Tiemar Tegene is an artist living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Tegene's work is anchored in her training as a printmaker, expanding etching processes into practices of mono printing through spontaneous experiments, most often using found household items and their textures. Although falling into this category, Tegene does not implement numbered editions that are struck from the same plate. Rather, each unique work falls outside of fixed description as she finds new ways to press the texture of an image through the application of ink onto the page. Many of these registers are then followed by additions of colored pencil, forging repeating icons and patterns that become more abstracted and at the same time add further layers to the personal narratives relating to each subject. As these elements come together Tegene presses at the boundaries that exist within and between human beings—those that exist naturally within each person as well as those that are constructed by oneself.
Transmuting her own emotional experience as well as the nature of her relationships with others, Tegene channels a highly personal response to the world around her. Inside these images live the details and echoes of larger stories, whether relayed in confidence by a close friend, via an overheard phone conversation in public, or from a heated exchange between a couple on the street, and even drawn from song lyrics or fictional film narratives. Ultimately, Tegene’s portraiture reaches for that specific, consuming emotional moment that ripples through the body and (therefore) through space, too. Each unique print speaks to this particular mode of relation, consolidating “real” details with flourishes of reference and imagination, or fragments from the artist’s own face used as part of another’s. Through this process, Tegene steps from an emotional space into an expressive one. Intensities of color or black and white deliver the “unexplainable strength and vibrant power” that tie the two together.
Tiemar Tegene (b. 1985, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) received a BFA in printmaking from the Allé School of Fine Arts & Design, Addis Ababa. Her work has been exhibited at the National museum of Ethiopia, Alliance Ethio-Française, Moderen Art Museum Gebre Kristos Desta Centre, and the Lithuanian National Museum of Art, as well as a series of public murals commissioned in the city of Addis Ababa.
Tiemar Tegene is curated in collaboration with Medium Tings, a roving gallery and project space for art and dialogue, centering around black artists founded by Stephanie Baptist.