Artist Aba Legesse Mengistu was born in 1923 Ethiopian Calendar in Ethiopia in the state of Gojam. When he was at the early stage of youngster he voluntarily joined the Orthodox Church as a regular servant. As he was married in 1942 he was awarded a Bishop position. Lately, he became monk taking the honor from Jerusalem. Apparently, he also was a literate of the different types of religious thoughts. While his stay in the churches he started his marvelous paintings and seell it to the different tourists that came from different parts of the world and also he used to give his works to different churches as a gift. His works are not limited to the orthodox religion, it also includes social and historical incidents that took place in the earlier times and cultural aspects of Ethiopia. All this works are done on parchments (leather products esp. from Goat, Ox, Sheep…), scrolls made from wood that are designed in an attractive way and also on walls of churches as ordered.
According to information gathered from different multimedia of the country, he started his works from scratch using his gifted knowledge to make brush from different plants and make painting colors by mixing soil, plants and others. After coming to Addis Ababa in 1955 E.C. he became one of the famous artists of the country. He joined different contests and awarded by Germany and Armenian Art institutes. He also provides his works to Germany’s and Italian galleries and also to different Ethiopian galleries. Though its late to happen, he presented his work collection to the Addis Ababa University Museum of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies in 2001 and his works remain in there registered as cultural assets of Ethiopia. Most tourists prefer to buy these paintings in person from the artist himself. Admiring his works, Professor Richard Pankrust including his colleagues used to support him by purchasing from him for their collection and give recommendation for his works. And these works used to be his only source of income in his life time. Finally, it was his desire and responsibility to pass this knowledge to the next generation and indeed he taught one of his daughters Etsubdink Legesse almost all that he had known. She has been working together with him and now after his death according to the information she gave to different medias, she is now working on her own and she says she is even trying to make it all with a better quality.
Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Artist Etsubdink Legesse finished her school in Accounting and it became her profession. It was since her childhood that not only she admired her father Aba Legesse Mengistu’s paintings she always loved the art. She started assisting her father earlier simultaneously with her professional accountant job. After the death of her father who was also her art teacher she putted aside her modern profession and grabbed his brushes, since then painting became her profession. Now she makes her living by painting this traditional art on Parchments (leather product of animals’ esp. Goat, Ox, Sheep …), Scrolls, and Canvas… Even though her major clients are some major galleries in the country and tourists from different parts of the world, Etsubdink’s and Aba Legesse’s works are now found in many cultural institutes, art galleries, Orthodox churches, Hotels as gifts or paid for. Also domestically she has participated in different art exhibitions on her own and also along with other painting artists promoting her marvelous works.
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