In his latest series of paintings, Ethiopian artist Tewodros Hagos celebrates the power, beauty and resilience of women. Since November 2020, the artist’s home country has been wrought by an ongoing civil war that has had devastating impacts on the local communities, especially women who are frequently reported as the victims of abuse. However, rather than choosing to portray suffering and hardship, Hagos seeks to convey his subjects as complex, emotional individuals who are at once proud and vulnerable. ‘I am interested in exploring how our perception of women is limited by cliched understandings of what a woman is or should be,’ says the artist. Rendered in exquisite detail, each of the portraits possesses a distinct atmosphere and character. The women appear against vividly coloured backgrounds dressed in richly patterned clothing and golden jewellery, while their gaze is often turned outwards as if challenging the viewer to stay looking, to see them for who they are, without expectation or judgement.
1-54 London 2022: Tewodros Hagos