Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Meseret Argaw is a 26 year old photographer. First introduced to photography while studying textile engineering at Bahir Dar University, she started saving for her first camera right away, when to her surprise she was awarded a point-and-shoot camera for winning a UNICEF writing competition.
Meseret wants to use photography to show that good still exists in this world through the people she meets and photographs. Her aim is to give a voice to those that do not have one and to show people outside of Ethiopia that there is so much more to Ethiopia than the image usually portrayed in the media.
Since joining Christendom in the 4th century, Ethiopia has surrounded itself with a world of pictures, which tells a great deal about the faith of the people and their distinctive conception of religion. Church paintings had two principles, one guiding the artist in doing his work and another in bringing the meaning of the pictures to the viewers. The artist is a traitor if he deviates from the principles of the church in expressing the inexpressible both to the literate and illiterate.
Western influence on church paintings began after the 8th and 9th century of the iconoclastic controversy which opened new doors to a new style of painting which was easily appreciated by the churches in Gondar. Today, the paintings that are produced by painters in the field have both traditional and western influences.
Aleka Akemen Zewelde is one of the painters whose work clearly depicts the fusion of the old Ethiopian tradition and the Western art. My work is a reminder of the life of this amazing artist, who devoted himself to art and who has contributed a great deal in keeping the tradition alive by sharing the knowledge he gained throughout his life to a generation that is no longer enthusiastic about the rich tradition of Ethiopian church paintings.