Dawit Abebe, (B.1978), 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 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 Devil‘s in the detail, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London (2020); Karachi Biennial (2019); 1:54 Contemporary African Arts Fair, London (2019); Kubatana,Vestfossen Kunskaboratorium, Norway (2019); 1:54 Contemporary African Arts 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 2019 Dawit Abebe was picked by Artnet as one of the two most important artists working out of Ethiopia today. In 2017 he was named “Chevalier of Frances Order of Arts and Letters”. Abebe’s work is held in international private and public collections, including the Barjeel Art Foundation (UAE), the Rema Hort Mann Foundation (US), the Frank Cohen Collection (UK), the Carole Server and Oliver Frankel Collection (US), The Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection (US), Ilham Collection (Malaysia) and the Saatchi Gallery Collection (UK).