tesfaye lives and works in San Diego, California.

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