Dawit Abebe (b. 1978, Ethiopia) graduated from the Alle School of Fine Art and Design, part of Addis Ababa University with a diploma in painting, sculpture, graphics, photography and industrial design in 2001. His work relies on vibrant, lively colours, which at times contradict the dark subject matter, addressing contemporary concerns about the environment, such as high-tech urbanisation and human idea of progress. In 2001, he founded the Habesha Art Studio in his native Ethiopia, where he continues to be a full-time artist-in-residence. In addition to numerous successful international exhibitions across Africa, Europe and the Middle East, Abebe has also worked with charities such as UNICEF to hold workshops for street children in Arba Minch, Jinka and Addis Ababa.
Solo exhibitions include የእጃችንን “Hands Matter”, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London, UK (2023); መጠን "The Balance of Things", Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London (2022); Long Hands, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery Berlin (2021), EDIT, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London (2020); Mutual Identity, Addis Fine Art Gallery, Addis Ababa (2018); Liminal in the age of Mobile-ty, 68 Projects, Berlin (2018); “Quo Vadis?”, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London (2017); Background 2, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London (2015); Background 1, Lela Gallery, Addis Ababa (2014) and X Privacy, Alliance Ethio-Française, Addis Ababa (2012).
Group exhibitions include Insistent Presence: Contemporary African Art from the Chazen Collection, Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin, USA (2023); 1-54 NYC, with Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, New York City, USA (2023); Uprising, Schloss Görne, Berlin, Germany (2022); 1-54 London, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery (2021); Facing the Sun, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, Schloss Görne, Germany (2021); 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, New York (2021); Devil´s in the detail, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London (2020); Karachi Biennial (2019); 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, London (2019); Kubatana, Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Norway (2019); 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, London (2018); Imago Mundi, Trieste, at Salone degli Incanti, Italy (2018); VOLTA13, Markthalle, Basel (2017); Everything Exists Now, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London (2017); Art Dubai, with Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, Dubai (2017). Other major group show include What about Africa?, Witteveen Visual Art Centre, Amsterdam (2016); Pangaea II: New Art from Africa and Latin America, Saatchi Gallery, London (2015); Concerning The Internal at Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi (2015); Visibles/Invisibles, Fondation Blachere, Apt (2015); the display of the Habesha Art Collection at the National Museum in Addis Ababa (2014), and the touring exhibition Silver Sea Cross-Ship (2013-14).
Highlights and Collections
In 2021 Dawit Abebe was included in publication African Artists: From 1882 to Now, a book about Modern and Contemporary African artists, published by Phaidon. In 2019 Abebe was picked by Artnet as one of the two most important artists working out of Ethiopia today. In 2021 Abebe received the First Place Award from the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and in 2017 he was named “Chevalier of France Order of Arts and Letters”. Dawit Abebe has exhibited widely internationally and some of his major exhitions include Kubatana, Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Norway (2019); Karachi Biennial (2019); Imago Mundi, Trieste, at Salone degli Incanti, Italy (2018) and Pangaea II: New Art from Africa and Latin America, Saatchi Gallery, London (2015). Abebe’s work is held in international private and public collections, including the Chazen Museum of Art, Wisconsin (USA), Barjeel Art Foundation (UAE), the Rema Hort Mann Foundation (US), the Saatchi Collection (UK), the Frank Cohen Collection (UK), the Carole Server and Oliver Frankel Collection (US), The Bunker Artspace Museum (US), Ilham Collection (Malaysia), the Blanchard / Nesbitt Collection (UK), the Easton Capital Collection (US) and the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art, Geneva (Switzerland).