Merikokeb Berhanu

Born in 1977 in Addis Ababa, Merikokeb Berhanu finished her secondary education at Medhani Alem Comprehensive High School, which is known for its strong student art club, and joined the Addis Ababa University Fine Arts and Design School on 1998.

Merikokeb, whose names in English mean leading star, is a young artist who is practicing her trade with her friends in a cooperative gallery called the Nubia Art Studio. She has exhibited on regular basis at places such as the Russian Cultural Institute, Alliance Ethio-Francaise, Italian Cultural Institute, Makush Art Gallery, the National Museum, Bulgarian Embassy, the Hilton Hotel and even in galleries in Sudan and Djibouti.

One of the most frequently recurring images in her works are ripened fruits, blooming flowers and female wombs. The bands and arcs of bold color give the drawings the presence of murals, an area which she has specialized in at art school.

Merikokeb is reluctant to speak about her works, saying that her paintings could speak “more clearly and honestly” themselves than she ever could. She says, “I have never tried to communicate what my paintings mean through words alone, because I believe that they can speak more clearly and honestly themselves than I ever could.” Yet she says, “The life that we are passing, the complications, the density and the crowd, the thick fog and the smoke, the happiness and the hope entice me and cause the inner section that leads to my art.”