Endale is a young Ethiopian artist based in Addis Ababa who is about to complete a residency with David Krut Projects in Johannesburg at the end of June 2014.

An exhibition entitled A Single Vibration in the gallery at David Krut Projects, Arts On Main, opens on the 22nd June showing paintings created in his home country and new works created while in residence at our studio in Parkwood.

Endale works with oil and acrylic on canvas, often morphing the meaning of a painting as he responds to changes within his environment. His paintings are rich and dark, built up with layers of paint into exceptionally tactile objects, which combine texts and symbols in a meditative practice.

Endale’s work is influenced by the rich culture of his home country, in which a strong sense of mythology is layered with everyday experience. For instance, the milk bird features as a symbolic presence in most children’s lives. The belief is that when one’s milk teeth have fallen out, the teeth are collected by the bird and carried away, leaving room for growth into maturity. The bird has thus come to represent a shift into adulthood.

The artist further investigates the paradox of light and darkness, as it relates to life in Ethiopia. Endale draws directly from his own life experience, where electricity is a privilege and something which is often unattainable. By using electricity as a metaphor for light of a more symbolic kind, the artist comments on what it means to be African and what it feels like living in a country that is often unpredictable to the extent that one’s access to light is compromised. However, Endale suggests that even in darkness something exists; even when we cannot see, we know there is something there, something real and tactile.

Two of Endale’s paintings, brought from Ethiopia, were selected for the !Kauru African Contemporary Art Exhibition currently on show at Unisa Art Gallery, Pretoria. The focus of the exhibition was to facilitate a change of perceptions about the continent through its contemporary art. Endale’s involvement through dialogue with twenty other artists from South African Development Community (SADC) and East African Countries greatly impressed his audience.

Endale studied at the Addis Ababa University School of Fine Art and Design and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in painting in 2008. He has had solo exhibitions in Ethiopia, Portugal and now in South Africa and in various group shows. He has lectured at Addis Ababa University’s School of Architecture in 2009 and the Teaching College in Hawassa, Ethiopia in 2013.

During his residence at David Krut Projects, Endale experimented with mark-making and printing techniques having had access to an etching press. He collaborated in the workshop with Senzo Shabangu and Tendai Mupita, a young Zimbabwean arts intern.