The Anglo-Ethiopian Society
Lecture - Ethiopian Painted Tombstones
Wednesday 10th December 2014
7:00pm, Room B104, Brunei Building, SOAS, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG - Public lecture (all welcome)
This paper concerns the emergence of Ethiopian painted tombstone art in the Awash region, that began around 1969. From this time, tombstone art has demonstrated the correlation between historical processes and the evolution of art.
Elaborately painted tombstones first appeared at a time when socialist revolution was imminent in Ethiopia. The 1974 overthrow of Haile Selassie produced a thematic shift in tombstone art. Additionally, there was the influence of realistic imagery in art introduced by the Soviet involvement in Ethiopia. The more traditional Italian type motifs are replaced by images demonstrating human empowerment in the rural areas.
Tombstone art has continued to evolve and has become more decorative, and more related to the lives of people not necessarily connected to political involvement.